Working with Citizens
: During my tenure on City Council I have found it especially rewarding to talk and meet with citizens and listen to their views and concerns. Since becoming a member of City Council I have personally worked with, responded, and assisted citizens from various Oak Ridge neighborhoods covering all voting precincts in our City. I have been the leading advocate to make the City Council readily accessible to citizens. It was my initiative in 2005 that established the "Council's Night Out" so that citizens can informally meet one-on-one with Council members and city staff to discuss issues of importance to them and the city of Oak Ridge. I have worked closely with citizens in various parts of the city, both one-on-one and with neighborhoods groups, toward addressing and solving specific neighborhood issues and concerns. I value citizen input and will continue to be make myself accessible to all citizens and listen to their viewpoints with respect. Public service is a privilege and honor and I take seriously the trust placed in me by Oak Ridge citizens to be a good steward of their resources.

Improved Retail Choices: An ongoing challenge is that Oak Ridge needs additional retail outlets to enhance our quality of life and to provide new sources of tax revenue that are required to maintain our current city services and schools that are so important to our citizens and city. The redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall site and other available commercial sites in our city is highly desirable, although any new retail growth will be dependent upon investments by private developers. However, the City must collectively do what it can to encourage and permit new retail investment.

Housing Improvements: A growing concern is the status of our housing in Oak Ridge - as we need more new housing in order to attract new families (and we have several new developments now underway), and equally if not more important we must as a city better maintain our existing homes and neighborhoods. In 2009 Oak Ridge will celebrate its 50th anniversary as an incorporated city, and today we face a serious problem is that many of our older homes and some apartment units have fallen into such bad condition that they need to GO. Several appear so badly neglected that they cannot be repaired, they are uninhabitable, unsafe, and ripe for illegal activity. From their outside appearance, these properties must surely be in violation of a city code or ordinance. I want to see such "blighted" properties brought back to a state of acceptable repair and appearance, or else see them taken down. The City Council in 2006 considered a "Landlord Ordinance" in an attempt to help ensure that landlords uphold their responsibilities for rental properties within the city, however that ordinance was not enacted. I assure citizens that our Council does not want to infringe on the rights of citizens, renters, landlords, etc., but rather to work toward a better quality of life and a safer community for all citizens. The tie between crime and "blighted" rental property in Oak Ridge is significant. A high percentage of our police trouble calls are to some rental properties and certain streets, and the city needs to become more proactive in our housing codes enforcement. Landlords -- including those absentee landlords who live elsewhere outside Oak Ridge -- must be held fully accountable for properly maintaining their rental properties in Oak Ridge. I've had input from many citizens who agree with me on this issue, and I plan to continue to keep housing improvements and neighborhood cleanup on the forefront of our City Council goals.

Education: I take pride in the continued excellence of Oak Ridge Schools. I am proud to have attended Willow Brook, Robertsville, and to be a graduate of Oak Ridge High School. I recognize and value the quality of our K-12 educational programs that constantly rank among the nation's very best public school systems. Our schools play a role in attracting new residents, a critical element in the city's long-range plan. I support the work in progress to make Oak Ridge High School a 21st century campus. I have personally pledged my financial support to the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation "to ensure the highest quality of education" for our students. I have further supported the schools via much "behind the scenes" work to influence and secure several major business contributions for the Foundation. Even with this tremendous financial support from citizens, business, and the city, our schools will be increasingly challenged to maintain educational excellence while being fiscally responsible and achieving improved efficiencies of administration.

City Services: Oak Ridge city services are better than most comparable cities. Oak Ridge is a full service city with an excellent library, utilities, public works, fire, police, parks and recreation, and municipal administrative services. These services contribute to the high quality of life in Oak Ridge. It has been my experience, as a citizen and homeowner, that the City staff work hard to serve the residents and visitors of Oak Ridge. Our city services are under the direction of a City Manager and City Council who are dedicated to serving the citizens and making Oak Ridge a progressive community and great place to live, work, and vist.

Neighborhood Redevelopment: Oak Ridge City Council's goal is to help the residents of this community to have a better quality of life and a safer place to live, while also maintaining and improving the property values of homeowners. As a member of Council, I support and encourage the active involvement of neighborhood residents and business owners in the ongoing redevelopment process. Citizens need to become actively involved in their neighborhoods.

Housing: I will continue to work for affordable housing in the City and to support rehabilitation of our older homes. We want to encourage more people who work in Oak Ridge to live here. New housing development will allow us to stabilize the City property tax rate. I support the City's innovative program offering free renovation plans for ten types of original Oak Ridge homes, along with fee waivers - a cost saving for homeowners interested in upgrading older homes.

Environment: The natural beauty of Oak Ridge and its extensive greenway system are among the City's greatest assets. I support the accelerated cleanup of the Oak Ridge Reservation and the beneficial reuse of brownfields such as the former K-25 site. City involvement in regional discussions to improve air quality and address other environmental issues is critical to the future of our community.

Heritage Tourism: Oak Ridge's unique history is a natural draw for tourism. I support Oak Ridge's participation in the development of a strategy to both preserve the community's heritage and to capitalize on opportunities to serve as a regional destination attraction. Working with DOE and other interested parties on historic preservation issues will help promote heritage tourism as a way to diversify the local economy.