Democrat for New Castle County Council

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Each candidate was asked to respond to three questions.

1.  What are the top issues you will address in your campaign and what are your plans for moving those issues forward?

The most important issues facing New Castle County and rapidly growing Council District 6 that I will address include proactive land use planning and providing the needed infrastructure and services.

 

Addressing these concerns starts with new ideas and new approaches that promote robust and meaningful public engagement as part of an inclusive effort to update the Comprehensive Plan with a local context.  A new land use plan is needed to adjust to municipal growth, recalibrate and modify current zoning, and ensure the County Plan can be implemented with adequate infrastructure and services.

 

The 6th District has been woefully underserved by New Castle County Government.  We have an immediate need for a new paramedic station, a new library, and a regional park.  We also need to develop a fair and equitable farmland preservation program that has been called for in the County Land Use Plan for decades but never developed.  I will work to ensure these services are delivered.

 

When it comes to land use, it is clear that Southern New Castle and Bear need a new voice with new ideas. If we keep doing things the same way, the quality of life we love below the canal, in Bear, and in Glasgow will be jeopardized.  Special interests will prevail over the needs of the public, and our needed services will not be provided.  We will be stuck in traffic, may not get a paramedic when we call, and may not have adequate parks or a library to come together as one diverse community to enjoy. 

 

The most important county land use issue is the need to develop an up-to-date comprehensive plan at a more localized scale reflecting community needs. I would also promote and champion the needed land use code for implementation.  The Southern NCC and Bear area are developing rapidly, limiting the options for better land use and development. 

 

As part of the Meyer Transition Team Committee on Land Use and Economic Development, we analyzed the problems with the current UDC’s one size fits all approach and site-by-site land use approach that is ineffective at considering the cumulative effects of the development decision for each parcel.  

 

I feel the primary concern is the absence of a vision and planning efforts to integrate land use, development, and transportation in New Castle County. NCC Dept. of Land Use eliminated long-range planning in the late 1990s. The County has become deeply committed to a mode of reactive planning that leaves development initiative largely in the hands of private developers.  Likewise, much‐needed proactive planning of communities through sub‐regional or corridor planning areas is absent.

 

New Castle County Council leadership has failed to provide adequate alternatives for open space and farmland preservation, open space management, pedestrian-friendly development, and redevelopment opportunities.  These have all been rhetorically included as goals in the past three five-year comprehensive plans, but not well implemented.  There is a serious disconnect between the County’s Comprehensive Plan and the Unified Development Code that is supposed to be used to implement the plan.  A key part of better planning also includes much more attention to protecting working lands in District 6, which includes a high percentage of the County’s dwindling agricultural land.  I will work to establish a new program for protection of open space that is fair and equitable to all landowners, transparent, and considers the diverse needs for open space protection countywide. 

 

As the fastest developing area in the County, getting the land use planning done effectively and developing the codes needed for implementation is critically important in Council District 6.  The window is closing for adjustments to the District’s land use pattern.   We have an opportunity to avoid many of the land use mistakes made in northern Delaware, but only if we act soon to get out ahead of the development that will fix the land use patterns in perpetuity.

 

To conduct effective land use planning that protects our quality of life, we must better coordinate and form collaborative partnerships with our municipalities.  In Southern NCC, we must rebuild the broken relationship between County and town officials and promote the coordination of public services; including the proposed paramedic station, library, and regional park. 

2. What makes you uniquely qualified for the political office you seek?

I have a long history of devotion to public service, both professionally and in a voluntary capacity with a wide range of civic and nonprofit groups. 

I have devoted my life to serving others, working to:

• protect our open spaces, ensure responsible growth and development,

• clean up our environment, address drainage problems affecting communities,

• help maintenance corporations manage their community open space,

• achieve fairness in our government programs,

• solve traffic and transportation problems,

• call out unethical actions by government officials,

• ensure transparency, to keep our government officials honest, and

• advocate on behalf of everyday people.

 

My experience includes 26 years of environmental management with the State of Delaware’s DNREC.   My skills are a blend of strong communication, scientific, technical, and analytical that are used to deliver measurable results on projects involving partnerships between government and nonprofits.

Professionally, I worked on a wide range of projects including land use planning; the review of major infrastructure projects; management of environmental restoration projects; policy development; land protection; community revitalization programs; and over 20 years of work providing technical assistance to local governments for improved planning.  More recently, I have conducted policy analysis on a variety of public issues and am teaching public policy courses at the University of Delaware.

As a civic volunteer and community advocate, I have been working hard to meet the needs of everyone in New Castle County’s 6th Council District for nearly two decades, frequently conducting analysis of local issues, codes, legislation, and regulations; testifying before Town Councils, New Castle County Council, and Delaware’s Legislature; and working with community groups.

My government, nonprofit, and civic experience, along with my academic background provide a unique combination of skills that I believe would be of great benefit to New Castle County’s 6th District.

3.  What community groups are you involved with and in what capacity?

My community involvement includes two decades of service: on the board of directors for the Civic League for New Castle County; as land use chairman and board member for the Southern New Castle County Alliance; and as a member of the public advisory committee for WILMAPCO, the metropolitan transportation planning organization for New Castle County, Delaware and Cecil County, Maryland.  I have served as the president, conservation chair, and a board member of the Delaware Audubon Society, a statewide nonprofit with over 2,500 members, as a board member of Common Cause of Delaware, and as an active member and volunteer for the Middletown Relay for Life and Our Daily Bread of MOT.

I have also served on the New Castle County Parks Task Force, on County Executive Matt Meyers’ Land Use and Economic Development Transition Team, on numerous committees associated with updates to the NCC Comprehensive Plan over the past two decades, and on the White Clay Creek State Park Advisory Committee.

Profession/employment:

Adjunct Professor, University of Delaware (Current); Environmental Manager, Delaware Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (1986-2012).

My experience includes 26 years of environmental management with the State of Delaware’s DNREC.   My skills are a blend of strong communication, scientific, technical, and analytical that are used to deliver measurable results on projects involving partnerships between government, communities, and nonprofits.

Professionally, I worked on a wide range of projects including:  land use planning; the review of major infrastructure projects; management of environmental restoration projects; policy development; land protection; community revitalization programs; and over 20 years providing technical assistance to local governments for improved planning.  More recently, I have conducted policy analysis on a variety of public issues and am teaching public policy courses at the University of Delaware.

My government, nonprofit, and civic experience, along with my academic background provide a unique combination of skills that I believe would be of great benefit to New Castle County’s 6th District.

# of years employed: University of Delaware (5 years), DNREC (26 Years)

Education:

Doctorate of Philosophy Public Policy and Administration 2017, Master of Arts, Urban Affairs and Public Policy 2011, Bachelor of Arts, Biological Sciences 1986. All University of Delaware.

Political experience: This is my first time running for public office.