The news in Lynchburg is all too familiar these days. Countless shootings and violent crimes in the City of Lynchburg have left many feeling uneasy. You should be able to walk down the street or wait for public transit day or night without fear.
Crime is on the rise in the City of Lynchburg while our law enforcement agencies are understaffed and underfunded. Last year, Lynchburg's 911 call center was at a critical state of staffing, leaving some calls abandoned. Stephanie knows that it is imperative that City Council works with our law enforcement agencies and local leaders to develop a recruitment and retention plan that offers competitive wages so we can fill these positions as soon as possible. She also wants to work to give the Fire Department, Commonwealth's Attorney Office, and other local agencies the support they need through additional full-time staff members.
As a mom of four, Stephanie has a clear understanding of the problems facing Lynchburg's education system. After two long years of learning loss during COVID shutdowns, continued drops in enrollment, failing test scores, decreased graduation rates, and a lack of accountability from the Lynchburg School Board, Stephanie knows that it is going to take a lot of hard work to get our schools back on track. Children in Lynchburg deserve better than the current state of our city schools.
Stephanie believes that every child deserves a solid education regardless of where they live in the city. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and Stephanie wants to ensure that every child is reaching their maximum potential, whether that be in public school, private school, or homeschool. Parents know what is best for their children, and Stephanie believes that we need to put power back in the hands of parents when it comes to making decisions about the education of their children. Stephanie also believes that City officials need to initiate the proper steps and work with the regional state delegation to advance a charter change to allow for an elected Lynchburg City School Board.
Lynchburg is home to several of the best colleges and universities in the region. These students are the future leaders of Virginia and our community. Stephanie wants to ensure that City Council is working closely with our local schools to get students plugged into Lynchburg's one of a kind community.
With rising inflation, soaring prices at the pump, and higher grocery bills, citizens in Lynchburg are taxed enough as it is. Despite having a budget surplus this year, City Council decided to spend every last cent collected rather than provide tax relief for hard-working Lynchburg families. Stephanie opposes any new increases in sewage, water, and real estate taxes, and will work to roll back many of the recent increases in these tax burdens. Stephanie is going to work to cut burdensome taxes that are hurting families and small businesses across Lynchburg.
This year, an Old Dominion University report found that Lynchburg was lagging behind the rest of the state economically. Even before COVID-19 lockdowns, Lynchburg was struggling to produce a strong economic climate. As a business owner herself, Stephanie knows the burden that has been placed on small businesses in our City. She will be an advocate for our business community to ensure they have the resources they need to thrive.
Stephanie wants to make Lynchburg the best place to live, work, and start a business. She knows that in order to do so, we need to develop a business-friendly environment and attract a strong workforce.
Lynchburg is an incredible community with a rich history that is full of people of all walks of life. Fostering a strong community is incredibly important to Stephanie, and she wants to work to ensure that we have quality community investment. The revitalization of Main Street has breathed new life into the downtown area, and Stephanie wants to explore other growth and revitalization plans to provide wanted community and recreation areas. She also wants to work with state and local non-profits and faith organizations to promote community outreach programs.
Stephanie knows that community access to internet and library services is vital to many who do not have access to those materials at home. The extensive closure of the Downtown Lynchburg Library branch was detrimental to many in our community. Stephanie wants to work to ensure that our community needs are being heard and met.