- COVID Responsiveness
- Economy and Development
- Diversity and Equity
- City Management and Reorganization
- Police and Public Safety
- Transportation and Infrastructure
The COVID-19 pandemic hit individuals, families and businesses hard. As Mayor, I made tough decisions to keep Norwalkers safe and healthy. We took steps and hosted conversations to determine appropriate next steps. Testing sites were made accessible to contact trace and try to keep the virus under control. Vaccine sites and walk-up clinics are added weekly to ensure every person has free access to the COVID-19 vaccines. We’ve made a lot of progress, but still have a long way to go on the path to recovery. Here’s what we did to keep Norwalk safe and healthy:
- Declared a civil preparedness emergency in Norwalk due to COVID-19
- Dedicated public safety and health staff to respond to complaints and violations of public health guidelines
- Ordered all businesses to be at no more than 50% capacity
- Made the decision that businesses should be visited by only one member per family (as appropriate)
- Limited non-resident access to beaches and parks
Economy and Development
My top priority remains supporting jobs, expanding our tax base and business growth in Norwalk. Our small businesses have struggled more than ever over the last year during the pandemic, and I will continue to work with them to ensure they get back on their feet. I will also continue working with women and minority-owned businesses in Norwalk to help them gain access to capital. My additional areas of focus include:
- Continuing to work with businesses big and small impacted by COVID to ensure they have the funding and support they need to recover and continue business.
- Holding taxes flat as our community recovers from the economic impact of the pandemic
- Continuing to grow the grand list every year
- Reducing the poverty rate and reducing economic inequities.
- Expanding and advocating for workforce development opportunities to help individuals who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 gain new employment.
- Retaining and recruiting businesses to Norwalk.
- Marketing Norwalk as an attractive place to live and start a business.
- Investing in smart development in our urban core and near the train stations.
- Increasing employees, customers and shifting tax base off single-family homes.
- Focusing on Wall Street and Beldon Avenue improvements.
As Mayor, I work closely with the Superintendent, the Board of Education, School Administrators, parents, teachers and students to help every student get the best education possible in Norwalk. I am proud to say Norwalk schools are some of the best in our state and we must keep them that way. Our schools have suffered tremendously during the pandemic and I’m committed to continuing to help our schools and children recover and will:
- Help our schools recover COVID-19 and support students, teachers and staff with additional resources needed to get back on track.
- Expand early childhood education to guarantee universal early childhood education for all students in Norwalk.
- Expand affordable child care options for all families in Norwalk.
- Continue to work with state and federal partners to secure essential funding to support Norwalk schools.
- Provide more mental health support for our students, and work with the state to expand social and emotional learning curriculum across all of our schools.
As a coastal community, we must commit to prioritizing sustainable solutions that protect our environment. I am proud of our public spaces, like Veteran’s Park and Cranbury Park, and will continue to support the Long Island Sound Blue Plan to protect our precious water sources and wild spaces for future generations to enjoy. My priorities include:
- Expanding and promoting city-hosted clean-up days for our beaches and parks.
- Protecting our parks and wild spaces.
- Advocating for clean policies to protect the Long Island Sound.
- Working with state and federal partners for environmental grants for Norwalk.
- Focusing on implementing environmentally friendly and economically sustainable policies across our city.
- Supporting carbon-neutral policies, adding more electric vehicles to our roads and helping Norwalk transition to more renewable energy sources.
- Addressing environmental injustices that contribute to poor health outcomes.
- Transitioning the City fleet to hybrid/electric vehicles
- Investing in tree planting and increasing our tree canopy
Diversity and Equity
As Mayor and a member of the Norwalk community, I want to make sure we do everything we can to eradicate the inequities and injustices in our community. Addressing inequities and injustices in areas such as housing, employment, education and healthcare are important to me. To work on equity in Norwalk, here are some things I’ve been doing as Mayor:
- Established the Equity and Justice Commission, a permanent standing committee in the city to constantly evaluate situations and equity and injustices
- Attended and hosted listening sessions with groups and members of the communities focused on how to address injustices and inequities in Norwalk
- Committed to diverse recruitment for boards and commissions
The Equity and Justice Commission will:
- Develop a network of local leaders and community members dedicated to education, dialogue and actions surrounding race and ethnicity that will affect change and create safe and inclusive neighborhoods.
- Play a key leadership role in facilitating and community conversations to gather insights and experiences from our community.
- Build awareness, solutions and direction for racial justice and equity by generating transformative ideas, information and practices.
- Review the “Commit to Action” pledge by the Obama Foundation/My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Rilling signed, which requires those who sign to: review police use of force policies, engage communities on their experiences with law enforcement, report the findings from the community and reform police’s use of force policies based on findings.
- Propose a “Commit to Action” resolution from the Mayor and Common Council
- Explore and engage nonprofits to assist and partner with
City Management and Reorganization
As Mayor, I have worked diligently to keep taxes and spending under control. Norwalk has one of the lowest mill rates in Connecticut and as a result, the city has strong cash reserves and superb credit ratings. Under my leadership, Norwalk has:
- The highest possible rating from all three rating agencies (AAA)
- Come under budget every year with conservative and strategic spending
- Expanded savings in unanticipated additional revenue
- Kept the mill rate low
- Investing in essential city services to assist Norwalk residents
- Made historic investments in our infrastructure and schools
We have also reorganized City Hall to be more effective and transparent by:
- Creating Dashboard, a data-driven decision making and transparency to allow residents to see where the city doing is well and where we can improve
- Creating the community services department
- Initiating the business development and tourism department to focus on recruiting, retaining and supporting local businesses and attracting visitors to Norwalk
- Improving traffic flow, sidewalks and biking areas
- Revamping the permit process to make it more user-friendly and efficient
- Realigning the Departments of Public Works and Parks to improve efficiency and have a greater emphasis on recreation and sustainability
Police and Public Safety
Crime is down in every neighborhood. Norwalk is a safe city where people and families want to live. Serious crimes are at a historic low down by over 1000 incidents per year and 911 response times have been improved by more than 40% (from 6 minutes to 3.5 minutes).
Transportation and Infrastructure
Investing in our infrastructure and transportation are a top priority for Norwalk residents and a top priority for me. I have fought for additional funding for our roads, transit systems and schools, and will continue to be a strong advocate for our city. As Mayor I have:
- Negotiated $40 million upgrades to the Maritime Aquarium
- Authorized $5 million in improvements to Lockwood Mathews
- Initiated and funding a new visitors dock
- Completed the harbor loop trail and new waterfront park projects
- Coordinated on business mitigation, wayfinding and beautification of construction areas
I will also continue to:
- Work with the Norwalk delegation, state leaders and the federal delegation to secure state and federal funding to improve our schools, enhance our transportation infrastructure and continue to fix our roads and bridges.