Flint Journal Candidate Questionnaire (2013)

The Flint Journal is the largest newspaper in this area with a Sunday circulation of 60k.  I’m not sure how many they reach online, but they’re part of mlive.com so it’s pretty big.  These were pretty straightforward questions, which works out since we had about 3 days to complete them.  Will be interesting to see how the other candidates answered the questions.

Questionnaire for City Council Candidate

1. What is the most important issue facing residents in your ward?
Like many of my neighbors, I’m excited about Fenton’s progress downtown. A vibrant downtown attracts visitors and strengthens our local economy,but Fenton is at a critical point.  We need to look beyond downtown.  Our roads need attention.  Our water and sewer systems are aging.  Our public works teams can barely keep up with the urgent calls.  We need to use the resources we have to promote better neighborhoods and a healthy business community.

As a father to three young children, I’m keenly aware of the issues our youth face – drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and neighborhood safety.  As a City Council,we should lead the community in promoting awareness and giving kids the tools they need to make better decisions.   To me, the public safety formula is simple – more community participation results in a safer, better Fenton.

2. What do you plan to do that would improve the quality of life of residents in your ward?
The biggest opportunity we have to improve the quality of life in Fenton is to build a more engaged community.   A strong downtown, residential growth, a healthy business climate, and a well developed master plan all start with community engagement.

Our City Council want’s you to have a voice, to participate and understand city priorities. They want the best community possible, just like all of us.  The challenge is that the burden starts with the residents.

The residents have to ask questions, and sometimes they don’t know where to begin.  I would like to change that, to create an ongoing conversation focused on services provided in the city.  Talk to businesses about what it takes to help them grow, and to residents about what improves their neighborhoods.  Help them know about the issues before they’ve even asked the questions.

3. What do you feel qualifies you as a candidate for city council?
An effective City Council should have members with diverse backgrounds – public service, private industry, and community organizations.   My background includes 20 years of business and community organization experience,building strong relationships, financially successful organizations, and a track record of leading high performing teams, both paid and volunteer.

I’m active with Fenton community organizations including Fenton Little League (Board, Vice President), CubScouts (Committee Chair), Upward Basketball (Coach), St. John’s Applefest(Festival Chair).  I’m currently appointed to Fenton’s Planning Commission, and have extensive non-profit board experience, including leadership roles.

I’m focused on driving positive change for the residents of Fenton. I think we can make an already great Fenton community better.

4. What are some ideas you have for the revitalization of Fenton’s industrial park? Incentives? Aggressive recruitment?
Economic development should be a primary focus of City Council.  They should aggressively engage with regional development organizations to identify prospects that compliment our existing business community, then develop a “pitch” that can be shared with target companies globally.

Our industrial parks offer easily accessible highways, availability of a skilled labor pool, and ample space to build.  We should leverage the benefits of our community as well – affordable housing, good cost of living, excellent schools, and many community activities.

Any program will likely require incentives at the local and state level.  We should be prepared, proactively working with our state government to design incentive programs that reward long-term investment in our community by prospective companies.   I believe this is also an opportunity to engage the community in identifying targeted industries, and recruiting companies.

City Council should embrace the role of advocate to both our residents and our business community.