AMY WILL BRING NEW ENERGY AND NEW LEADERSHIP TO CHARLESTON
Amy Will Grow Charleston Again
The most fundamental problem here in Charleston is the loss of people. They’re leaving and not coming back. We must turn that tide. At the current rate, the 2020 census could be the first census in 100 years to show Charleston with a population under 50,000. Amy will implement strategies to provide our young people the opportunity to stay--in addition to keeping and attracting entrepreneurs and new businesses.
Amy will work with institutions of higher education to implement a Mayor's Internship Program. The year-round internship program will offer college credit for students working on city projects in areas such as recreation management, criminal justice, public health, and facilities development and management.
In addition, Amy will implement an Innovation Council of forward thinking residents who will help ensure Charleston stays on the cutting edge.
However, perhaps the most persuasive way to keep and attract people here is to show them that this is a city—and a people—that treats others with respect. A city that welcomes anyone who comes with an open mind, an open heart and a willingness to contribute. A city that includes people whether they are Christian, Jewish or Muslim; whether they are black, white or brown; whether they are rich or poor—and regardless of whom they love.
Know that as Mayor, Amy will make sure that everyone knows we are that kind of city.
Amy will call out and shout down anyone who jeopardizes that reputation. Because we cannot allow a few ignorant and hate-filled people to define who we are as a people. And we need to make sure those in our community who have been subjected to such bigotry know we are behind them, we consider them a vital member of our community and that we will not rest until the bitterness that divides us is washed away.
If you have an open mind, an open heart and a willingness to contribute, then you have a city: Charleston, WV
Amy Will Create The Mayor's CARE Office to Help Target Work On the Opioid Crisis
There is no more devastating problem in our city or our region that the drug crisis brought about by the abuse of and addiction to opiates. Like many families, Amy’s family, too, lost someone to addiction. This disease has taken so many people prisoner—and it doesn’t discriminate. There are a lot of individuals and organizations doing great work in addressing the crisis, however, their good work often occurs in isolation or silos. We also have plenty of well-meaning policies – but what we need is more action.
That is why on her first day in office Amy will put in place the Mayor’s CARE office. CARE – Coordinated Addiction Response Effort. The office will be charged with coordinating and focusing all efforts within the city to help put an end to the drug crisis. The office will be there to help connect and enhance the good works of those engaged in this fight and make sure we don’t duplicate efforts.
We need a coordinated response and we need it now.
We must also protect those who protect and serve us.
While other cities are cutting police officers and their benefits, we need to ensure we maintain the number of police officers we currently have--perhaps increasing that number. We cannot afford to lose ground in the midst of a drug crisis.
Amy Will Make Charleston Safer
Amy will ensure that our police force is fully staffed and supported with the resources and personnel necessary to provide real solutions for individuals in crisis within our community. Amy will also see to it that our police are provided with the resources necessary to remove violent offenders from our community permanently. Amy will install a Mayor’s Advisory Council on Community Engagement made up largely of community members in the areas most affected by crime and violence—and listen. Amy will institutionalize community policing methods such as “Drug Market Intervention” initiatives. Such initiatives greatly enhance cooperation between law enforcement and the community and truly give communities a voice and a stake in policing and its outcomes.
Amy Will Ensure The CURA Board Has Representatives From The Areas It Serves
The Charleston Urban Renewal Authority (CURA) was established with the goal of addressing public health, slum clearance, and blight in the areas most affected by those issues: the West Side and East End. CURA focuses on planning and financial support and is comprised of nine board members and an executive director. The West Side especially has been woefully underrepresented on the CURA board.
In 2008, CURA commissioned a plan to dramatically help Charleston’s West Side. However, since then, little has been done to follow through on any of those recommendations.
As Mayor, she will appoint to the CURA board of directors representatives who actually live in the affected areas. For instance, the rule needs to be that there is constant representation on the CURA board of directors from either the members of City Council who represent the West Side or others who actually live on the West Side.
Amy Will Promote Greater Riverfront Development
Charleston has one of the most beautiful riverfronts in the region. We have made good investments in our riverfront infrastructure, but we must do more. Amy will work to promote the expansion of businesses and eateries along the riverfront. She will also expand opportunities to use the riverfront:
Amy Will Make Charleston Walkable and Bikeable
While people love their vehicles, more and more, people want to live within a walk or a bike ride of work, parks, dining, and shopping. Amy will accelerate our development of trails and sidewalks that connect our communities throughout the city. To do so would increase Charleston’s attractiveness to our own citizens and those seeking to relocate here. It would also promote healthy lifestyles. Amy will immediately pilot a bike share program with bike kiosks strategically placed throughout the city from North Charleston to Kanawha City.
Amy Will Make Sure We Support Our Small Businesses
Amy’s family owns a small business. She grew up working there and understands the real issues facing small business owners. She believes that the city shouldn’t just participate in ribbon cuttings and grand openings, but rather the city should be a true partner with small businesses.
Amy will Implement a Small Business Advance Team (SBAT) that will go out to business owners with all city resources. The team will consist of the mayor, city manager, along with a representative from the police department, the finance department, the parking division and the planning division.
Amy knows If we want to attract and keep businesses in the City of Charleston we need to go directly to the folks who are creating a vibrant business community and ask how the city and its resources can help them grow and thrive. Amy wants to see to it that current and new business owners have a direct link to all city resources.
As she has said many times on the campaign trail, our small businesses represent the keys to our state’s economic future. There are more than 115,000 small businesses in West Virginia—more than 27,000 of those with employees.
During her time as West Virginia’s Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Commissioner of Tourism she talked to many many West Virginia entrepreneurs and I asked them, “when was the last time someone came to you and asked ‘how can we help you grow your business; how can we help you add just one new job?’” The response every time: “never”.
Instead of tax breaks and giveaways to billionaires and out of state companies who merely promise jobs, we need to devote ourselves to helping support and grow the small businesses that have delivered jobs. We also need to encourage other West Virginia would-be entrepreneurs to follow their dreams and let them know that we have their backs. Were we to do that, were we to commit to that, we would be well on our way to a more vibrant and diverse city.
Amy Will Cut Waste And Create Accountability
The service of any public official must be met with a daily sense of urgency. Amy believes service to the community in a public role should be limited. We can’t allow our public offices to be a place for anyone to become complacent that is why:
Amy will push for terms limits on the amount of time a mayor can service by imposing term limits on this position to no more than two-four year consecutive terms.
There are currently 26 Charleston City Council members. The City of Chicago has fewer council members serving its community. In the past, many found having a “community council” was good so you could get to know your council representative personally.
If every member of council participates in the schedule council meeting every two weeks, the cost of paying council is approximately $13,000.
Amy believes that while the work of so many past council members have produced wonderful projects and policies, with the loss of population in the region, and the growing cost of government, she will work to:
Eliminate six council positions by 2022, and by 2024 develop a plan that consistently evaluates each ward and it’s growth to better assess the needs of hosting a larger council.
Amy Will Implement A Monthly “Charleston Walks” Program
Amy’s parents taught her that she didn’t need to talk the talk, if you walk the walk. Show up, listen, and then get to work.
As mayor, Amy will walk the walk.
Amy will launch a program to help take city government directly to the people and help officials be more responsive.
This program will bring together the mayor, city council members, representatives from transportation, sanitation and law enforcement on walking tours through the city’s wards and will invite the council representative from those wards to join.
These community walks will be advertised to let citizens know when to come out and ask questions and point out problems directly to this group.
While Amy believes it is essential to host “Charleston Walk” and town hall meetings, she understands not everyone is able to leave work, their children, or travel to hear what their representatives are doing to help them in their own neighborhoods.
Amy will also immediately bring the City of Charleston’s communications up to speed with the first step of hosting council meetings online, with audio and video streaming.
Amy Will Market The City Of Charleston
As the former commissioner of tourism, and the 2015 tourism professional of the year, it was Amy’s goal to give fellow West Virginians the opportunity find out all they could about their hometowns and day trip adventures, but also to showcase all that is Wild and Wonderful to the world. Amy worked to create an award winning marketing and public relations campaign with her efforts on, “REAL, Wild Wonderful, West Virginia, #GoToWV, and the implementation of all new photos and videos, and logos.”
Amy will aggressively market the City of Charleston by revamping its entire local, national and international social media, public relations and marketing outreach. She will do this in tight coordination with the many organizations already promoting Charleston.
Amy Will Make Charleston A Regional Year-Round Youth Sports Destination
During the last 10 years, there has been an exponential increase in travel youth sports. Charleston is located in the center of at least 10 major metropolitan areas where youth sports are thriving. Charleston can and should be the hub for tournaments between and among teams from these metropolitan areas.
Amy will help execute a plan to build out necessary facilities to allow Charleston to attract top teams and the revenue they bring with them--in addition to providing our kids with access to top notch facilities.
We must focus on both outdoor and indoor facilities so we can be a year-round destination.
Amy Will Work To Create and Develop Downtown Playgrounds, Skateparks, Multi-Purpose Courts
Charleston needs to be a place where our young people can gather and engage in wholesome activity. We need downtown and neighborhood youth recreational facilities like playgrounds, skateparks and multi-purpose courts.
Amy will immediately direct a needs/use assessment on all city parks and its programming to evaluate what's being used and what's not being used, and what we need, and what we don't.
Amy Will Cooperate and Coordinate More Closely With Neighboring Cities
A perfect example of the way such cooperation can and does work is the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team. Police officers from Charleston, South Charleston, Nitro, St. Albans, and others throughout the Kanawha Valley have for years cooperated in targeting the area’s drug problems to great effect. Amy believes we can do the same by, for example, coordinating investment in and maintenance of governmental and recreational facilities.
Amy Will Promote The Use Of Historic Tax Credits
An increase in the state historic tax credit from 10% to 25% is a game-changer for the redevelopment of some of Charleston's gems. Other cities like Roanoke, VA have been able to spark extraordinary investment in their downtown through use of such incentives. Amy will vigorously promote the use of such tax credits to help revitalize Charleston.
Amy Will Increase Our Efforts Regarding Abandoned Structures
Abandoned structures are eyesores and are often dangerous hives of unsavory or even illegal activity. We need to do more to prevent structures from becoming abandoned in the first place, such as encouraging and helping elderly homeowners name heirs to their property. We also need to put more teeth in the process for condemning and ultimately demolishing such structures.
Amy Will Promote the Arts
Art is the mirror to the soul of a city. We need to encourage more public art and music projects and create a Public Art Commission to develop and implement strategies for incorporating art into future development projects. We must work to encourage our talented musicians and artists to stay here and encourage other such artists to relocate here.