On my first day as your city councilmember, I plan to initiate the proper procedures for a comprehensive review of our city’s budget. We have a responsibility to ensure that our tax dollars are spent with our community in mind—not with the intent of lining the pockets of a select few, or increasing a faraway company’s bottom line. Wherever I find city spending that raises questions, I plan to find the answers that we are entitled to. Any time an expenditure is part of the agenda, I will ask the questions necessary to make sure we are looking at the most financially responsible options available to us.
We have a duty to every single person living in our beautiful town that requires us to actually listen to their social concerns and address them however we are able. It should not be a hard thing to denounce bigotry or hate directed at any of our neighbors—yet our city council has historically been silent on the topics of social concerns. I want to change that. We deserve a place where every one of us feels welcome, safe, and valued as residents, business owners, and neighbors. Anything less is not enough.
HERITAGE & GROWTH
Recently a historic building in Solvang, the Veterans Hall (pictured here) came under threat by the City Council. Our representatives are responsible for preserving what makes Solvang special and making improvements to City infrastructure and properties, as needed, and ensuring that Solvang continues to prosper. We should be working together to find our way forward in the twenty-first century but we should never lose sight of the heritage that makes this place so special and unique. I want to see our community come together to ensure we continue to grow. It should not just be a select few assuming that they know best when it comes to the decisions that affect us all.
Over 1.5 million people visit our town every single year. Tourism is the life-blood of Solvang, and we should welcome anyone who wants to visit our home and fall in love with it like we all have. Solvang households would pay an average of $1,450 more in taxes every year if it were not for our sales tax and the Hotel Occupancy tax. More than half of our city’s general fund is derived from taxes derived from tourism. Once we return to normalcy, following the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than paying for a few high-profile managed-events that are largely out of touch with the spirit of Solvang, I believe we should focus on making this a place where people want to stay at any time during the week, all year long. Our local businesses and residents have great ideas on how to bring people to visit our town. Our government should be listening to them and maintaining the engine that drives our town.
At its core, Solvang embodies a Danish word: Hygge. It’s a unique word related to a uniquely Danish style of hospitality where you feel warm, cozy, welcome, and safe. I’ve traveled to 39 countries on five continents and the only place I’ve felt that sense of hospitality aside from Denmark is right here in Solvang. As a career security professional, safety is my primary concern. Bike and pedestrian safety, business security, traffic and preparation for natural disasters are important to me and never far from my thoughts. To that end, I will put my military and security background to good use in ensuring Solvang’s safety while respecting our town’s traditions and our residents’ privacy.