I believe that the following citywide priority realignment is needed to move Hartford forward.
I believe that the following citywide priority realignment is needed to move Hartford forward.
Education and youth development: two incredibly important elements of Hartford’s future. I strongly believe that education has the power to transform lives and break the cycle of poverty. As someone who grew up in the public-school system and experienced firsthand the benefits of an engaged learning environment, I know that we have the potential to create highly effective schools. Unfortunately, we are lacking the necessary leadership and connections to make this a reality. But I have faith in our community and believe that with the right resources and support, every child in our city will have access to the education they deserve.
Appoint City Department Heads– to also serve on the Board of Education – to embed collaboration and bust silos. Schools and the communities within which they reside are inextricably linked. City planning and our schools are siloed even though they have shared visions and goals. Planning for the city and planning for the schools must be addressed in a wholistic way.
The directors of the following departments are my current choices
Appoint an Education Chief – to execute on an education agenda for the city by forming strategic public -private sector partnerships and fostering coordination between youth serving organizations. Be the connector across all facets of education, youth development programs, parents, residents, business and community leader involvement.
Expand Support to Teachers – Our current system is leaving everyone frustrated and burned out. Let’s start a new conversation by working with our unions. When you signed up to teach you – you didn’t sign up for this – you expected a lot more support. You can’t extinguish a five-alarm blaze with a fire extinguisher. I’ll work with teachers and with the administration and with the private sector to rally the resources needed so that we can let teachers focus on the thing they love to do the most.
Promote Full Implementation of Student Success Plans – Planning to graduate is not enough. Our students must graduate with a plan and that plan must be created with the help of as many caring adults from the residential and private sector as possible.
Call for Dream Directors in Every School – Exposure and aspiration are the key – Dream Directors are Youth Development Experts who will spark the curiosity, purpose and imagination to uncover our student’s limitless potential. They train students to become leaders to engage their peers and shift the culture of the school.
Address Remediation – Our kids are behind, and we must provide additional supports to catch them up – as a community we must come together and summon an army of academic resources to wrap around our kids.
Youth Development as a City Priority – Developing our young people is not a school issue alone, these are issues for the community. They are citizens of the city, they are with us before school, after school, nights and weekends and all summer. We are largely overlooking the insights and potential of our cities’ most important constituents – our future leaders. We can create civically engaged adults starting now by inviting young people to the urban planning and policy making table.
Kick Start School Governance Councils – Fully support functioning SGCs in every school as a primary means of engaging community and parent involvement..
Effective communication is key to driving change and progress in our communities. I see communication as a critical factor in building trust with the community and bringing everyone along in our efforts for growth. With so much information bombarding us in this digital age, the city of Hartford needs to be committed to being a reliable source of information for their constituents. My goal is to make city news and updates easily understandable and openly accessible to all, so that everyone can be a partner in the work together.
Establish Systems that Support Open and Consistent Communications – Institute stronger systems that raise the level of importance for communications between all city departments, making way for more coordination and consistency of services. Connecting with neighboring municipalities, as well as with state and federal government entities will be prioritized.
Advance a Culture of Open and Honest Communications – weekly Live broadcast – Open Forum Q&A with the Mayor.
Utilize Deeper Community Pathways and Partners – To inform the community of key initiatives and issues, utilize various methods for disseminating information using neighborhood newspapers, public access TV (channel 95 & 96), radio (WQTQ), YouTube, social media, text messaging, and emails.
Strong Focus on Public Relations and Marketing – Lack of community engagement and awareness causes resources and assets to go unutilized or underutilized. The city website will be well designed with to the minute updates on city proceedings, community events, resources and timely information residents need such as parking bans, road closures etc.
There's a lot of good work happening to improve the health and well-being of residents in different areas of the community, from housing to education to business development. But unfortunately, these efforts are often disconnected and measured in different ways, which means it's hard to really see their impact. When we don't talk to each other and work together, it's tough to figure out what areas need attention most urgently and where we can build on existing successes. I believe in taking a proactive and purpose-driven approach to city-wide collaboration across sectors – education, philanthropy, corporate, small business, and community. Let's start connecting the dots and working toward a shared vision of a strong and thriving city!
No single institution can fix Hartford alone. When unified around a common goal, once-isolated initiatives become collaborative powerhouses.
Bring Together the Different Community and Organizational Stakeholders – to ensure we are communicating and working in partnership on a realistic and integrated picture of a healthy Hartford. Build a culture that encourages everyone to speak openly about creating new initiatives, sharing resources, or even combining different organizations’ initiatives without fear of negative repercussions.
Our sense of collective community safety has been broken in Hartford. Gun violence, reckless driving, and break-ins are harming families and neighborhoods. Previous attempts or noninvestment have been recycled and repeated. It’s time for a new direction.
A new direction looks like investing in our youth, mental health services, and victim support. Advancing initiatives to become a trauma informed city focusing on innovative community-based strategies around violence intervention and prevention.
By stabilizing neighborhoods, investing in quality, affordable housing options, and empowering residents to lead the change in their own communities, we can advance community development across Hartford.
Coordinate a citywide Public Safety Roundtable initiative.
Promote, Recruit, Hire and Retain – Police, Fire, and other City Staff from within the city – If career development is a key factor in retention, then the city must focus on developing our staff in order to increase our retention rates. The costs to the city are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in loss of productivity around the resignation, rehiring and retraining processes.
Without a quality recruitment and retention program, hiring new employees becomes a never-ending cycle of wasted time and money.
Support the Civilian Police Review Board – Which acts to review investigations of citizen complaints against police conduct and to make recommendations to the chief of police in connection therewith. I will establish a Civilian Academy and allow the CPRB to do their job unhindered.
Leverage traditional and grant public safety dollars to support holistic approaches to safety.
Invest in organizations and programs that identify, train and deploy non-traditional leaders from within the community to serve as outreach workers to increase access and awareness to healing and recovery services for victims/survivors of violence through direct services, advocacy and public educational forums.
Establish Reckless Driving and ATV Task-force – In recent years more people have died as a result of vehicular homicides than criminal homicides in Hartford. This is an unacceptable trend that requires a focused resolution.
Re-Establish Neighborhood Block Watches/Love your Block Initiatives- neighborhood Block Watch programs empowers residents to become active in community efforts through participation in Neighborhood Watch groups, community care and beautification efforts.
In today’s ever-changing global economy, it’s essential that local economies adapt and grow to remain competitive. Residents, policy makers, and business owners in our community all have a role to play in driving innovation within our city as we work together towards sustainable economic growth. From expanding existing industries to developing new ones completely, by encouraging new ideas and embracing technological advances, we can strengthen our local businesses while also creating an attractive destination for outside investment. It’s essential that we take the initiative to innovate solutions that will help drive progress within our local economy.
Focusing on solutions that level the playing field and work toward economic justice in cities when it comes to jobs, small business, healthy food access, public spending and space for economic use we can reimagine economic growth drivers that drive community development as well.
Strengthen the Neighborhood Revitalization Zones – I see these as critical to the success of community development in the city of Hartford. I believe that the NRZs have been kept on life support to be used as tools to hinder growth versus helping to stimulate growth. I will take them off of life support and use this well-established vehicle by empowering the NRZs with staff so that they can function much like city commissions.
Smart Small Business Growth – Build a business-friendly climate at City Hall that centers the needs and wants of those who live and raise families in Hartford.
A Comprehensive Plan to Strengthen Skill Sets – Our residents should be at the top of the list when it comes to opportunities in Hartford as it relates to the construction trades. This can be done by working with the Minority Construction Council and other similar organizations.
Build New "Do Business with the City" Initiative - procure goods and services from local companies, especially those that have historically been disadvantaged.
Invest in Outreach and Partnership - connect with leading companies inviting them to invest in Hartford, and to partner with our schools to invest in our workforce and create a stronger pool of talent for the future.
Hartford is in the grips of a persistent silent crisis of adult low literacy. For several sometimes- overlapping reasons 63 % of adults in Hartford have not gained strong literacy skills. Individuals struggling with low literacy face stigma and shame, difficulty navigating signage on city streets, following medical instructions, reading a job application or a ballot. That may leave them unable to find and keep a living wage job, open to scams and unequal access to opportunities.
Recognizing the crucial role of literacy in empowering individuals, promoting socioeconomic development, and fostering a thriving community, I’m outlining my commitment to increasing community-based adult literacy services in Hartford through a citywide literacy plan to ensure every individual facing this crisis has the means to acquire and improve their literacy skills.
Emphasize Cross Sector Collaboration - We recognize that addressing adult literacy requires a collective effort involving various stakeholders. We will prioritize cross sector collaboration by engaging government agencies, educational institutions, community organizations, businesses, and other relevant entities to create a network of support for adult literacy initiatives. This collaboration will enable the pooling of resources, expertise, and diverse perspectives to develop innovative solutions and implement effective literacy programs.
Stimulate new and expand existing programs – Leverage federal, state and city funding, and private sector dollars to grow initiatives. These ideas include but are not limited to:
Enlist Public Awareness and Action Campaigns - Creating a culture of literacy requires reducing the stigma of illiteracy, raising public awareness about the importance of adult literacy and its benefits for individuals, families, and communities. We will work with partners to design and implement targeted public awareness campaigns to mobilize support and engage the broader community. By leveraging the power of media, we can reach a wider audience and encourage
public discourse on the importance of adult literacy.
Launch the Mayor McCauley bilingual city challenge – Hartford is predominantly a Hispanic and Latino city. While we place great emphasis on literacy initiatives to assist individuals in learning English and enhancing their literacy skills, we also recognize the importance of native English speakers learning Spanish. Being fluent in multiple languages should be the standard in a city that embraces people from around the world. As part of our commitment to this bilingual challenge, I pledge to become conversationally fluent in Spanish within the next four years. Furthermore, I will commit resources and support for other native English speakers who want to embark on this language journey with me. Our goal is to establish Hartford as a thriving dual language city, an international city. Let's make Hartford a shining example of linguistic diversity and cultural unity.