Special Education Teacher-Clayton County Public Schools
Previous civic experience outside of politics?:
If “Yes”, please list and describe your prior political campaign experiences, including candidate/issue, date, location, role and impact.
I grew up in a politically active house where both my parents served in local office. My father served on our local Board of Ed and then was elected a Town Councilman. We made calls, served as poll runners, and tracked names of folks who voted at the local headquarters on Election Day.
Previous community experience
I have served as a member of a homeowners association, served on a Community Theater Board of Directors (several years as Vice President) and served for a year on a City Board of Finance (elected position).
List three reasons why Democrats in Clayton County should vote for you
Reason number one I would like ALL voters to consider me is my passion for improving our community. Reason number 2 (again for ALL voters): I intend to return a level of integrity to the Ward 2 Council seat and reason number 3 (and the most important reason). I will be a positive presence in our ward and throughout the city to meet with folks in the ward to hear directly from you about the issues you face. I will inform you of events and issues that impact both the city and citizens in my Ward
What do you aim to achieve by running for office?
I would like the people in my ward to feel like they have a Seat at the Table of City Government. That they feel Included, Empowered and Informed of City Business
Is there any area of government that you would vote to expand in any way? If so, please list and describe
I’m hearing from our Seniors who live in “Senior Housing” that there’s a frustration level about rent increases that are out pacing Cost of Living adjustments. I’d like to see if there is a mechanism within City Government to assist tenants when dealing with ever increasing rental fees.
Would you support expanding nondiscrimination protections for your city’s residents in public employment, private employment, public accommodations and housing to include sexual orientation, gender identity, creed, domestic relationship status, parental status, familial status, veteran status and hair style or texture?
Do you support ending single-family zoning to allow for more diverse housing options?
What incentives would you offer businesses to come to your city?
I think every city needs to put their collective “best foot forward” in order to attract new businesses. Certainly, offer some sort of tax breaks, but also encourage property owners to keep rents and fees in check while a new business gets established.
What solutions would you bring to your intended position to 1) mitigate contributions to climate change in housing and transportation 2) increase flexibility and security in response to climate change and 3) diversity transportation options for your residents?
In Forest Park, we seriously need to review our commitment to a comprehensive recycling program. We lost support a few years ago from a local recycling plant due to our community’s lack of adherence to recycling practices. I feel very strongly that climate change is a real thing. I also have been raised to follow proper recycling guidelines. I feel it is up to our city leadership to lead by example and to invest in resources to educate citizens about the benefits of recycling plastic, glass and cans. We could utilize the schools in our city to assist in educating our citizens. Public Transportation is yet another way for urban areas and suburban areas to combat climate change. I would support out county and municipal leaders to fight for access to light rail and expanded bus service. I would hope, as an elected official of the largest city that we could provide more job opportunities locally so that our citizens don’t have to travel far for work. Perhaps our new employers in town could collaborate on a ride share or shuttle program for employees.
As someone elected to your position in city government, you will be able to appoint or influence appointments of persons to various city boards. How will you ensure that you’re selecting the right individual?
I will meet, get to know and discuss options with citizens who want to be involved. I would also seek out references from other community members. As I understand our current practice in Forest Park is for our City Manager to review and score potential board members applications.
What is your position with regard to zoning changes within your city or district/post (with regard to logistic centers, retail development, housing, or other commercial develop)?
I’m excited to see the results of our city’s zoning code revisions. I do want this city to improve our “curb appeal”, but I’m cautious about the possibility of out pricing some of our long term residents at the same time.
What is your stance on minimum parking requirements? Would you work to eliminate such requirements to reduce stress on climate, space use and property cost?
I need to research this issue and decide how it would apply to Forest Park.
What is your stance on decriminalizing jaywalking and removing or reducing police from low-level traffic enforcement, given that a growing body of research has called for removing police from traffic enforcement due to the high level of unnecessarily adverse interactions between civilians and police? If not, why?
I agree that we need to reevaluate the use of our police personnel. One of the issues that keep popping up during traffic stops seems to be the cases when the officer discovers warrants for the person stopped. Rather than placing the person in custody (which usually ends badly), I’d like to see a system where the address is confirmed and an appointment is made for serving the warrant. Kind of like having the same privilege as people with money to negotiate the terms of their surrender.
Current Georgia law requires that all bicycles must come to a complete stop at stop signs and red lights. Would you support this law being changed in order to allow cities like yours to adopt the “Idaho stop”, in which bicycles are allowed to treat stop signs as yield signals, as is currently allowed in 9 states? If not, why?
I’m in favor of the Idaho Stop and would urge my state legislators to support such a law. If passed we will need to educate our cycling community. We will need to educate younger cyclists as well.
What is your stance on raising the minimum wage to $15 or more?
I think it is a good idea but I also would like to see some transparency on conditions some workers are forced to deal with.
Do you support decriminalizing cannabis possession within city limits?
Absolutely, here in Forest Park the city council has done that over the last four years. I give credit to our current governing body for their foresight. This is a step towards the types of reforms needed by our judicial system to apply justice on a more equitable level. I personally would love to see either the State of Georgia legalize recreational use of cannabis or for the Federal Government remove cannabis from the narcotics list.
What solutions would you introduce or support to increase housing supply and reduce cost of living in your city?
I’m concerned about our Senior citizens and others who reside in housing and are facing what I consider to be excessive hikes in their rent. I would like to partner with our various property managers to see what we could do to reduce this impact on our Seniors and others utilizing “Low Income” housing. If property managers are unwilling to work with the governing body, I would like to pursue possible ordinances dictating rental rates. As far as supply, we have vacant units all over the city. We need to work with property owners who have vacant properties to fill them. I don’t think the solution is for the city to buy up inventory then rent out. To reduce the cost of living in our city, we need to help our citizens who want to work find local jobs that pay well.
How will you promote restorative justice and address abusive and racist practices by the police force?
Community policing starts with communities with a police force that looks like their community. Community policing should include a majority of officers who reside in city limits. Community policing also should include training or an approach geared towards de-escalation of situations rather than neutralizing a perceived threat. Our system also really needs to look at the concept of “qualified immunity” for our police force. I think a Citizen’s Review Board might be a possible way to link our police force.
Any Other Issues/Topics You Wish To Discuss?
Everyone please get out to Vote!
Please submit a short biography
I was born in Connecticut and in 2004 I moved to Georgia to pursue a career in teaching. I was fortunate enough to find a position in Special Education with the Clayton County School system. My first class was located at Morrow High School. My unit was relocated to Forest Park High School and I began my tenure at “the Park” in the Fall of 2006. I’ve been there since. While at FPHS, in addition to teaching the coolest group of students one could ever teach, I have served as a Softball, Baseball, Volleyball and Golf Coach. I also have lent my voice to the basketball and baseball programs as a PA announcer for home games. I am the oldest of three. My sisters live in Colorado and Connecticut. I have a son who lives in Fort Myers, FL. But most importantly, I am married to the most supportive, talented, and amazing wife, Ann Pellegrine.
Please fill out a campaign statement (less than 200 words)
I want to help the residents in Ward 2 of Forest Park to have a seat at the table of .city government.