Meet the Candidates: Randy Kelly, South Bend Common Council District 3
I am running for office because I see a need for representation that:
- focuses on 3rd district concerns
- supports the city administration in a more responsible way
- brings respectful debate and thoughtful dialogue back to the city council
My priorities include public safety. Budgets for police and fire have only recently grown back to 2008 levels and that obviously limits those departments’ ability to add positions and state of the art equipment. While, commendably, there was less crime overall from 2013 to 2014, there were increases in some areas. Our city must be perceived as safe or any attempts to grow business and population will fall flat.
Another top priority is always economic growth and should be pursued with an integrated view of prosperity. This includes ensuring jobs in our community support a livable wage, making our city safe for all its residents, looking beyond traditional economic measures to include the importance of quality of place and the development of people’s creative potential, support of the arts to enhance quality of life and a conscientious effort to promote the fact that we are welcoming of all people.
With regard to business development and growth, an effort must be made toward eliminating barriers to entry, both perceived and real. For example, providing fast track permitting for established companies new to the area, or growing companies already here, is an incentive that will give the impression South Bend is open for business.
Another priority has to be training and retaining skilled workers to fill the jobs in the high tech industries we have and hope to attract. We could take a page from the Kansas City program known as “Reboot U,” which will use funds from public-private partnerships and grant money to help train and find people work in the information technology field.
Due in large part to an aging population, the overarching goal must be to increase the tax base by providing an environment which promotes business growth and that attracts and retains young talent. I go back to the notion that we must have a plan which takes an integrated view of how to do that, one that emphasizes quality of place and the development of young people’s talents as a means to business development.
For the most part, if I am elected a district Common Council representative, it would be my job to be a voice for residents of the 3rd District. While we are all interested in the prosperity of our city and its people, different neighborhoods have diverse and distinct needs. It’s the district representative’s job to get to know those needs through the people living and working in the neighborhoods and to be an advocate for them.
Meet the Candidates is a series introducing candidates in their own words. Articles are posted verbatim. South Bend Voice will publish articles for all South Bend office seekers who are on the May 5th primary ballot.