Frequently Asked Questions

Health & Safety

What is the top threat to Daytonians' health and safety? What actions would you take to address that threat?


The top threat to health and safety for Daytonians is the lack of economic opportunities in disadvantaged communities. Poverty leads to food and housing insecurities, failing educational systems, and inadequate, inaccessible, and unaffordable health care. As I stated in my response to the previous question, I cannot reiterate enough the need to invest in our communities. We must create economic development opportunities for Dayton's working families and provide quality educational opportunities for students and adults if we intend to diminish these health and safety concerns.




What role should the mayor and City Commission play in planning and preparing for protests and civil unrest?


The City of Dayton has a statutory responsibility to ensure the health and safety of the community and must plan and prepare for any potential civil unrest that occurs within city limits.

This burden of responsibility was shown in May 2019 when the City of Dayton increased expenditures to safeguard citizens when the Honorable Sacred Knights of Indiana came to Dayton for a controversial rally at Courthouse Square. City officials collaborated with Montgomery County Commissioners and law enforcement from across the region to ensure that city residents were protected while exercising their right to protest the event.





Budget

A city’s budget reflects its values. If any, which projects and departments should receive an increase in funding and which should see a reduction?


Having dealt directly with the City's budget during the last 15 years, it was my responsibility to negotiate and work with the City to ensure that union employees and working families (many who live in the City of Dayton) have good-paying jobs and benefits while the budget is balanced, and statutorily mandated services are provided. This critical insight enabled me to identify numerous ways in which the City may reduce and redirect funding to address the fiscal need and the community's various concerns while protecting worker's rights and maintaining jobs.

I would lobby for reviewing administrative, managerial, and supervisory positions and responsibilities to ensure that the leadership ratio to front-line staff is appropriate. A reduction in this funding could increase staffing levels in public works and front-line services that have been drastically reduced over the past 15 years due to cuts in the local government funds received from the state and the loss of income tax revenue due to job losses. I demonstrated this concept during the recent reorganization of the Aviation Department. After losing a major airline and the COVID pandemic, the Aviation department took a 30 – 40% reduction, while other departments took a 2% reduction. When the City proposed bargaining unit staffing cuts, I proposed eliminating the Assistant Aviation Director and other management positions, which was ultimately agreed upon by the City.

I would also lobby to review the budget as it relates to police reform. While providing safety services is mandated by the statute, how those services are provided, and what department or program is responsible for those services should be reviewed so that funding can be reallocated to ensure that services are provided in other, more effective ways such as community engagement, alternate response models as well as cultural competency and implicit bias trainings. I demonstrated my commitment to reviewing the police budget and allocating funds by serving as the police training committee's co-chair. On this committee, we recommended increasing the amount and type of training received at the academy and the training that all DPD Officers and command staff receive, which will require additional funding or the reallocation of funding.




What do you think the minimum wage should be in Dayton? Do you believe there should be a lower wage for tipped workers?


I support the fight for a minimum wage increase to $15 per hour and have negotiated $15 starting wages in union shops because all employees should have the opportunity to earn living wages.

I do not believe there should be a lower wage for tipped workers. As we have seen through the changes brought about via COVID-19, tippable workers cannot rely on this fluctuating income in order to provide for their families. Consistent set income is the key to ensuring our citizens have access to livable working wages regardless of their work industry.




Do you pledge to fully fund the HRC so that it can effectively fulfill its duties by filling vacant positions, including the Welcome Dayton Coordinator, the Community Police Relations Coordinator, a Business and Technical Assistance Administrator, and a second Civil Rights Investigator and have sufficient funding for HRC program implementation?


Additional Comment regarding my "No" answer to the question regarding the funding of the HRC. I believe the HRC services are vital to reshaping the City's policy agenda and actively engaging in the racial justice work needed to address racial disparities and ensure equality in our community. I will lobby to appropriately fund the HRC budget as it relates to the community's needs- while also being mindful of the budget and staffing needs of other departments in the City that provide statutory and vital services and employs minorities. I will also commit to assessing the current staffing model and the recommendations proposed during the police reform process to propose a new staffing model, which may include the listed positions or different positions that meet the needs of the community in a more effective manner.

My experience with the entire city budget and staffing levels provides me with the expertise needed to adequately evaluate each department's staffing levels while continuing to provide vital services to all citizens. As a union representative, I believe that workers' rights are civil rights and city officials have a duty to ensure that all departments are adequately funded- however, I do maintain that this duty should be carried out in a manner that avoids staff reductions through layoffs, which frequently negatively impacts minorities in entry-level positions. By remaining vigilant to staffing needs for the entire City, I will advocate for vacant positions to remain unfilled or to be abolished prior to laying off individuals in one city department to staff another city department.

As the union representative for bargaining unit employees during the COVID pandemic, I attended civil service bumping/layoff meetings and saw firsthand the impact of the departmental cuts, as well as the 2% across the board reduction for all employees and the 30-40% budget reduction that negatively impacted Aviation employees. While I do fully support the HRC's mission, I do believe that lobbying for the HRC to be fully funded and staffed at pre-covid levels during this challenging economy would have negatively impacted many minorities and female employees in other areas. In assessing our City's current budget status, I am extremely optimistic that the money received from the American Rescue Plan Act will replace loss revenue, which will allow the City to fully fund appropriate staffing models for all city departments, including the HRC.

Additional Comment - As one of Dayton's next City Commissioners, I will be a bridge to a brighter future for Dayton. I will be a champion for working families, improve communication between citizens and city leadership, facilitate economic development and opportunities, continue the police reform task force's work, and work to balance the budget while maintaining adequate staffing levels and providing quality service to the citizens of Dayton.




What is the most pressing fiscal issue facing the City of Dayton?


While the $147 Million in Recovery Act funding replaces revenue lost from COVID-19, Dayton’s most pressing issue is a direct result of the pandemic. The proposed commuter income tax reduction would result in $20+ million in lost revenue, creating numerous financial/operational challenges.

Hiring freezes, abolished positions, separation plans and budget reductions have significantly affected our city’s workforce and ability to provide vital services. The loss of the commuter tax will further exacerbate an already strained budget.

Effectively cutting cost to mitigate these losses without compromising essential services coupled with strategic funding allocations are key in moving towards fiscal recovery




What are your top budget priorities for the city? Do you think the city is spending too little money in some areas? Do you think it’s spending too much money in other areas? How would you balance the budget while pursuing you top spending priorities?


As a bridge to building stronger communities, one of my top budget priorities involve making sure that city departments that provide essential services are appropriately staffed so that the City can address many of the issues that citizens report plague our communities such as street paving, trash and waste removal and mowing vacant lots. If fully staffed, the investment in the communities helps improve infrastructure and beautification, which helps create environments that lead to economic development and investment.

  • As a bridge to better community police relations, another one of my top budget priorities is ensuring that the recommendations of the 5 police reform working groups are appropriately funded. We must also be committed to reviewing our entire public safety budget, and allocating new funds and/or reallocating funds where necessary. While providing safety services is mandated by the statute, how those services are provided can be reviewed, so that safety services are provided in other, more effective ways, such as community engagement, cultural competency and implicit bias training, and alternative response models. I demonstrated my commitment to reviewing the police budget and the allocation of funds, by serving as the co-chair of the training committee, where we recommended increasing the amount and type of training that is receive in the academy and the training that all DPD Officers and command staff receive.
  • As a bridge to fiscal responsibility and balancing the budget, I would propose a review of administration, managerial, and supervisory positions, responsibilities to ensure that the ratio of leadership to front line staff is appropriate. A reduction in this funding could go to increase staffing levels in public works, which have been drastically reduced over the past 15 years due to cuts in the local government funds received from the state and the loss of income tax revenue due to job loss.
  • I demonstrated this during the recent reorganization of the Aviation Department, which due to the loss of a major airline and the COVID pandemic took a 30 – 40% reduction, where other departments took a 2% reduction. When the City proposed bargaining unit staffing cuts, I proposed to eliminate the Assistant Aviation Director and other management positions, which was ultimately agreed upon by the City.





Economic Development

Dayton has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation among mid-to large-sized cities with 1 in 3 Daytonians living in poverty. What are your legislative priorities that would benefit poor and working class people in Dayton?


I strongly believe that the path to revitalizing and stabilizing Dayton's City starts with us building our communities from the inside out. Investing in and leveraging funds for small business loans, creating and promoting programs that assist entrepreneurs with locating/acquiring property to start and/or expand their business, in addition to continued collaboration with community partners to create more co-ops such as the Gem City Market are top priorities in the revitalization component of my platform. The stabilization component also comes through the continued partnership and support for strong employers in our community to ensure that we maintain and increase the number of good-paying jobs with good benefits.

I will also look to create and increase access to programming that assists homeowners with repairs and expenses that often make it difficult for economically disadvantaged and working-class citizens to own and maintain their homes. Investing in the creation and retention of good quality affordable housing stabilizes our neighborhoods.

Additionally, I will also pursue more education and engagement opportunities between organized labor and the community to increase access and involvement for minorities, women, and economically disadvantaged citizens to programs, such as the AFL CIO pre-apprenticeship program and the EMT program with Dayton Public Schools. It is also vital that we work with organized labor to provide access to training and licensure programs that position workers for promotional opportunities. Prior to leaving AFSCME I negotiated several "promotion in place" policies that promoted employees into higher classifications upon receipt of licenses, certifications, or degrees.

In addition to these initiatives, I will also lobby for the creation of a council/task force that brings together high school students, college students, young professionals, and senior community members. The goal is to bridge the communication and generational gaps that often hinder meaningful conversation regarding issues that matter in the City of Dayton such as housing, economic development and innovation.




1. Governor DeWine recently announced plans to market Ohio as a progressive state.  What do you see in the City of Dayton that fits this description?


The current political climate for the state of Ohio would not be considered progressive as Ohio's GOP-controlled Legislature has not passed many progressive policies over the years.

Dayton has been far more progressive in terms of liberal initiatives when you think of city specific programming, policies, and laws such as Welcome Dayton, Prevailing Wage, Paid Parental Leave, the recent decriminalization of minimal marijuana quantities and police reform.

These examples of progressive politics speak to this city’s commitment to continue diversifying the area while seeking equity in areas such as housing, environmental, economics, education and health care.




Multiple candidates talked about the importance of bringing new jobs to the city and economic development. What specifically would you do as a commissioner to create jobs and attract investment?


As a bridge to economic development, I would invest in investing in and leveraging funds for small businesses loans, creating, and promoting programs that assist entrepreneurs with locating and acquiring property to start and/or expand their business, and working with community partners to create more co-ops such as the Gem City Market, which creates jobs. As we develop and begin to spend in our neighborhoods, we will attract other economic development.

Continue to work with and support the strong employers in our community to ensure that we maintain and increase the number of good paying jobs with good benefits.

I will also propose more education and engagement between organized labor and the community to increase access and involvement for minorities, women and economically disadvantaged to programs such as the AFL CIO pre apprentice- ship program, the Homegrown Hero’s program, and the EMT program with Dayton Public Schools.




The city expects to receive about $147 million in federal funds from the latest rescue package. How would you like to see that money spent?


The $147 million dollars from the American Rescue Plan will provide a much needed boost to the City of Dayton, because it allows the City to replace revenue that was lost due the COVID pandemic and not replaced when the Cares Act funding was issued. The loss of revenue resulted in hiring freezes, abolished positions, voluntary separation plans, salary reductions, and budget cuts in programs and projects that significantly affected our city’s workforce and ability to provide vital services. The initial allocation of the funds should start with replacing the revenue so that city departments are appropriately funded and fully staffed and essential services are restored.

Once we invest in our workforce, we must then begin to build our neighborhoods from the inside out by Investing in and leveraging funds for small businesses loans, creating, and promoting programs that assist entrepreneurs with locating and acquiring property to start and/or expand their business, and working with community partners to create more co-ops such as the Gem City Market.





Labor

Tell us about a time you supported workers during a labor dispute:


Over the past year, the Covid-19 pandemic has created vast challenges for businesses, employees, and local government agencies as well. While representing employees for Montgomery County, not only was I able to help prevent possible layoffs that could have resulted from Governor DeWine’s public place capacity restrictions; I was able to negotiate modified work schedules, safer work policies, and protocols, and hazard pay and vaccine incentives for the most at-risk staff. I also negotiated the expedited implementation of work from home options for all eligible staff members.

These targeted actions enabled Montgomery county to retain full staffing levels while ensuring that the community continued to receive vital services and support functions.

In addition to my work with the Montgomery County public employees, I have also supported labor efforts for other union workers across the community. I actively worked to repeal Senate Bill 5, the anti-union legislation, by collecting signatures and coordinating the collection of petitions from the public sector and private sector unions in the Dayton Region. I also attended committee hearings and protested at the Ohio Statehouse. When Hamilton City Council and the West Chester Township Board of Trustees attempted to adopt right-to-work legislation, other local union leaders and I attended multiple council and trustee meetings to protest their actions.

I rallied against “Fast Track” authority for trade deals and rallied with AFGE and National Nurses United for more/ adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line Veteran Administration employees. I have also walked the picket lines to support the following causes: CWA in their actions against AT&T and Verizon; ATU during the driver’s strike against Greater Dayton RTA and AAUP during the professor’s action against Wright State University.




Do you support the rights of all workers to organize and bargain collectively? (Please list specific involvement with or support of organized labor.)


Yes, I support the rights of all workers to organize and bargain collectively. I have been a union member for over 30 years (IUE – 7 years, AFSCME – 25 years) and have spent the last 15 years serving as a Staff Representative and Regional Director for AFSCME Ohio Council 8, representing public employees at the City of Dayton, Montgomery County, and other public employees in the region. I was actively involved in the collection of signatures to get Senate Bill 5 on the ballot to repeal right to work legislation.





General

Why are you running for this office?


For over 30 years, I have been advocating and working on behalf of employees and working families across Montgomery County and throughout Ohio, and serving people in marginalized communities through teaching, mentoring, and community service. I understand the challenges of working families and the City of Dayton, and now is the time for me to bring the passion that I have for the City of Dayton and previous work experience from Delphi, the Public Defender, and AFSCME Ohio Council 8 to expand my service of the citizens of Dayton.

As a City Commissioner I will be a bridge to the future, building on the past successes of the city commission and making improvements to what has not worked to ensure that we expand our economic growth and continue to provide quality services so that every person and every family can enjoy living in a healthy, safe, and thriving Dayton.




List any relevant organizations of which you are a member:


My current Political Activity and Community Involvement Affiliations are the following:

  • Commissioner- Montgomery County Public Defender
  • Community Liaison- MLK Dayton, Inc.
  • County Central Committee- Montgomery County Democratic Party
  • Executive Board Member- Miami Valley Labor Council (Recently Withdrew)
  • Executive Committee Member – Montgomery County Democratic Party
  • Executive Committee Member - NAACP Dayton Branch
  • Implicit Bias Trainer – AFL- CIO Building Futures Pre-Apprenticeship Program
  • Member – Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
  • Mentor – GEMS, Rites of Passage, Women of Soul Models





What is your campaign's mission and vision?


Mission:

To represent the citizens of Dayton by continuing to build trust within the community, provide transparency in decision-making, and to encourage citizen engagement to enhance the quality of community for all who live, work, raise families, or conduct business in Dayton.

Vision:

To be a bridge to the future by building on what has worked for Dayton so far and improving on what has not through continued efforts in improving the quality of life and economic development for the citizens of Dayton.




What do you feel will be the major issues in your campaign and what are your positions on them?


  • Vital Services/Budget Cuts – I have represented City employees through 2 recessions and the COVID pandemic, and have extensive experience with budgets, staffing levels, and city services.

Also, I have negotiated and worked with City officials to come up with creative solutions to increase revenue, cut cost, and manage budget challenges and obstacles. I have been and will continue to be a bridge to the future, providing vital city services, maintaining appropriate staffing levels and balancing the budget.

  • Community and Police Relations – As the Co-Facilitator for the Training, Implicit Bias, De-escalation and Cultural Competency Working Group I have had the opportunity to facilitate meaningful discussions between community members and representatives from the Dayton Police.

These discussions have led to several recommendations to improve community and police relations. I am committed to continuing the work of all 5 working groups, including implementation, administration, oversight, accountability, and funding of the recommendations.

  • Economic Development – Many citizens are concerned that the economic development that is revitalizing our downtown is not happening in all neighborhoods.

We must address the concerns by figuring out more effective ways to communicate the development that is occurring, such as the Economy Linen Facility on McCall St. We must also continue to pursue and facilitate investment in neighborhoods, and work with entrepreneurs and small business owners to continue successful neighborhood development such as the Entrepreneurs Market and 5th Street Brewpub.




What is your educational and professional background?


Educational background

- Sinclair Community College - Paralegal Studies (AAS)

- Wright State University - Political Science (BS)

- University of Dayton Law School - Juris Doctorate (JD)

Professional background

- Delphi - Assembly Line Worker - 7 years

- Montgomery County Public Defender - Paralegal/Legal Intern - 10 years

- Sinclair Community College - Adjunct Professor and Advisory Board Member

- American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Ohio Council 8 - Staff Representative/Regional Director - 15 years

- Shine Like a Diamond Consulting, LLC - Founder/CEO - 2 years




If elected what will be your top priority?


My top priority is to be a bridge to a brighter future for Dayton by building our communities from the inside out, through revitalization and stabilization. I will be a bridge to an equitable economy by investing in job training and workforce strategies that prepare residents for good paying jobs, leveraging Dayton’s assets to recruit high-wage employers and supporting small and minority-owned businesses in accessing the resources they need to thrive.

I will be a bridge to community revitalization and stabilization. I will work to develop a plan for building stronger neighborhoods by eliminating abandoned and/or neglected properties and providing resources to replace them with affordable and quality housing.

I will be a bridge for community revitalization by working to secure significant financial investments to help stabilize neighborhoods through educational opportunities and small business ownership.

Lastly, my plan for stabilizing both the community and local economy focuses on continuing to provide vital city services to our citizens, while maintaining appropriate staffing levels and balancing the city's budget.





Housing

How should the city prepare for the looming eviction crisis?


To address the eviction crisis city officials should partner with the Housing Authority to help facilitate access to affordable housing opportunities in the area. City officials can also serve as a liaison for rental assistance programs such as those offered through Montgomery County and Catholic Social Services.

The City of Dayton can also implement an information day to provide resources/information to the community as a preventative measure to avoid potential displacement. These targeted events combined with a 24-hour hotline for questions regarding eviction and housing issues are strategic ways to help combat the looming eviction crisis in our area.





Policy Changes

Propose a policy or program for the City of Dayton which has not been tried before.


My proposal is a program focusing on community engagement by creating an “Innovation Council” and a “Youth Representative”. The Council would bring together students(high school/college), young professionals and mature citizens to learn more about city government, discuss the issues each group is facing along with their ideas/vision for the city.

The format would resemble the current police reform task force and would give the group an opportunity to make recommendations. A designated youth representative would serve as a community liaison between the council and city government. This student would attend commission meetings and present a report of activities and concerns.




Propose a policy or program for the City of Dayton which has not been tried before.


My proposal is a program focusing on community engagement by creating an “Innovation Council” and a “Youth Representative”. The Council would bring together students(high school/college), young professionals and mature citizens to learn more about city government, discuss the issues each group is facing along with their ideas/vision for the city.

The format would resemble the current police reform task force and would give the group an opportunity to make recommendations. A designated youth representative would serve as a community liaison between the council and city government. This student would attend commission meetings and present a report of activities and concerns.




Minority communities, women, organized labor, and the economically disadvantaged have always been important constituents of the Democratic Party. Please indicate any programs or initiatives you will propose regarding these groups if you are elected.


  • I will propose programming to educate and engage the community beyond the voting process. This would include educational programs and outreach efforts targeted to minority communities, women, and the economically disadvantage that provides in-depth information about the roles of their elected officials and the overall process of democracy at a local level.

Also, there needs to be great efforts to ensure diversity and inclusion to ensure that Democratic Party leadership team, and committees reflect the community.

  • I will also propose more education and engagement between organized labor and the community to increase access and involvement for minorities, women and economically disadvantaged to programs such as the AFL-CIO pre-apprenticeship program.

  • In addition to those two initiatives, I will propose the creation of a council/task force that brings together high school students, college students, young professionals, and senior community members. The goal is to bridge the communication and generational gaps that often hinder meaningful conversation regarding issues that matter in the City of Dayton such as economic development and innovation.





Police Reform

What is your position on Police Reform?


I would review the budget as it relates to police reform. While providing safety services is mandated by the statute, how those services are provided, and what department or program is responsible for those services should be reviewed so that funding can be reallocated to ensure that services are provided in other, more effective ways such as community engagement, alternate response models as well as cultural competency and implicit bias trainings. I demonstrated my commitment to reviewing the police budget and allocating funds by serving as the police training committee's co-chair. On this committee, we recommended increasing the amount and type of training received at the academy and the training that all DPD Officers and command staff receive, which will require additional funding or the reallocation of funding.