Release from Karen hiller
Karen Hiller issued the following statement in announcing today that she is running for reelection to the Topeka City Council.
“Today I announce that I am running for reelection to the City Council from my own neighborhood in Topeka because strong neighborhoods are so important to what makes this city great.
“It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve my neighbors and fellow citizens of Topeka for the past four years. I have worked hard every day to make this city stronger by working effectively with others. Others include fellow council members, city business and government leaders and most important the people that I represent.
“My priorities for these four years have been reducing crime in our neighborhoods, attracting new jobs for our city, addressing the neglected conditions of our streets, water lines and sewers, and improving the performance and atmosphere of city council. I am proud to report improvement in all four areas. I promise, if I am reelected, to work just as hard to build on the progress we have already made.
“Fighting Crime – The tragedy of December 16 when our city lost two fine police officers cannot be ignored, and everything must be done to see that it never happens again. But let’s not ignore that progress is being made in fighting crime. The Police Department reports that Property Crime and Violent crime together are actually 9% lower than a year ago, which they credit to the community getting more involved in protecting themselves and their property. That is good news, but we want to do better than that. I was proud to be part of the effort to put significant new dollars into our police budget this last summer. This will mean more police on the streets, more patrol cars in our neighborhoods, better training for our force, and better equipment for our officers.
“I have also strongly supported the city’s investment in helping neighborhoods organize themselves and work better with the police to reduce crime in their areas.
“These are real steps to a safer Topeka.
“Creating Jobs - I have strongly supported the Neighborhood Revitalization Program that provides tax breaks for small businesses to help them expand by building new buildings or expanding existing structures in special areas of our city.
“The Chamber of Commerce reports that we have held our own with jobs through this economic downturn. That is good news, but we want to do better. I have championed the partnerships that the city has created with private business and local schools to produce training programs for 21st century jobs - jobs like robotics - through Highland Park High School and Washburn Tech. These programs match the needs of our growing businesses and provide real opportunities for our youth.
“I am especially proud of the leadership role I have played in helping local businesses access programs from city, state and federal government that can help them grow. This past fall, not only were we able to assemble a list for the first time ever of all available programs and grants that local businesses could use to help them grow, but we also convened a forum of more than 70 businesses to help share that information with each other.
“Streets, water lines and sewers - Topeka is paying the price of having neglected too long to establish a long-term plan to upgrade or replace infrastructure that is many cases is more than 100 years old. Like my neighbors, I want to have pot holes filled today and have supported the funding to make that happen, but what the city really needs (and I support) is the creation of a master plan for maintenance and improvement of our water and sewer infrastructure and getting street repairs and improvements back into the annual city operating budget. I am optimistic we can get this done going forward.
“A City Council that is more effective, a new energy in our city - Citizens report that the Council improved immediately after our “class of 2009” was sworn in, and I have been proud to have been part of that change. It has created a more effective council and has provided our citizens with more informed decision-making, better communication, and transparency.
“There has also been a new energy in our city over the past four years that is invaluable in keeping our best and brightest from moving away and attracting new business. For instance, it was fun to support the Google project, and rewarding work to provide active support to downtown revitalization planning, the new NOTO art district, and our Bikeways plan.
“The next four years promise to be challenging, but I love what I do, and I am excited about where we are going. It has been an honor to serve. I look forward to another, even better, four years of service to our city.”