Campaign website: www.dishellforrtd.com
What makes you the best choice for this office?
I truly believe that transportation underlies many equity issues in our society. As a daily transit user and former public school teacher, I have seen how these inequities impact different facets of society. I am running for office after extensive conversations with nonprofit organizations, community leaders, and activists because we need to build a transportation system that moves for us. Not only do I know and understand the issues and have the educational background and lived experiences to address them, but I am also committed to continuing to learn more about what the community needs to best represent you.
If you’re elected, what issue will be at the top of your agenda?
My first priority as an RTD director will be continuing to build relationships within and outside our community. In order to center community voice in decision-making, I will ensure I regularly hear from community members. Being involved with the community is a top and ongoing priority. My first policy priority is to work with school districts to ensure students and their families can get to schools. This means working to find a way for student passes and LiVE pass applications to be readily accessible and a part of routine paperwork families already fill out to decrease the burden on families.
If you’re elected, what must you accomplish in order for you to consider your term a success?
In order for me to consider my term a success, I need to see the following: Increased trust, investment, and positive perception of RTD from the community. Assurance students and families can easily and safely get to school through improved bus stops and reduced burdens to get student passes and LiVE passes. RTD create and implement a plan to convert to a zero-emission vehicle fleet. RTD create and implement a plan to transition funds away from private police and towards an unarmed crisis response and de-escalation program. A decrease in the driver and operator turnover year over year.
What steps would you take to overcome partisan divide?
Partisanship has no place on the RTD Board. This is a nonpartisan election. I am running as I am committed to working with and on behalf of our community. Transportation is a lifeline to many. It allows us to access jobs, schools, health care, and countless other services. Public transportation is too important for a partisan divide to exist. I am ready and willing to work with anyone who is committed to being involved in and representing their community.
How should RTD address the budgetary challenges it faces?
The board, with legislative partners can reduce board stipends and payments. If services are reduced, it should be done in an equitable way that increases services for those who are transit-dependent, while decreasing services on less transit-dependent routes. A substantial portion of RTD’s budget is sales tax revenue, while 20% comes from fare collection. RTD should focus on its core service of providing reliable, safe transportation so that more people see RTD as a partner for transportation. As more people are traveling and spending across the district, fare revenue and sales tax can increase, leading to a road to recovery.