"There is no better place to live in this country than Hamilton County. This community has provided so much for me, and I can't imagine growing my business and raising my kids anywhere else. Having given me so much, I feel the responsibility to give back. We are presented with so many opportunities and a bright future for our community - we just need the right leadership to propel us into an era of growth and success. "
- Andy Black, Candidate for Hamilton County Commissioner
Communication & Cooperation
If I've learned one thing in the world of business it's that working together as a team is the only way to experience long term success. Right now, we don't have a culture of working together in this community. Cincinnati City Council and the Hamilton County Commission should be working hand-in-hand, but instead all we see is a jockeying for power and influence. This comes down to a fundamental error in the outlook of our elected officials. We should never have an "us" versus "them" mentality, especially at the expense of the general public.
I want to clear the pipelines of communication and establish a level of trust amongst our elected officials that puts the pride and ambitions of individual people aside in exchange for the prosperity and happiness of the citizens of our region.
The biggest priority for our County Commissioners is to maintain a budget that is balanced, focused on the right priorities, is positioned for long term success, and puts the lightest burden on the taxpayers as possible. Let me be clear - that is not how our Commission functions now.
In 2018 we watched as the Commissioners attempted to ram through an increase in the sales tax WITHOUT a vote of the people. This attempted unilateral action is exactly the kind of mismanagement and disrespect of the voters that needs to be avoided. The people of Hamilton County stood up against this and forced the Commissioners to back down, which is something I'm proud of. But we must remain diligent when it comes to keeping our elected officials accountable.
There is no doubt that our county has a number of high priority needs that puts a strain on our finances. However, raising taxes should be the last resort. And it should always be done by a vote of the people. I promise to stick to this philosophy of governing and provide creative solutions to the problems facing our community.
Tackle the Homelessness Crisis
While we're going about the work of the county, it is imperative that we don't leave people behind. The homelessness crisis is very real, and it's finally crept into our region. In order for us to effectively combat this crisis we need to bring all of the stakeholders to the table, because this effects our entire community. The first step to finding a solution is admitting that we have a problem - and guess what, we have a big problem when it comes to this issue.
Finding workable solutions will revitalize our city and ultimately help those less fortunate who have found themselves in a cycle of perpetual homelessness and loneliness.
Continue to Fight the Opioid Epidemic
Hamilton County has made it a priority over the last few years to fight the opioid epidemic head on, which is something I applaud. But like in most wars of attrition, public attention tends to wane with the passing of time. We need to recommit ourselves to continuing the fight.
As a County Commissioner I will not only work closely with our law enforcement and medical professionals locally, but will serve as an advocate to our state and national policy makers about this issue. The root of the opioid crisis generates a lot of controversial and uncomfortable conversations about our drug laws, prescription drugs, mental health, and tactics used by law enforcement. We have to be willing to have these tough conversations without the cloud of partisan politics hovering over our attempts to find solutions. The way forward isn't necessary Republican or Democrat - it will be a product of the two parties putting their party identifiers aside and doing what has to be done.