Working throughout Polk County through Polk Vision, I learned the key components to collaborative leadership: humility, willingness to listen and learn, and finding common ground for solutions. This is the basis of my campaign. Lakeland has many great attributes. I want to work with other leaders to highlight those strengths while developing the best solutions for our entire city. Being collaborative requires us to value and seek diverse opinions in the process.
“You should learn something new every day.” That wisdom was preached to me as a child by my grandmother. Serving on the city commission, I know that I will be learning new things every day. Our city has an extraordinary footprint that makes it one of the top employers in Polk County while operating Lakeland Electric, the RP Funding Center, and serving as the winter home of the Detroit Tigers. I feel that my love of learning will serve the city well. Not only do I want to become a student of the city and its operations, but I also want to be a student of the community. Learning comes from a variety of places, and most importantly our city’s residents.
Balancing Wants and Needs
The City of Lakeland, like all companies with budgets, should discern wants versus needs. Being a fiscal conservative, I believe it is important to balance the community’s budget needs with budget wants. In my career in the non-profit sector, I know organizations live and die by their budget choices. I want to be sure that our city is fiscally responsible and serving its citizens by providing great services in efficient ways.
Working with youth in the Randy Roberts Foundation, I have encouraged our students to realize the importance of public service, especially at the local level. Even though we study the federal government, I like to remind the students that our city provides the most direct services to us as residents: safety, utilities, transportation, and infrastructure. All of our local government activities significantly influence our lives daily, both in positive and negative ways. My hope is to work to make those interactions more positive and cultivate an active interest in public service at all levels.