When it comes to infrastructure, my main focus is on reprioritizing our spending in the city's Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). This portion of the budget currently includes $53 million over the next five years for the Southeast Connector project that will run from the new Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway to the Highway 5/65 bypass in Pleasant Hill. When we can't take care of the roads we already have, we need to stop building new ones. As a council member, I will take a "fix it first" approach to spending our tax dollars and focus improvements on neighborhoods that have been around for a long time.
It has become clear to me over the course of this campaign that if we want to ensure our city has a bright economic future, we need to address the growing shortage of affordable housing in our region. Though this is an issue that will require all communities in the metro to come to the table, I will work to ensure that Des Moines leads the way in establishing a plan for workforce housing that includes goals, targets and measurable outcomes. I would like to see this plan include elements like removing minimum parking requirements, making amendments to our new zoning code, and establishing a land bank to increase infill development on vacant lots.
Whenever I'm participating in a conversation about what we could do to improve opportunities for kids in our city, I often find myself sitting in a room full of adults. It's time we gave our city's youth an official seat at the table and a voice of their own by establishing a Youth City Council. The Des Moines Youth City Council would consist of high school students from across the city, and the student members would be paired with a City Council member to provide a direct line of communication and mentorship. This will cultivate future generations of local leadership and help us address issues that are affecting our youth in ways they understand better than we do.