Written Questions submitted to the Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce as part of their Candidate Forum
1. What are your principal motivations for running for this office?
Running for office was not something I had considered until a few Newberg leaders I respect invited me to run due to my passion for affordable housing and supporting the city’s goals of fostering a culture of inclusivity and planning for long-term development. I care about seeking the welfare of our city, especially as I am raising my daughter here. Because Newberg is experiencing significant growth and cultural-political divisiveness, I believe my experience as a pastor guiding people through crisis, conflict, and change will be useful to our city in the coming years.
2. Interpersonal dynamics contribute to the success of the city council. How will you contribute to healthy interpersonal dynamics?
I find that important work, especially contentious work, is done best by people who trust one another, who believe each person at the table has common interests at heart, and respect one another even in disagreements. While co-workers don’t have to be friends, I believe in creating space for co-workers to learn each other’s hearts. We need opportunities, either as a group or in one-on-one conversations, to share what keeps us up at night, what breaks our heart, what change we hope to see in the world and why. If elected, it is my intention to meet with each councilor to better learn their stories, values, and passions and always practice the principles of the Civility Pledge so that our work for the city can be the best work we have within us. When cross-cultural dynamics are present, healthy interpersonal relationships require intentional learning to become competent communicators. I receive such trainings through my professional work and would be eager to participate in similar trainings with city council and staff.
3. When your term ends, if it was deemed successful, what would you have accomplished?
City Council action on the Housing Production Strategy, zoning laws, and building processes will result in more affordable apartments and modest homes, especially near public transit with walkable neighborhoods, with realistic solutions available for those needing emergency temporary shelter. The city would have composting services to turn organic waste into a valuable resource and incentives will be in place for homeowners and business owners to renovate and build with environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient designs. Newberg tourism will thrive and workers will have access to good-paying jobs without long commutes.
4. Describe a time in which your thinking about an important public issue has changed because of your interaction with someone who disagreed with you.
My husband significantly reshaped the way I think about gun safety. I grew up fairly sheltered from gun culture and would have supported just about any gun reform legislation that used the phrases “military style” or “assault weapon.” My husband grew up in a hunting family, and as a Marine veteran, he was highly trained in weapon safety. We both supported safety but we disagreed about what gun regulation should look like and what kinds of weapons should be reserved for military only. The day I had my ah-ha moment was when he took a wood stock hunting rifle and swapped the stock of the gun for a black tactical stock and added a scope. All of a sudden that gun looked much scarier because of associations I had learned through entertainment media…and yet the function of the gun had not changed one bit. It was still a hunting rifle meant to shoot squirrels and rabbits for dinner. It made me realize that in order to talk about gun safety regulation, I needed to have a better understanding of the specific features involved and not base policy choices merely on assumptions, ambiguous phrases, or broad categorizations. Now, I don’t speak of “assault weapons” because definitions and connotations vary widely. Instead, I speak about magazine capacity, bump stocks, bullet types, etc. Do my husband and I agree on everything today? Nope. But we have more fruitful conversations and find more common ground when we get specific about the details. As a city councilor, before making policy decisions, I will ensure that I am well-informed and that the conversation gets specific to ensure we are at least discussing the same thing and not just talking past each other with misunderstandings.
5. How can the City Council support leadership and staff in maintaining a positive, productive, and transparent operational culture?
In my own supervision of staff, I like to ask employees how they best receive gratitude—do they feel appreciated through words of affirmation, through having good access to me and my time, etc.? City Council can foster appreciation for staff and city leaders through public recognition of tasks done well, through careful attention to the reports prepared by staff, etc. Council can encourage productivity by being clear about expectations and timelines, with inquiries into what the staff need in order to fulfill those expectations. Transparency can be cultivated through improving the navigation of the city website to highlight major ongoing projects and recent actions of the Council, with a more intuitive design, so residents can easily access the many resources staff have already prepared.
Questions submitted to the News-Register
Describe your reasons for running. Some Newberg leaders asked me to run because they’ve seen my administrative skills, good questions during projects, and ability to communicate respectfully about divisive topics without compromising core values. As a pastor, I have experience leading people through crisis, conflict, and change, and that’s a skill set Newberg needs right now.
Briefly, but specifically, cite any personal background and involvement you have that would help you serve if elected? I have experience working on finances, facilities, staff-relations, and disaster response at multiple churches. I competed in persuasive speaking, policy debate, and student congress. I minored in International Studies and take annual intercultural competency trainings. I have lived in cities of many sizes, from 300 to 250,000.
What are the top three issues facing your jurisdiction, and briefly state your approach or
solution. The affordable housing crisis is hurting the working class and those who are housing-insecure. Cities need to restrict the housing stock allowed for short-term rentals; allow higher density in select areas; promote construction of modest-sized housing; and support realistic solutions for people who need temporary shelter. Sustainability requires greater environmental care. I am eager to resurrect a conversation about a city composting program and create incentives for energy-efficient designs in new builds and renovations. Our community needs to resist the division that partisanship and algorithms feed us. We need to learn to be neighbors again and have respectful conversations with disagreement and debate, not hostility or name-calling. I am committed to following the Newberg/Dundee Civility Pledge and will encourage others to do so too.
Listening and connecting with constituents is a commonly-stated goal but how would you go about it? I will take notes on public comments so I can connect with individuals after council meetings if needed; make myself available for one-on-one conversations; visit community organizations’ meetings; and be accessible online through email and social media.
How have you prepared for the possibility you will be elected, and make a difference once you’d take office? I’ve been observing city council meetings via Zoom, reading the council’s presentation slides, and talking with former city councilors. I can make a difference by representing two under-represented demographics of Newberg residents: those who are new to the city, and those who are renters. I’ve heard people lament the changes that come with population growth. As a councilor, I will advocate for the people who live here today and those who will live here tomorrow, while holding onto the history and charm that make people fall in love with Newberg.
How has public service changed in the past three years? The general sentient I hear about public service nationwide is that too many are just serving themselves nowadays. Service is sacrifice, always. It requires humility, vulnerability, and truth. If our leaders lead out of genuine love and concern for the people, our solutions will be more effective and our cities will be healthier.
This election features four races of incumbent vs challengers. Does Newberg’s council need stability, fresh ideas or a mix of both and why? I ascribe to the 1/3 new, 2/3 veterans rule. This allows for a good mix of maintaining institutional knowledge and injecting new voices. The Newberg City Council, however, is not in a position to have that mix. Two of the incumbents are still very new—they were only appointed to fill council vacancies in 2022. No matter what the election results are, our council will be heavily weighted toward newer voices. This election is an opportunity for the community to choose which new voices will represent them, not whether there will be new voices.