Portsmouth is blessed with many beautiful, historic and diverse neighborhoods. The citizens of all neighborhoods want the same things. They want to feel safe in their homes, neighborhoods, workplaces and schools. In fact without the security of safety, nothing else can get accomplished. Our professional public safety departments (fire, rescue and police) have the awesome task of protecting and serving. But they need our help.
Police, fire and rescue departments need dedicated, well trained public safety professionals with the most up-to-date equipment available. It is up to our city leaders to provide these departments with just that. We must recruit and retain the finest professionals to ensure that services will be available when we need them. This means competitive salaries and benefits, a retirement and health care plan that will be there when our public safety officers need them. It means making sure that the police and fire departments have the equipment they need to do their job. It means that our budget must reflect these priorities, even if it means cutting other areas. Public safety must be a high priority.
But public safety is also dependent on establishing trust between communities and the police and fire departments. This means we must support efforts at community outreach by our police and fire departments. City leaders must also develop relationships with public safety professionals at all levels.
When elected, I commit to working on behalf of our neighborhoods and our police, fire and rescue departments to make Portsmouth a safe place to live work and play. Public safety is one of the three pillars of a vibrant city and I will work tirelessly to ensure Public Safety remains a priority.
Portsmouth children deserve the best education in order to prepare them for a successful future. Families considering a move to Portsmouth look first at the quality of our schools. Businesses need a workforce, trained and ready for the jobs that a thriving economy will offer. For all of these reasons, we need to focus on our schools system.
While the School Board has the primary responsibility for planning and oversight of our schools, a wise City Council is informed and ready to work with the School Board to make certain that our children are receiving the best education we can give them. Currently, only 11 of our 19 schools are fully accredited. We must continue our progress towards full accreditation of ALL of our schools, so that ALL of our children have the opportunity to have the brightest future possible. We must encourage a greater focus on workforce development to enhance economic opportunities and god paying jobs right here in Portsmouth. Finally, we must recruit and retain the finest teachers. We cannot afford to lose our teachers to other districts with better pay, benefits and working conditions. Council has the responsibility to fund our schools. But we also have the moral obligation to give our children the very best. This does not necessarily mean more money spent. What it does mean is focusing on priorities and eliminating waste. It means good planning and constant oversight.
When our children receive the best education, our workforce is enhanced, our economy is strengthened, and our community will grow. As your City Council member, I am committed to working with our School Board to provide for a Portsmouth that is well education and ready to take their place as productive residents.