City Council Questionnaire
Only one third of respondents of all backgrounds feel that all residents are treated equally in Wyoming. If elected to City Council what would you do to ensure Wyoming is a community where all residents are respected and treated equally?
I support having a diversity and inclusion commission in the city that meets regularly to both promote D & I and to respond robustly to incidents such as when the Pride flag was burned last year. I also will continue to support people of color running for office in Wyoming. I asked three Black women to run for Council this past July and while I was unsuccessful this time, I will continue to ask these folks and would work hard to ensure that they got elected.
Throughout my career, I have worked to be a servant leader. My definition of servant leadership is a) listen to understand and gives others the benefit of the doubt, b) to be responsible to discover the strengths in others, and c) to be responsible to look for opportunities to enable others to achieve exciting outcomes. I will work hard to bring servant leadership to my relationships with other City Council members, City employees, and all of the Citizens of Wyoming.
Gathering insights from residents
It is important to understand the reasons of the perceived inequality of treatment. In that regard, communication and transparency are key and my focus would be to make sure the City implements and maintains a public consultation system that enables capturing and considering all perspectives. I would be the City Council member that is unbiased by political affiliation, treats people equally, and does not discriminate, while always seeking solutions to benefit everyone.
This is very important to me. All residents should be treated with respect and treated equally. I believe there are two parts to this answer. One is empowering residents to speak up when inequity is happening. Through effective Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Training for City Council, City of Wyoming employees, Commissions and Committees. This is an opportunity to examine processes, programs and services with the lens of DEI and residents in mind. For example, with the enhancement of our Village Green area, it would be a shame for us to have the space and residents feel like they did not belong in the space. DEI Training can help us expose blind spots and maximize innovation and opportunities. I believe that being treated equally has a strong correlation to the feeling of belonging in the community.
I believe the DEI Taskforce’s recommendations are the place to start. It’s the roadmap the city has needed. (It’s worth noting, I am the member who wrote a commitment to a taskforce into the city’s statement last summer; all members reviewed and approved the statement.)
Already, the city manager is working on improving employee recruitment to draw an applicant pool that better represents our community. That broadening of recruitment will also be a boon for the city, bringing us even more highly qualified applicants all around. I think the frameshift to rewarding staff for their DEI knowledge and practices is key to showing this is a work culture where inclusion is valued. I also love the idea of tweaking the city’s vision statement to make inclusion more obviously one of our core values and motivating philosophies.
Above all, I believe it will be crucial for the city to dig into this statistic and find out in what arenas residents feel this unfairness. Is it a matter of affordability? Traffic stops? General welcome by neighbors? Inclusion in community groups? All of the above?
There are soft ways a council member can influence community groups—making a call, inviting a pair of people to coffee, general bridge-building. But in a more formal way, we have the ability to request data for evaluation, which also happens to be at the heart of the Taskforce’s recommendations. Not to dwell too heavily there, but as the Taskforce was made up of a very diverse group of individuals, the community already has deeper buy-in there than other ideas, so I see we have an opportunity to systematically begin a process of data collection, improved diversity in city contracting, ensure training at all staff levels, create benchmarks for improvement based upon data, and overall, make DEI efforts another point of accomplishment for staff to strive toward. I’m also interested in reward systems/awards, whether that’s applying for outside recognition as staff make improvements or in-house encouragement as a way to make supporting diversity, equity and inclusion a point of community pride in much the same way we tout our AAA credit rating or our schools.