Public beach access should allow for the enjoyment of our natural resources, while also protecting our community’s delicate ecosystem and unique ecological habitats. Maintaining this balance is critical to promoting common-sense growth in a thriving beach community. Beach Access #4, on the west end of Perdido Key near the Crab Trap, is set to open soon, which will provide District 2 residents and visitors with an indispensable new asset. Thirty-five new parking spaces, handicapped accessibility, and habitat protection for the Perdido Key Beach Mouse, allows more visitors to enjoy our beaches and in turn, support our local businesses. When we work together to open our beaches in a smart, effective way that also protects our key resources, we all win.
Supporting our law enforcement officers with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, as well as our Escambia County Emergency Medical Services and Escambia County Fire Rescue, is of the utmost importance. As a community, we cannot be expected to serve one another in an efficient and effective manner if we cannot properly fund those who serve us. Making sure public safety departments are well-funded, well-equipped, highly trained and consistently staffed should be our top priority. Our firefighters, law enforcement officers and EMS responders not only deserve higher pay and better benefits, but they deserve a real advocate who fights for change on a systemic level. I will prioritize public safety so that District 2 residents may live securely in a low-crime, responsive community that is well prepared for any event.
The traffic congestion along Perdido Key Drive and Gulf Beach Highway is one of our area’s greatest concerns. In addition to simply creating unnecessary time constraints for residents, this traffic also creates road hazards and unsafe driving conditions. While we are lucky to have an influx of tourists and locals continually visiting our pristine beaches and wonderful local businesses, the current infrastructure lacks the capacity to support the amount of traffic that we see each year. We must also prioritize the safety of our many pedestrians and cyclists. As your Commissioner, I will work with state and federal partners to ensure that critical infrastructure projects, such as these road improvements, are funded quickly, so that residents can commute to work safely and in a timely manner.
District 2 has some of the most serious flooding issues in Escambia County, with neighborhoods such as The Tanyard, Lake Charlene, and Downtown Pensacola located in critical flood zones. Making sure our County clears storm drains and ditches when their capacity is exceeded, as well as repair breaks and blockages in utility lines, is incredibly important. We must work with partner agencies to get urgent emergency funding to prevent further flooding disasters in our district. As Commissioner, I will work with residents and experts to create a smart, strategic flood plan that will create new ways of re-directing overflow and separating rainwater. Together, we will clean up our sewers and implement sustainable drainage.
Protecting Our Environment
District 2 is home to some of the most beautiful and unique state parks, beaches, and natural resources in not only Escambia County, but in the entire state of Florida. There is a reason so many choose to call our District their home. We must do everything in our power to protect the beauty and life within our most precious assets, so that we remain good stewards of our air, water, and land. Studying our impact on the environment so that we can encourage smart development, promote ecotourism, and reduce hazardous waste are all vital goals, so that future generations may also enjoy what makes our community so special.
Transparency & Accountability
Escambia County residents should have full access to all pertinent information that involves the expenditure of their taxpayer dollars. I hope to usher in a new era of transparency and accountability in our county government, where public records are made readily available in a reasonable and timely fashion, and employees are held to a high standard of ethics. As public servants, we must be vigilant in standing against undue influence and mismanagement of funds. In time, we will develop a long-standing relationship of open and honest communications with the public, which will help rebuild confidence in government operations.
Innovation & Technology
Escambia County has come a long way in terms of technology and innovation over the last 8 years, but there is always room for more growth. We are home to many of the country’s leading cyber security and IT experts in the private sector- our county and government technology should also reflect this. Hacks, leaks, and security breaches to a government facility or server are unacceptable. Public information should be readily available to all citizens via responsive, easily-accessible websites and portals. We should also make sure all websites and resources are ADA-compatible whenever we are able. Investing in video technology, communications software, and app development so that constituents are able to openly communicate with their government is not only wise, but prudent.
When elected Commissioner, I will prioritize building trusted relationships among my colleagues, other government representatives, and other government agencies, as well as the public. While I will always advocate for my constituents and am not afraid to voice strong opinions, I also recognize the benefits of being able to have successful working relationships with other leaders. Building on the trust and expanding the bond between city and county, FDOT, Fish & Wildlife, the state legislature, and the Department of Environmental Protection, among others, will be key to keeping our county government operating at maximum potential.