First, a warning. This will be a long post.
As part of the endorsement process, the Michigan Chronicle asked each candidate to fill out a questionnaire to help us make our decision. Most of them responded, some of them did not. If you don’t see a candidate here it is because we did not receive an answered questionnaire from that candidate. Due to space constrictions we were not able to include even the questionnaires sent to us by the candidates we chose in this week’s print edition. However, thankfully, no such space restrictions exist online. Therefore, for those among you who like to have as much information as possible about each candidate before making your decision, we decided to publish each and every answered questionnaire that we received. Regardless of who we decided to endorse. Because at the end of the day, despite what we may think, the decision should be – and is – still up to you. The voter. And you deserve all the info you can get.
- Why do you want to be a council member?
In President Barack Obama’s farewell speech, he inspired listeners with these words, “If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, with the results in your community, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. This is exactly what I’ve chosen to do. I want to champion the efforts to revitalize a place I call home! I want the constituents of District 1 to be assured they have someone in City Hall advocating on their behalf!
- What qualifies you to be a member of the Detroit City Council? How do you see the job, and why are you the best person to get this job done?
Professionally, I’ve worked in the corporate finance industry in both an advisory and managerial role. As a financial advisor, I’ve personally managed a portfolio of over $50 million; assisting individuals and businesses with wealth growth, financial consulting, increasing cash flow and profitability. I currently manage a team of financial professionals and am the youngest ever to serve as an Assistant Vice President! Detroit is a nearly $2 billion entity, that requires a certain skillset and must be managed properly. I plan to bring my relevant experience, along with a burning desire to help the residents of District 1 to City Council. I see the job as one of being a voice for the citizens and I will do just that. I will stand up for what’s right and what needs to be done for the residents of District 1!
- If elected, what would be your top three priorities that you would tackle during your first year in office and why?
There are 4 major priorities I would look to address. Those priorities are addressing crime levels, investing in our youth and advocating for education, beautifying our neighborhoods and stimulating economic development in our community. I believe these 4 elements are the bedrock of what makes a neighborhood thrive and will restore District 1 to an elite middle class community.
- Detroit still has a serious problem with poverty, illiteracy, and joblessness. Many Detroiters are not qualified for most available employment opportunities in the Detroit metro area. What can the council do to close the gap between available – and anticipated – employment opportunities and those who need opportunity the most?
One major thing we can do is develop a major focus on skills trade programs. This initiative will train Detroiters in the fundamental, math, reading and work readiness skills connected to jobs that are currently in high demand and those that are anticipated to be in high demand in the coming years.
- What specific issues are you most concerned about in your district?
Those issues which I stated in question 3 are very specific to my district. Residents want to be safe, have clean, well maintained neighborhoods and have access to quality jobs. Residents also want to know for certain they have someone who is standing up on their behalf!
- Is Detroit heading in the right direction? If not, why not? What should the city council do to turn things around and what should be the prescribed course correction for the city? If you think Detroit is doing great, please explain
I believe certain parts of Detroit are headed in the right direction, however I don’t feel Detroit is moving forward collectively. In recent years, headlines have labeled Detroit as the great comeback city. With all of the excitement, the unfortunate reality is that most efforts are centered only around downtown.
Our inner-city communities are still suffering overall declining conditions. I believe the next 4 years should have a major emphasis on restoring our neighborhoods. The members of our community need to know that City Council is concerned about them (the tax payers) and not just big business downtown!
1) Why do you want another term?
I am seeking another term in office because while I am proud of the foundation that my team and I have laid while serving as the first District Council member of District 1 (following more than 95 years of an at-large City Council election system), there is still very much more that is still unfinished. I would like to legislatively remain a key component in the positive changes that are occurring in our neighborhoods. The pace of change is much slower than many (including me) would like to see, but to experience a wholesale change in our neighborhoods will take a collective change by many more than the city’s elected officials… though we play a major role.
2) As an incumbent who has served in the office, how do you now see the job, and why are you still the best person to get this job done?
The role of a Council member at this time in history is very important. When I was first elected in 2019, I inherited a budget that was so deeply in debt that there were talks of bankruptcy and emergency management even before I was actually sworn in. Years of overall economic strife that fiscally stretched the City beyond its means and city services shamefully suffered. Understanding that we cannot improve the quality of life for residents unless we provide the basic expectations of government, I made sure promised that all each vote I cast or decision I made would work towards improving the current conditions of Detroiters and building upon a better future. Some of those decisions have been rather controversial due to the emotional weight of the matters, but I stand behind each vote. I research the issue and do my best to educate the community before and after my actions.
I am the best candidate to serve District 1 residents at this time because I have shown that I am open to dialogue with my constituents and take to heart their input on how I craft public policy. I am the only Council member that host at least three community meetings each month as I seek to inform residents of issues and connect them with those who make decisions about matters that affect their lives. With my small business initiative Di$cover D1, I created a business directory of more than 630 small businesses and faith based institutions location in District 1 (discoverd1.com). We have also hosted several “Cash Flash” events where we invite residents to patronize a certain business in the district at on a certain day and time with each participating business experiencing at least a 30% increase in revenue of the event. It is the only directory of its type in any district citywide. While there is always temptations abound, I have never sullied the office with scandal or embarrassment and remain steadfast in my dedication to simply trying to improve the lives of Detroiters.
3) If re-elected, what would be your top three priorities that you would tackle and why? What remains unfinished?
- – Continue to drive economic development in District 1 by highlighting and supporting our small businesses (many of which are owned by District 1 residents) as this increases opportunity for employment, exposure of amenities in one’s neighborhood and creates a sense of anticipation/excitement for other businesses/entrepreneurs seeking an area in the “neighborhood” where its residents shop locally.
- – Ensure that the City stays financially stable. This is important to me because it does two things… i.) It allows us to increase the city services that aim to improve the quality of life for residents as well as ii.) prevents any ongoing intrusion by the State’s Financial Review Commission thus providing local sovereignty in the final decision making of elected officials on behalf of Detroiters.
- – Continue to work with state legislators to solve this nagging issue of high auto insurance for Detroiters. The cost of auto insurance has become unbearable for Detroiters throughout the city, and a recent study has indicated that the zip code 48227 (which partially sits within District 1) has the highest average premium rate in the country, let alone the state. Unfortunately this has been the case for some time. Residents in the zip code pay a premium average that is about 199 percent higher than the state’s average of $2,484 according to the study. Records also indicate that the State of Michigan also has the highest average premium rate of any state in the country. And while Detroit contributes to that overall total, clearly high insurance premiums plague Michiganders throughout the state. This means the any solution must involve Detroiters as well as other municipalities in Michigan in order for it to truly be sustainable and to build the coalition necessary for overall change.
4) Detroit still has a serious problem with poverty, illiteracy, and joblessness. Many Detroiters are not qualified for most available employment opportunities in the Detroit metro area. What can the council do to close the gap between available – and anticipated – employment opportunities and those who need opportunity the most?
Poverty, illiteracy and joblessness is a major problem in Detroit and legislatively, I honestly struggle at times to identify ways to close the gap between available – and anticipated – employment opportunities and those who need opportunity the most when many Detroiters are not qualified for most available employment opportunities. I have supported and will continue to support policies that aid in workforce development and educational attainment. I will also continue to use my communications network to consistently inform residents of available opportunities for assistance with their personal needs and relieve some of their daily struggles because an individual who is forced to solely focus on day-to-day living is less prone to have the time or ability to plan for their future.
5) What specific issues are you most concerned about in your district?
Some of the top issues that concern me in District 1 are (but are not limited to): high auto insurance and property taxes, the rate of violent and non-violent crime that occurs is still to high regardless of reported decreases over the years, the sluggish economic climate among our commercial corridors, apathy within our neighborhoods, blatant littering of our streets by residents as well as illegal dumping by individuals who don’t care about how the blight impacts the community, and the poor state of our educational systems (traditional public and charter) in the city.
6) Is Detroit heading in the right direction? If not, why not? What should the city council do to turn things around and what should be the prescribed course correction for the city? If you think Detroit is doing great, please explain why.
I do believe that the city is headed in the right direction, but as members of the legislative body the Detroit City Council, must do all that it can within the provisions of the charter to reasonably ensure that the improvements in city services and systematic barriers to success experienced in Downtown and some of Detroit’s neighborhoods are equitably distributed throughout the city.