Why did you decide to run for political office?
I was asked to run after going to a commission meeting to speak in favor of the City / County partnership that would become Thornby. I got elected in 2010 After two terms as a commissioner, I decided to run for mayor to continue to move Deltona forward in economic development, infrastructure and quality of life issues.
How do your life skills prepare you for this position?
I have worked in small business my entire life, and understanding how a business is run, how to keep solvent and the compromises you have to make, and the rules you have to go by help in governing a municipality.
Give an example of how you have served your community. How does this example make you the right choice for this position?
As a two-term city commissioner, it was my goal to involve myself as much as I could in the community. I was asked to serve on numerous boards, including Healthy Start, Boys and Girls Clubs, Team Volusia, River of Lakes Heritage Corridor, Daytona State College Center for Women and Men, Volusia and Florida League of Cities and other community organizations. Belonging to these organizations helps to understand the needs of the community and how to address them.
What is the number one issue on the minds of the businesses in your region? How would you address this issue?
Expansion and the facility to expand to. This is why we need flex space.
What do you think are good industries to attract to this community? Why?
Healthcare and all its subsidiaries, Light manufacturing and trades. These are industries that can be realities in Deltona and actually pay a living wage.
What infrastructure project(s) do you feel is necessary to move this community forward?
Intersection improvements, lighting, sidewalks, road widening and sanitary sewer and natural gas in commercial. areas
What do you plan to do to prepare this community for the I-4 corridor expansion?
The expansion will bring with it the need for intersection, lighting, paving, road widening and signage improvements as well as possible relocation and/ or change of easement structure and communication to residents will be key.
Do you see Sunrail as more of a positive or negative for SW Volusia? In what way(s)?
Sunrail will be positive in the long run because florida’s population will continue to grow and transportation needs will expand to the point roadways will not be able to keep up.
What opportunities/challenges do you see on the horizon for SW Volusia?
Challenges are water issues, Sunrail growth and economic development in the areas of decent paying jobs outside of service industries.
Opportunities include eco tourism, smart growth along I-4, collaboration with other municipalities and the private sector and growth due to our proximity to Orlando.
What do you believe are the main assets SW Volusia has to solve problems in the area? What does SW Volusia lack?
Assets – population, eco tourism throughout SW Volusia, I 4 access and good interlocal agreements and relationships to partner on critical issues such as water sharing, fire services and community events. SW Volusia lacks smart growth and focus on specific target industries. We also lack infrastructure and a high wage base and land valued below our neighbors.
What ideas do you have to bring more of a sense of community to SW Volusia?
The governments can set the tone for community involvement through their own partnerships and collaboration.
We need to hold events together for our communities, work on communicating a message of unity and inclusiveness, and involve community groups and businesses to work together to follow a positive vision.
What role do you feel the local business community plays in SW Volusia?
Local business is the pulse of the region. The economy, housing and employment can be gauged by how local Businesses are succeeding or being challenged. Local businesses can help form policies and procedures if government is wise enough to engage and partner with the business community.
If you are elected what role do you think you would play in economic development in SW Volusia or the area you will be representing?
My goal is to move ahead with an established vision of smart growth and recruit new ideas and product to the area. There are so many innovative things we could be doing!
How do you propose to eliminate barriers to conducting business in SW Volusia?
First, all municipalities should have the same guidelines / ordinances / universal online permitting etc to make things easier for businesses in our region. Having to navigate 3-4 different cities and guidelines is a nightmare especially in large scale projects. We should all realized that the physical location of a business is great but the effects of jobs generated in multiple cities helps us all.
What strategies do you have to cultivate technological literacy in our region?
Number one- assess your own policies, procedures and systems and look at where improvements can be made. Get a phone app for cities. Interconnect public safety, connect camera systems with VCSO and local police departments, share common information and look into upgrading fiber optics, underground utilities and emerging technology for transportation, streets, solar sidewalks and so much more!!
How will you provide our citizens with access to middle skills jobs?
First the jobs have to be available and second the workforce needs to have the skills for the jobs. We need to work together to set up training for workforce development and reach out to our residents to engage them as well. We also need to be competitive in wages or we will never have a strong workforce outside of the service industry.