As a city councilor, my priority will always to be to represent the people of the City of Shakopee.
As Shakopee grows, the availability of affordable housing for everyone has not kept pace. We can’t sprawl our way out of this issue, either. We must focus on infill communities that can bring affordable density to our existing infrastructure, with an emphasis on communities that aren’t just one-size-fits-all. There has been much success in other cities in developing dense mixed-use, mixed-housing development: incorporating retail and office space on the ground floors, with a wide range of housing options on upper levels. From studios and one-bedroom
Infrastructure & Transportation
I am fortunate enough to live and work in Shakopee, but even I see the effects of ineffective transportation planning. As I exit the US 169 freeway to my job as a technology paraeducator at Red Oak Elementary, I see the lines of people waiting to go north into the city. Additional lane miles across the Bloomington Ferry bridge won’t solve the problem, either. We need a comprehensive solution that incorporates highway infrastructure design, mass transit options, and encouraging employment opportunities to be built in and around Shakopee.
We also need to encourage further investment in sustainable and environmentally responsible infrastructure for electricity, water use, sanitary and storm sewer.
Finally, as data networks become the backbone of the economy, Shakopee should position itself as a regional leader and hub for publicly-owned data infrastructure.
Our city can do so much more to improve our environmental stewardship. From adopting policies to reduce and ultimately eliminate our dependency on dirty energy sources, to replacing applicable fleet vehicles with all-electric vehicles as they age and are ready to retire, and providing an enhanced network of EV charging stations at city parks, city buildings, and in our downtown core.
Shakopee can, and should, be a regional model for environmental stewardship and responsibility.
Our local government, every facet, is ultimately accountable to the citizens of Shakopee. This includes our public safety departments and city council itself. As a city councilor, I will work to ensure that we all remain accountable to the citizens.
As a long time civilian responder, I have spent many years in and around emergency services and disaster response. We need to have discussions about the future of our public safety infrastructure, including our Police Department, and look into pivoting our Fire Department to a combination career/volunteer fire department. We need to ensure our city departments are including appropriate disaster planning and mitigation into their departmental plans.
Data breach: a word no one wants to hear. As a IT Security professional, I take information security to heart. As a city councilor, I will work closely with all departments of our city government to ensure we’re adhering to industry best practices and are taking appropriate measures to secure our data and communications from unauthorized access, while ensuring that citizens can get appropriate levels of transparency and access to city government.
Education is extremely important to our household. My wife is a Special Education teacher, and I am a Technology Paraeducator working in Shakopee. I proudly serve the students and staff of Red Oak Elementary. As a city, we must ensure that education is accessible to all, including affordable preschool and pre-K education so that children of working parents can be best prepared for future education.
Education is a great equalizing force in our society. As such we need to ensure that public education remains a focus, and ensuring that equitable access is there for all. As a City Councilor, I would work to ensure the preschool programs available are accessible across demographics.
Community Elders & Seniors
As our parents age into their retirement years, it is important that we keep Shakopee a place our community elders and seniors can remain an active, integral component of. From ensuring that our community develops and maintains adequate housing for seniors on fixed incomes, providing ample transportation, recreation, and volunteer opportunities, to finding ways to connect the wisdom and experience of our community elders to our youth and young families, making sure Shakopee remains a place seniors can call home will be a priority. For those community elders who need additional care, the city must do it’s part to attract and ensure we have safe, affordable, and plentiful options for memory and skilled nurse care within our community.
Families & Youth
Shakopee is a great community for those raising families. From our recreation and outdoor opportunities, our schools, to our community diversity, Shakopee is a great place to call home. It is important we as a community work to ensure that remains the case, through affordable housing and working to attract good paying jobs to our community.
We must also engage more with our local youth, including providing opportunities for young leaders to step up and be a part of shaping our community, to facilitating opportunities for our young people to make a excellent start to adulthood.
Taxes are never anyone’s favorite subject. However, they’re a necessary part of our lives: they fund our infrastructure, they fund the programs and services that make our community thrive. People often want to take a one-line stance on taxes, often making the case for lowering them. I am of the opinion, however, that our taxes should be right sized, meaning our tax rates should reflect the cost of the maintenance of the community, including infrastructure, programs, services, and investments, and the ability to save for large-scale projects or emergencies, but no higher than they need to be. The tax burden on families and businesses is not one to ignore, but it’s also not something that should be boiled down to a bumper-sticker slogan. Cities are made or broken by how they invest in infrastructure, programs, services, and community investments. Communities that go for bottom dollar on everything seeking negligible taxes become communities no one wants to live in. Communities that see their communities as endless supplies of tax revenue find people move away. We need to ensure we’re spending, and raising, our money smartly, so that Shakopee is a place where we all can thrive.
Our community must be attractive to businesses that bring high-paying jobs, as well as thriving local businesses that add to our community strength and character. That must always be in balance with ensuring our workers are treated fairly and able to thrive. When workers and businesses thrive together, we can do great things.