Karen Morris-Clarke, Village Council Seat 2

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What are your top three areas of concern?

A. Road Safety: To explore creative ways to improve and expand road safety. To address speeding on residential roads and the need for illumination on some of the Wellington’s darkest roads which are major concerns to residents.

B. Small Businesses: To promote and advocate for the small businesses all year long.

C. Infrastructure: To support a strong infrastructure with new ideas, replacing and upgrading the current systems.  

How long have you lived in Wellington? Name an accomplishment that you are proud of.  

My family and I have been happy residents of Wellington for just over twenty-two years. As an immigrant I am the first in my family to earn a bachelor’s degree. In 2002, I graduated while a mother of four small children with a degree in Political Science from Florida Atlantic University here in Palm Beach County. 

How has the Village Council handled the pandemic and what improvements, if any, do you have in mind?

The Novel Covid-19 Virus was initially difficult to manage for the country and our community was no exception. I am happy that we now have our own community  testing centers, which makes it much more convenient for residents to get tested where they live. A needed improvement is for Wellington to become among one of the first municipality to get vaccines for its residents when there is an urgent need in the future. I for example, got my Covid-19 vaccine in Broward County, where I find the communication channels and access to the vaccine were the best.

How can the Village Council support local businesses, including the Mall at Wellington Green?  

They should encourage supplier-chain programs between the larger and small businesses. Provide resources such as a local directory of businesses in the village to include but not limited to women and minority-owned businesses.  

The issues at the mall are complex and tedious and will require a strong working partnership with the current owners, Village Manager and Council in the future. 

How can the Village of Wellington prioritize diversity?

The Village can prioritize diversity by informing our neighbors on the benefits of having a village where diversity, equity and inclusion are embraced. To bring awareness to residents that diversity is not just about race and gender; diversity also touches on age, religion, sexual orientation, education level, family status, careers, and so many more. It’s important that we intentionally create opportunities so that neighbors can learn about the benefits of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and feel included in all aspects of life here.

What safety issues are you concerned about in Wellington? 

I agree with many residents that I have met personally while canvassing, that road safety particularly speeding and the need for illumination on some of the Wellington darkest roads are major concerns. Especially since the population has doubled in size since the 1990s, bringing in many more vehicles. After the loss of my twenty-five year old son Chris in 2016 to an avoidable road collision, I am deeply committed to making our roads as safe as they can be for our residents.

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? 

I have gathered information on this proposal and was advised about the condition of the existing aquatic center. As one of my priorities, I am in support of upgrading infrastructure in our village as long as the costs will not cause undue burdens on businesses and families. In this case, I will have to defer my judgment on this proposal until the ongoing estimates for this proposal are completed.

What role should the Village Council play in supporting the equestrian side of Wellington?

As a real estate agent in Wellington, I know first hand the amazing income potential to individual and businesses the equestrian side of Wellington generates annually. Council should play a major role indeed by wholeheartedly protecting and preserving the equestrian side of Wellington, a great source of income for the small businesses and residents alike. It is also an excellent feature of our village that residents have had the privilege to enjoy for many generations.

What’s the best thing about living in Wellington, according to you?

It feels safe, it’s diverse, it’s green, family friendly, and engenders a sense of community that is great for individuals and families alike to live, work and play.

How can you help to address the issue of affordable housing, as rent and mortgage rates continue to rise?

The lack of affordable housing has been a major problem to solve for years among many municipalities across the nation. The onset of Covid-19, the exponential rise in the population in Wellington and the lack of land for housing development makes it even more difficult for me to support affordable housing. 

What major issues need to be addressed in our education system? 

There is a trend that some parents have opting to take their children out of Wellington Public schools and placing them in private school. As a result, we are getting more children from outside communities to fill the missing seats in Wellington classrooms. I encourage new residents to enroll their children into Wellington great schools and other parents who have switched to give it a second try as we learn more how to keep our children safe from Covid-19 in schools.

What advantages do you have over your opponent(s)? 

I bring experience as a twenty-two year resident, a wife, mother of five children who were raised right here and attended Wellington schools. I am a seasoned Wellington Real Estate Professional that knows the community well and what matters most to them. We need a new outlook, fresh ideas in Council to shape Wellington’s vision for the future. What matters most to residents is a Council that is knows their needs and are approachable, and that I am! I will advocate for more engagement with community leaders, HOAs, Condo Associations, small business owners, tenants  and community watchers in non-gated subdivisions, many times often forgotten. I will be the voice they need in council so that they too can be heard and help to shape policies and our vision collectively.