I’m born and raised in Orlando through the public school system in Orlando. In my youth, I attended Princeton Elementary, Lee Junior High (now College Park Middle) and Edgewater High School. Graduated with a Bachelor in Science in Advertising from the University of Florida.
Executive Director of the Christian Service Center for Central Florida
Civic Organizations (limit 75 words)
I have dedicated my life to service. These are some of the organizations I have been involved in:
• Bible study teacher, Church on the Drive
• Umpire, North Orlando Kiwanis Little League
• Member, Heart of Florida United Way
• Member, Second Harvest Food Bank
• Board member, Florida Citrus Sports
• Board member, College Park Rotary Club
• Board member, College Park Neighborhood Association
• Board member, Interim Council of Aging
• Founder, Love Pantry, providing food to 69 Orange County schools.
What are the three top challenges facing the Orlando City Council? Briefly describe how you would address these challenges. (limit 150 words)
• Creating Safer Streets and Strong Neighborhoods
I created Operation Lock It Up, bringing awareness to crime prevention, and created more Neighborhood Watch groups than any other district. This year, we added 30 new police officers to enhance prevention and increase enforcement.
• Locally-owned Small Business and Clean Industry Jobs
I helped create College Park’s Main Street program, strengthening our city’s small businesses, the community’s backbone. We have nine in Orlando creating jobs. Our business incentive program brought thousands of jobs to Orlando. We need to support this type of responsible economic development.
I’m proud of our city focusing on issues such as SunRail, expansion of LYMMO, investment in LYNX, installation of traffic-calming measures in our neighborhoods and investment in our city-owned roads and bridges in a responsible and aesthetically pleasing way, reflecting our unique neighborhoods. We also added improved pedestrian crosswalks to high traffic areas, increasing safety and slowing traffic.
What is your experience working with large budgets, revenue shortfalls, and oversight? (limit 150 words)
Over the past 22 years, I have served as Executive Director of the Christian Service Center. We raise and spend more than $1.3 million each year helping our community. We work hard to raise these dollars and rightly feel a deep sense of responsibility to our donors and clients to be effective with our spending.
As the City Council representative on the City’s Finance Committee, I oversee all investments in our $1.2 billion budget, ensuring a strong financial foundation for all of Orlando’s spending. To that end, Orlando continues to maintain the strongest possible financial rating, which lowers financing costs while increasing investments for our citizens.
As a member of the council, I oversee and approve the city’s annual budget of $1.2 billion (2017) while being personally responsible for my district budget of $200,000 per year.
What are three things “going right” for Orlando? How will you continue forward progress? (limit 150 words)
• The strong sense of community
Over the past few years, Orlando has been hit with major events testing our resolve. Following the Pulse Tragedy, our strong sense of community has deepened. Regardless of a personal background, we embrace diversity and caring for each other. It makes me proud to serve such a caring community.
• Diversification of our economy
Our economy continues to diversify. Through investment in Medical City and the expansion of Florida Hospital, mostly in my district, our city is becoming a hub for medical research and treatment. Orlando has been nationally recognized for our efforts.
• Our Main Street programs
Our Main Street programs are nationally recognized, most recently Audubon Garden District. These have both strengthened our local economy and helped define our strong neighborhoods. Now with nine main streets (four in District 3), we have helped grow our neighborhood partnerships between our small businesses and our adjoining neighbors.
How do you propose to increase civic engagement? (limit 150 words)
Throughout my years of service on the Council I have tried to lead by example.
I attended more than 200 Neighborhood Watch and neighborhood community meetings, providing information and connecting our constituents with their city government.
I supported our Mayor’s Matching Grant program, bringing local homeowner associations together for projects that strengthen local connections. These will increase and help our city become stronger.
I’ve made it a goal of my time in office to be the most responsive office in City Hall. From responding to constituent questions, to providing guidance on navigating city government, our emails, Facebook and direct responses have provided unique ways for citizens to engage with the city. Further, we have hosted dozens of town hall meetings on topics ranging from crime prevention to development projects that help educate and inform those in my district.