Please let me know if you have any questions about my ideas.
Lincoln has seen much progress the last few years; unemployment remains low, new businesses are popping up throughout the city. We have a new arena that draws top-notch talent in the newly developed Haymarket. New bikes lanes line downtown streets. Family-friendly public spaces like Union Plaza and Tower Square provide a place for community fellowship, music and art events. The recent Recycle Lincoln ordinance continues our trend towards greater social responsibility and lower environmental impact. All of these improvements, while helpful to both tourists and residents, also come with ongoing financial impact for our citizens, and many are still struggling.
Despite visible changes, the quality of life for working families has stagnated in Lincoln. We are known as a “family-friendly” city, a great place to raise a family, yet working families juggle jobs and children with little improvement in their circumstances. Real estate prices, rental costs, and taxes have gone up. Wages and job opportunities have not grown, but costs of living continue to rise. The cost of food and medicine has skyrocketed, leaving many–myself included–to choose between paying bills and buying the food or medicine we need. Saddled with student loan debt, many of our university graduates leave to find more lucrative work in larger, more progressive cities.
I wish to pursue a longer-term plan for Lincoln. We can no longer look five years ahead. Imagine how you want Lincoln to look in 20 or 30 years. We must pursue new and difficult conversations about the direction of our beautiful city. Lincoln needs to craft collaborative efforts that involve multiple organizations and city resources, like those modeled by Innovation Campus. This interface between public and private needs to be pursued even more vigorously. Partnerships with both for and nonprofit organizations can sustain vibrant, diverse neighborhoods that house our newest citizens—refugees and immigrants. Programs that assist incoming children and families deserve support so they can participate in and contribute to our economy. Although we have a fine public school system, Lincoln has not kept up with our growing population, and both students and staff suffer from lack of adequate resources and schools filled to overflowing.
Strengthening our public schools and colleges creates educational opportunities that prepare our children to become leaders and to participate in a strong economy. Lincoln must continue efforts to attract young people and develop the industries that make them want to stay. Educational and training opportunities need to be available to all, especially low-income students.
As a fiscal conservative, I believe solid long-term planning is essential to Lincoln’s future. It’s not seeking economic balance to keep building structures that keep our taxes high without return on investment. Solar and wind development promise well-paying jobs, energy savings for businesses and individuals and sustained overall growth. Pinnacle Bank Arena should be covered in solar panels, as well as all new developments, city buildings and schools. Jobs related to sustainable energy must become a permanent part of our economy, and a permanent solution to the damaging (and vanishing) use of fossil fuels. Furthering energy incentive programs for both individuals and businesses, and creating stronger initiatives for preserving water resources are ways in which we can pursue lower environmental impact in our city. Weatherizing and redevelopment offer economic opportunities that create good jobs and save on energy costs— these benefits stay in our community.
Legalization and taxation of cannabis is crucial to lowering citizens’ taxes, as well as lowering law enforcement and state legal costs, and the high cost of incarceration. Proven by other states’ examples, legalizing marijuana creates a multi-billion dollar business that dramatically lowers personal taxes and crime, increases property values, creates good jobs and stimulates tourism. I also am keenly aware of the ongoing need people (including children) have to access medical cannabis products rather than spend thousands of dollars on chronic pain management or medications to treat seizure disorders, PTSD, glaucoma, and Parkinson’s disease. Cancer patients should have access to medical cannabis for palliative care or to minimize the negative effects of chemotherapy. Legalization of cannabis is not a moral issue, it is a practical one.
As a progressive candidate, I am not afraid to address problems directly nor to discuss them with people who do not share the same views. As I knock doors and speak to young Nebraskans I hear again and again, “People who don’t like change stay in Nebraska.” Is that really true? I believe Lincoln has the opportunity to set an example that the rest of our state will want to follow; that process has already begun. Together we can Grow Lincoln!
Civic engagement is essential for Lincoln’s growth. Please encourage others as you prepare to vote in our local election. If you have any questions or would like to get involved, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.