I’m originally from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, which is right outside of Philadelphia, and I moved to Orange County in 2009 to attend the University of Central Florida (and escape the cold weather). I am a proud UCF alumnus with my degree in humanities and psychology, along with a minor in entrepreneurship. I have had additional educational experiences through my training at Walt Disney World, and my time with tax credit housing management, and now with student housing management.
Regional Director for UCF Affiliated Housing
Civic Organizations (limit 75 words)
I am a proud member in the League of Women Voters of Orange County. In addition, I am a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida and have been a speaker for TEDx, which are TED talks for the college circuit.
What are the three top challenges facing the Orange County Commission? Briefly describe how you would address these challenges. (limit 150 words)
Safety- Orange County is not the safest place to raise a family, and I find that to be a priority issue. Orlando is 3rd in the state of Florida for human trafficking activity, and Florida is 3rd in the country. There are also way too many pedestrian casualties from local road accidents. My solution is a Vision Zero action plan to make sure we have no pedestrian casualties, including safe school routes for our students. As for human trafficking, we need more awareness in local hotels. This is the only head on attack that can destroy this evil.
Traffic- The congestion on our roadways is out of control. There are several solutions that do not involve more construction (a.k.a. headaches) that our board must consider. These solutions include technology for our roadways to maximize flow, fixing the routing for our inefficient mass transit models, and more protected walking and biking lanes. We need to promote more accessibility for the elderly community, daily commuters, visitors, and the rest of our county. I was endorsed by the Orange County Democratic Disability Caucus for my transportation accessibility plan.
Infrastructure- There is no doubting our recent growth, but it must be smart. Our current commissioner ignored the demands of over 10,000 residents for smart growth–that’s not a good start. We need infill development and a focus on sustainable development. We currently have residents without access to clean water in East Orange County and my plan is to fix that.
What is your experience working with large budgets, revenue shortfalls, and oversight? (limit 150 words)
My experience with forming budgets come from my time managing local business. I currently manage a portfolio of over $250M in student housing assets across the country. I am currently responsible for budgets that range from $100K to $17M. Previously, I managed tax credit housing which relied on county compliance laws and strict budgeting. Handling these budgets and oversights took balance, and these are the same qualities that I will bring as a business outsider to the Board of County Commissioners.
What are three things “going right” for Orange County? How will you continue forward progress? (limit 150 words)
Higher Education- We have nine institutes of higher education in District 5 alone, including the second largest institution in the nation. Meanwhile, only 30% of Orange County has a bachelors degree or higher. Those numbers are not adding up because of a lack of opportunity for graduates in this area and insane student debt. I will focus on attracting more venture capital to seed start ups, balance out our expensive student housing market, and make orange county into a hub for STEM education for young and old.
Growth- We have a beautiful county so of course we are growing. We need to make sure that this growth is well planned, so that we maintain our beauty and not outgrow our accessibility. As Commissioner, I will protect our drinking water, prevent further sprawl, and bring sense back to our local zoning. My decision will not be bought by any developers and I fully intend to always represent the people that reside here.
Communication- Orange County as a whole has done a fantastic job of transitioning their communication to the digital era, but our current commissioner has not. Transparency and education rely on communication, and District 5 can count on me to ensure that they are informed on meetings and decisions, ensuring that they are heard.