Hundreds of small businessess and thousands of working families in Salem have been hit hard by this pandemic. Whether it be losing a job or losing a loved one, we must find ways to support them so that Salem can bounce back. That means making it easier for small business to reopen and hire workers, which means we cannot bring back the city payroll tax. I was born and raised here in Salem. We have gotten through diffucult times before, and I know if we come together, we can do it again.

This the #1 challenge facing our community. These are people, and we must all have compassion. Every day, every one of us encounters a growing homeless problem. There are numerous commissions, non-profits, and city and county agencies who are trying to find new solutions, all working so hard to support our community, and they are doing great work. However, there is more work to be done to respond to this tragic human crisis in our community and state. Our downtown and business community is important. These are the same people serving on community boards, showing up to fundraising events, and supporting the organizations bridging the gap. We need to find ways to integrate these efforts in ways that will support housing, mental illness treatments, and job training programs.

If you have lived here for more than a few years, you know our city is growing. While this growth is bringing new people and new businesses, there are challenges this growth presents. Our city government has the immense responsibility of planning for this growth, and with an estimated 60,000 more people coming to Salem in the next 10-15 years, we need to make real changes. The decision to not move forward on the 3rd bridge was disappointing for our community and the surrounding communities. That decision impacts everyone, and must be addressed. We must be responsible stewards of our environment, while focusing on the priorities that we can control directly and will improve our city.

Small business and those who work in them are backbone of our community. The new payroll taxes and operating fees that the Council is looking at will increase the cost of living on Salem families and hurt those working in Salem by taking more from their paycheck. We should be doing everything we can to help working families achieve, not placing more taxes on them.