City Council Questionnaire
A few years ago, a WCIA survey found that fewer than 35% of minorities felt their perspectives were valued in Wyoming. If you were elected to City Council, what would you do to ensure all residents feel their perspectives are valued?
Honoring minority perspectives comes first from LISTENING and valuing input from minority residents of Wyoming (and beyond). In 2021, as a first-time candidate, I sought out residents who do not appear on most “walking lists.” In fact, some of them were not even registered voters. Three separate non-voters told me no council member had ever previously come to their door to ask their input. I learned plenty “on the doors” specifically about challenges experienced by residents in our more densely populated areas. Moreso, my campaign Treasurer, Deborah Alsopp, was instrumental in introducing me to my fellow Wyoming residents of all backgrounds. I attended events designed to enhance my understanding of previous minority challenges. But no experience enhanced my understanding more than talking with residents one-on-one/face-to-face. That characterizes my desire to serve ALL voices and I plan to continue serving with that sense inclusive listening. Prior to serving as a Wyoming Council member, I served as Chair of the City of Cincinnati Planning Commission. I am quite proud of many outcomes that related to enhanced minority representation. Questioning the percentage of “DEI spend” on dozens of projects became commonplace during my tenure. Some suggested the DEI questions were “beyond the purview” of our role. Eventually, developers were less concerned about our purview, and came prepared for the question(s). Fortunately, their answers were often quite positive with regard to enhanced DEI spend in the City of Cincinnati. A positive example relates to the FC Cincinnati stadium development process. We hosted multiple meetings to ensure minority residents were properly heard during the FC Cincinnati move to the West End. Byron Stallworth (now Chair) and I specifically responded to invitations by residents, and many elements of our conversations, were adopted into the eventual Community Benefits Agreement. FC Cincinnati has been a great success for our region. We are proud of many successful outcomes for residents of the West End as well.
When I learned about this data, it made me feel sad. We have worked to address this issue on Council over the last two years by enacting the recommendations from the DEI Task Force, including a yearly review of progress developed by the City Manager. We will do this review yearly, and make improvements based on what we learn. Our goal is to make Wyoming an inclusive, welcoming community where everyone feels they belong.
I believe all ideas and perspectives from the community should be given equal consideration. The City needs to communicate with its residents to understand why less than 35% of minorities feel their perspectives were valued. If elected, I will support the City’s efforts to outreach to the community. I will listen to everyone and I will try to find a solution with the residents and the City. It is important to build trust to ensure open communication and proactive solution seeking.
It would be helpful to understand this statistic with more context. I wonder how many respondents there were, and I wonder how representative the respondents are to the city population itself. Even without this additional information, the stat is disconcerting. It just with it were a more actionable data point.
I can identify many ways in which I might consider myself under-represented and at times undervalued or not treated with the proper respect. I am a woman and an African-American. I am not a legacy resident. I did not attend Wyoming schools (though my daughter does). I am a single parent while at the same time being a corporate executive. All of these perspectives, along with many others make me eager to entertain differing perspectives, and to have everyone feel valued and respected while living or visiting Wyoming.
I will consistently say: Meaningful change always begins with awareness and education.
think, should I say anything, and if I do, will it matter? As a proud Filipina-American, I’ve always had to speak up and advocate for myself and my family. I’ve learned that you do need to be brave to share your perspective and be vulnerable. If re-elected as a member of Wyoming City Council, I would work collaboratively with the other members of City Council to advocate for fellow minority residents. One way to do this is to continue to tap a variety of representatives to serve on city committees and commissions. I believe with a wider representation of residents on these various committees and commissions, more people, not just minorities will feel valued and included in our Wyoming Community. Diversity of thought and people can equate to innovation and opportunity.
Being heard is the most important step in being valued. If elected, I will ensure we are regularly soliciting feedback – both formally through feedback sessions and informally to ensure all perspectives are represented during the decision-making process. An important step from gathering feedback is closing the feedback loop, especially when decisions are made that are contrary to some perspectives shared. This ensures we are partnering together in understanding all facets of decision making. I will ensure the work of the DEI task force continues and is implemented/acted upon. Those initiatives are key to making change in our community.
The most important thing we can do is seek to understand through listening and discussion. I am always eager to hear from Wyoming residents about what can be done for Wyoming. I listen to hear what can bring people here and what needs to improve.