Vanessa helped deliver over 150 meals to low-income seniors during the pandemic
"My priority will be to apply decades of local community service experience to the important work that Council does. I will use my professional skills as a lawyer to carefully review and critically analyze the issues, to listen empathetically, and to ask tough questions. I will follow the same basic philosophy that I learned years ago: if you see a need, and you have the means, just do it."
MY TOP PRIORITIES
Coronavirus Health Crisis
Here is what I have done as a Salem City Councilor and as a concerned citizen to address the crisis:
Voted to withdraw the payroll tax from the ballot in light of COVID-19. With our community hurting financially, now is not the time for a payroll tax.
Delivered Meals on Wheels to over 150 homebound seniors.
Wrote to state and federal legislators to demand financial support for workers, businesses and non-profits impacted by COVID-19.
Shared information through social media regarding small business loans, unemployment benefits, Cherriots bus service, mortgage reduction/suspension, non-profit organization volunteer needs, and other resources.
Here is what I have done as a Salem City Councilor to address our homelessness crisis in Salem and here is what I plan to do in the future:
Voted to relocate downtown homeless persons to camping areas in West and East Salem, clearing downtown sidewalks.
Voted to increase access to shelters and provide camping supplies and services for homeless persons.
Lobbied state legislators for funding to provide a Navigation Center and a 24/7 low barrier warming center in Salem.
Voted for a sit-lie ordinance that is conditioned on access to appropriate shelter and bathrooms.
Met with seven homeless services providers, homeless persons and advocates, the Salem Police Chief, the Salem Fire Chief, paramedics and other first responders to educate myself on the problem and potential solutions.
Now working with United Way to build tiny homes for low income seniors
Now working with Salem Family YMCA to build affordable housing for homeless veterans.
Next Steps for Homelessness
Affordable housing to reduce and prevent homelessness.
Navigation center for unsheltered persons to find shelter and get connected to services.
Support for food banks, senior centers, and domestic violence service providers to prevent homelessness.
Mental health services from community, county and state partners to help stabilize persons with mental illness.
Sobering center to allow people detoxify safely.
A Better Future for All of Us
Salem is expected to grow by another 60,000 people by 2035. The decisions we make today will shape what Salem looks like for generations to come. As your Councilor, I’m committed to finding win-win solutions that allow growth while improving livability and neighborhood amenities.
When we include the public, we gain trust. When we exclude the public, we lose trust.
I voted to remove a payroll tax from the May 2020 ballot. I voted against passing a payroll tax without taking it to the voters in July 2022.
I have years of experience overseeing the City’s multimillion dollar budget as a member of the City’s Citizen Budget Committee. In fact, Republican and Democrat committee members unanimously voted me to become Vice-Chair of the Citizen Budget Committee. Council passed my motion to bring a performance audit of the police department with the goals of increasing government efficiency, accountability and oversight. I will work hard to ensure the best bang for taxpayer buck.
Recent shootings highlight the need for enough public safety officers to serve our growing population and keep families safe. As Salem continues to grow, we must ensure adequate emergency response time by Salem’s first responders in order to save lives.
Salem kids are experiencing a mental health crisis, as evidenced by the heartbreaking number of teen suicides across Salem. Connection and engagement with kid-friendly City programming can counteract feelings of isolation and alienation.
Protect our Trees and Green Spaces
The City is growing, but we can’t let that happen at the expense of our parks, trees, and open spaces. As your Councilor, I will work to make sure we don’t trade away ward 7’s expansive tree canopy and open spaces as we respond to needs of a growing city.
Several cities already have a Climate Action Plan, and it’s high time we join them. We can and we should seek buy-in and participation from our community. We can and we should incentivize renewable energy, green spaces, tree canopy, bicycling, public transit and walkable neighborhoods.