1) Will you support public funding for the arts after you are elected?
My vision for St. Johns County encompasses a diverse range of goals, included are our county’s arts and culture.
We are facing some very troubling financial times as the result of the passing of Proposition 1 coupled with the present Board of County Commissioner’s failure to prepare for the decrease in state revenue for St. Johns County as a result of Proposition 1 passing.
For instance, lowering the millage rate from six to five, cutting Capital Improvements for Fire Services by $25 million while lowering the fire millage rate from 1.20 to 1.09 and also the cutting of $48.6 million in Capital Improvements designated for Transportation.
I believe that the most important role of government at all levels is Public Safety.
I do support public funding for the arts but believe we need to ensure we are sufficiently funding services such as public safety and transportation first.
Something that is very important to me and is on the top of my priority list is job creation and business development in St. Johns County. 40% of our workforce, or 30,000 St. Johns County residents leave the county daily to go to work. I believe that bringing more commercial growth into St. Johns will not only generate more tax revenue so we can afford to fund things such as the arts,
but additionally many business are very supportive of arts and cultures in the communities in which they operate.
In other words, the opportunity for additional business funding and sponsorships for arts also comes with successful and well planned commercial growth.
Arts and culture are fundamental elements in a well rounded and successful community. It is the obligation of our representatives to ensure that our history and culture are preserved and protected without sacrificing innovation and economic stability. I do not believe it should have to be either / or.
I would be proud to be a leader in working to better coordinate efforts between organizations such as the Board of County Commissioners, the Cultural Council, the School Board, the Tourism Development Council, the Economic Development Council, the Airport Authority and other organizations to help expand the role of arts and culture in our community.
2) Will you support the use of county bed tax revenues to promote local arts and culture activities to help grow the tourism and economy after you are elected?
Based on the information I have now I would not support increasing the bed tax, but its use for this purpose makes perfect sense. Making arts and culture in St. Johns County a priority is an essential element in attracting tourism and business.
3) Will you support funding and legislation that will enhance the county’s definition of recreation to include arts and culture as part of activities offered to our citizens?
This is of particular importance when discussing the development of our youth.
I am of the opinion that physical activity is one element of many that create well rounded and successful people. We should strive for our young people to be well cultured and well educated in many different areas.
I feel there is too little education as it relates to arts and culture. Studying art, whether visual arts, performing arts or learning and studying music and a specific instrument teach discipline, creativity, self confidence as well as many other attributes that are recipes for success.