- What are you top three areas of concern?
- Maintain and improve the overall quality of life in the Village that our residents deserve and are accustomed to experiencing.
- Ensure that sound fiscal oversight is exercised over all municipal spending in order to maintain a stable tax rate and keep Wellington affordable.
- Provide adequate resources to our public safety departments to make sure that our residents are safe and secure.
- How long have you lived in Wellington? Name an accomplishment that you’re proud of.
My family have been residents of Wellington since 2012. My biggest accomplishment after serving our country in the United States Air Force and becoming a proud father to my daughter was opening My Community Pharmacy with my wife Meroe in 2009. Our pharmacy has become a trusted resource within Wellington for medication, medical advice and goods and services that can’t be found anywhere else in the Village. It has also provided me the opportunity to develop wonderful friendships with many of our residents in the Village who utilize the pharmacy.
- How has the Village Council handled the pandemic and what improvements, if any, do you have in mind?
Overall the Village Council of Wellington has done a commendable job throughout the pandemic. I believe that setting up a Covid testing site at the swimming pool was good for the community. Working in a pharmacy I can’t over emphasize the value of testing. It is essential to stop the spread of the virus. If the rates of infection continue to rise I would suggest that the Village explore the feasibility of additional testing sites.
- How can the Village Council support local businesses, including the Mall at Wellington Green?
As a small business owner in the Village of Wellington and if elected to the Village Council, I will explore ways to streamline the business licensing process. Small businesses are the backbone of our community. We need to continuously find ways to not only advocate on their behalf but to also help them be successful because in the end our community will be successful. In my opinion, the Village Council should not even consider demolishing the Lake Wellington Professional Center which currently is home to numerous Wellington businesses. There has been a lot of discussion about this issue. It is extremely important prior to developing any plan for this building that the Village Council come up with a plan to help address the relocation of the numerous businesses that operate out of this building.
As far as Wellington Mall is concerned, the pandemic has shed light on the viability of shopping malls throughout the country. Malls are struggling to survive. It is essential that the Village Council work with the owner of the mall to develop a master plan for this site if at some point the mall will no longer exist so that this location can be the economic engine to our community that it once was.
- How can the Village of Wellington prioritize diversity?
America was born on diversity. Diversity of thought as well as culture. As a first generation American, whose mother emigrated from Vietnam before my birth and lived in a refugee camp, I understand the value of diversity. Wellington is fortunate enough to have an international resident base that I value immensely. The residents of Wellington can be assured that I will listen to everybody’s opinion and treat everyone with equality and respect they deserve.
- What safety issues are you concerned about in Wellington?
Wellington has one of the lowest crime rates and I have to commend the PBSO for keeping our community safe. The most significant issue that I consistently here complaints about is excessive speeding on our roadways. It is extremely important that enforcement measures be increased if possible. As many of our residents utilize our streets for jogging, walking and cycling it is important to keep them safe.
- Are you in favor of the proposed pool project, building two resort style pools (estimated as an over 12-million-dollar project)? Why or why not?
If elected I would not be in favor of the proposed pool project at this time. The reason I am against the proposed pool proposal is not because of the proposed use but rather due to the proposed increase in cost associated with the project. At a recent Council meeting the Town Manager asserted that the cost of the proposed project increased 287% from the quote received prior to the beginning of the pandemic. As the cost of materials continues to soar now is not the time to be initiating this project. The Village needs to be extremely mindful of its expenditures and any additional debt that the Village will incur. In the end, this expenditure will build additional debt service into the budget which will lead to future tax increases and make Wellington less affordable to its existing residents. In addition, labor is in short supply. Once you start a project like this you can’t just put it on hold. In today’s ever-changing environment we have to take these aspects into consideration before moving forward.
- What role should the Village Council play in supporting the equestrian side of Wellington?
I believe the Village should definitely continue support the equestrian side of our community. Their needs, however, have to be balanced against our community as a whole. Wellington realizes substantial revenue from the equestrian community on an annual basis. In addition, Wellington has become an international destination as a result of the equestrian community. It is essential that the Village maintain the open space that is necessary to support equestrian uses.
- What’s the best thing about living in Wellington, according to you?
The best thing about living in Wellington is that it is a small and extremely cohesive community where every person’s voice matters. Wellington provides its residents a strong sense of security along with the good schools and great amenities. I love the Village and can’t imagine living or owning a business anywhere else. I am running for Council in order to keep Wellington great!
- How can you help to address the issue of affordable housing, as rent and mortgage rates continue to rise?
At a Village level, as housing costs continue to appreciate, it is important that the Village Council scrutinize municipal finances wherever possible to enact lean budgets that keep our tax rate stable which in turn will help keep Wellington affordable for its residents. The affordability factor keeps increasing and it is incumbent upon all elected officials to minimize the impact of tax increases resulting from increases to the municipal budget. This is the most important thing we have control over to keep Wellington affordable.
In addition, the Village, should continue to explore the use of federal and state grants, such as community block grants and emergency home repair loans, in order to utilize state and federal funds to help assist those in need within our community.
- What major issues need to be addressed in our education system?
I am a strong proponent of education. Our children are our future leaders. As a proud parent of a daughter at Wellington High School one major issue that concerns me is our education infrastructure. Wellington has all “A” rated schools yet at the same time the buildings are in need of substantial upgrade.
Another significant area of concern for me is the safety of our students. We need to continue to combat school bullying and provide the level of security necessary so our children can attend school, focus on learning and feel secure. Lastly, we need to ensure that our educational standards are at the highest level. We need to guarantee that our children excel upon graduation.
- What advantages do you have over your opponent?
My greatest advantage that I have over my opponent is that I own multiple businesses within the Village of Wellington. I have interacted with our residents on a daily basis since 2009 and listened to their concerns. In addition, I am a former President of the Chamber of Commerce and have addressed the needs of our businesses. I have a real sense of the pulse of the community. I know the issues that trouble our residents as well as businesses and if elected I intend on addressing them. I will be their voice and not the voice of special interests.
In addition, as a business owner, I have to scrutinize the bottom line every day. If my business cannot afford something I do not purchase it. You need to do more with less and learn to say no when no needs to be said. If elected, I will take this same approach to government by being creative, thinking out of the box and will place the interest of the taxpayers above any special interest. I will use the three core values that were engrained in me in the Air Force: Integrity First, Service before Self and Excellence in All We Do.
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