Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging

Our neighborhoods in West St. Paul are filled with people from different backgrounds, who are involved in different things and live here for different reasons. I love this diversity, and I know we can do more to engage people to learn how their differences can help our community grow and improve. We’ve made efforts at acknowledging our residents by recognizing Black History Month, LGBTQIA Pride Month, Native American Heritage Month, Asian American Pacific Islander Month, and several more. We’ve also established a citizen-led Equity Team that meets monthly with the city manager. Those are solid first steps, and there’s still more we can do to make everyone truly feel like they belong in West St. Paul.

  • Eliminating communication barriers by continuing to provide city information in multiple languages – like surveys and town hall forums – and focusing on more proactive outreach and meeting people where they are.
  • Increasing accessibility by adding more sidewalks and making enhancements to our parks so neighbors of all abilities can safely and confidently enjoy are city.  
  • Keeping our city affordable. Our city continues to grow in diversity, we have one of the largest aging populations in Dakota County and we’re seeing more young families choose West St. Paul as a place to call home. 

Celebrating the diversity of each of us is important. I’ll continue to work hard to give everyone a voice.

Waiting out the rain at the first community led WSP Pride in the Park in 2019.

A Safe Community for Everyone

Untitled design (16)
Brand new fire engines for South Metro Fire Department in 2020 to replace ones from 1999 and 2000.

Everyone, no matter who they are, wants to feel safe in the place they call home. This looks different for each of us, and as it’s crucial we seek to understand as many of those perspectives as possible. I will continue to maintain open and transparent communication with our fire department and police department. 

  • Efficiently allocating resources. Our chiefs know when staffing becomes an issue, and I fully support them on this. Our police and fire departments continue to see a year-after-year increase in calls. We want to use those resources the best way we can through community education, providing mental health services, and partnering with surrounding cities and counties when we can. 
  • Welcoming community input. If residents feel unsafe or threatened in their homes, they should feel confident the city will take action in supporting them. This could look like neighborhood meetings with the police, having our public works department do traffic studies, or tracking speed data from cars passing by. Your experiences here are valid, and I want to hear about them to see how we can help. 
  • Maintaining quality infrastructure. Infrastructure isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, and yet it’s something that we have to maintain – our roads, sidewalks, trails, sewers, and parks are all important parts of our city. Without keeping an eye on it, we’re at risk of crumbling roads and failing lift stations. Nobody wants either of those things. We need to continue making upgrades in our parks to make things safe and accessible. We also need to continue moving forward on the community’s ongoing desire to have a walkable and bikeable city.

Responsible Economic Advocacy

We work hard for our money in West St. Paul. We better treat it right and know where it goes. 

  • Partnering with state leaders. We’ve been very fortunate for the last four years to have city councilmembers that have partnered closely with our state representative, Rick Hansen, and state senator, Matt Klein, to identify ways they can help advocate for us at the legislature for funding West St. Paul needs. I’ll make sure that continues as we welcome new state lawmakers and a county commissioner into our city with the recent redistricting. 
  • Making responsible fiscal decisions. In 2021, the city’s portion of property taxes saw the smallest increase since 2016 at 5.15%, a drastic drop from the double digit rates we all felt in 2018 and 2019. This is because we’ve been able to efficiently manage our debt, use the voter-approved sales tax increase to fix our roads when they need it, and successfully focus on our long-term plans. I’ll work to make sure we keep our levy as low as we can while still maintaining our day-to-day operations. 
  • Making smart investments. We have to continue being mindful about the way we spend our money and make sure we’re making smart decisions when spending it. City street repairs, sidewalks, and community amenities are worth investing in for the people that live here now and in the future.
On the bus with the touring House Capital Investment Committee to ask for $2.83 million in bonding appropriations for one of our aging wastewater facilities.

Listening to YOU

As a tire changing clinic for women and non-binary folks after multiple women had their tires vandalized in 2018. Zak's Auto Service graciously hosted, and a Metro Transit mechanic walked us through what we should know.

The biggest reason I decided to run for City Council in 2018 is to be able to give people a voice in what decisions are being made and how they’re being prioritized in West St. Paul. We all have different interests and values, and it’s important those are acknowledged. I’ve truly enjoyed learning what’s important to residents along the way.

  • Creating community. We’ve heard time and time again that people in West St. Paul need a place to gather and create a sense of community with one another – a community center, green space, park improvements, sit-down restaurants. As we look at future development opportunities, we want to have more leverage to make those decisions. Our Economic Development Authority (EDA) can do that – we can invest in development opportunities that fit soundly into our future, and I’m excited to have those opportunities.
  • Implementing your ideas. I’ve heard from residents about detailed things that are really important to them. Some examples making pet licenses valid for the lifetime of the pet, loosening the requirements to have backyard chickens, and implementing a ban on gay conversion therapy. By learning more from residents, researching the issues, and talking with city staff, I’ve brought these things forward for discussion. Each of these things were passed without much debate by our City Council. While it doesn’t always work that way, I still want to hear from you.

Whether it’s an email you’ve sent in the middle of the night, a phone call on a Saturday morning, or if you’ve taken the time to speak up during citizen comments at a council meeting, I am better at my job as a City Councilperson when I listen to your needs and wants for the place you call home.