As a member of the Parent Teacher Council for many years I have worked with the wonderful teachers and administrators of Virginia Beach Public Schools to develop the 2020 vision for our students. Currently, I serve as a mentor and instructor for the Kempsville Entrepreneur Academy. Therefore, I understand that the City of Virginia Beach is a life long learning community. Developing opportunities to learn from childhood to adulthood are essential to the growth and development of our community. For instance, providing a full day of kindergarten prepares our children to prosper, grow and compete on a global level.
Additionally, the next generation deserves an environment that captures their unique, innovative capabilities. It is our responsibility to prepare a workforce and environment that exceeds their expectations so they want to stay in the region. I am committed to leading the path to creating a solution to address this concern. As a participant of the World Education Day conference in Jinan, China, I understand the importance of our children effectively competing on a global level.
Cultivating great neighborhoods require proven traffic calming solutions and an expedited stormwater plan to alleviate flooding in our communities. Virginia Beach citizens deserve to live in an environment that is safe and habitable. The issue of stormwater flooding is a multifaceted conundrum. As such a solution for our city encompasses partnerships, accountability, collaboration, routine maintenance and strategic planning. Additionally, the 15 year plan to address this issue must be modified to a plan that can provide relief now.
Empowering Local Businesses
As the Vice Chair of the Minority Business Council I strongly believe that exceptional schools and great neighborhoods create an attractive environment for continued business growth and prosperity. As a business owner I believe providing local businesses including small businesses, women and veteran owned businesses with the resources and partnerships they require will create a prosperous, thriving economy. As a member of the National Small Business Association I will advocate to strengthen and equip local businesses.
Virginia Beach is a community comprised of a plethora of cultures, values, ethnicities, origins and backgrounds. Embracing our differences creates a pathway for growth, trust and respect for everyone. We can continue the growth of Virginia Beach by coming together.
As a Chaplain for the Virginia Beach Police Department I witness first hand the sacrifice that our Police Officers and First Responders make each day. They are public servants who run toward danger and lead courageously in the face of uncertainty. As such I support pay incentives and competitive wages for our public servants. Additionally, I am also committed to finding a viable solution for the pay compression issue.
Recently, Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill to help keep human trafficking suspects from getting out on bail. Human Trafficking is a $150 billion global enterprise. Additionally, Virginia ranked 15th for the most reported cases by a state. Consequently, we must work together to bring awareness to this issue. I am committed to partnering with leaders in the region to combat this issue.
The City of Virginia Beach and Virginia Beach law enforcement have laid the foundation to address this crisis by being the first city to train police officers to carry Narcon to revive individuals who overdose on opioids. The Virginia Beach Police Department also implemented a prescription medication take-back program to encourage citizens to turn in unused medications to prevent drug abuse by teenagers. It is essential to continue down this path set by Virginia Beach City officials and law enforcement to proactively address this crisis and bring awareness to this epidemic.
Poverty and Homelessness
Statistics reveal that one in six individuals face hunger. Additionally, the statistics concerning homelessness are staggering. Currently, I am proactively working to address this problem on a monthly basis. I work with Greatter24, an organization that has provided over 1,000 meals to feed homeless individuals on a monthly basis. This is a wonderful start. However, it is imperative that we create partnerships with faith based organizations, the city government and the community to implement a comprehensive strategy to combat this serious issue. Recently, the City of Virginia Beach celebrated the grand opening of its Housing Resource Center which demonstrates the kind of comprehensive strategy that is necessary to achieve this goal. As we work together, we can make it difficult for individuals to live impoverished lives.
As a graduate of the Lead Signature Class of 2018, a program that trains leaders to focus on key issues that impact Hampton Roads, I had the opportunity to witness the debilitating effects that occur when we fail to work together as a region. Therefore, it is essential that we partner and work with leaders across the region to enhance the position of Hampton Roads on a national and global level. According to one local economist, "regional cooperation is critical to move the economy forward." In essence, we must remember that together we are stronger.