Chantrisse Burnett Says that public service has been something she’s considered since she was a child.
“When I was eight years old, I was inspired by people who came to my school. I knew that I wanted to make a difference in my community, so my entire career path has been on that trajectory to serve the public. I grew up with my mother and sisters in the Gentilly area. I graduated from McDonogh #35, then Southern University with a Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in public policy development. I am 100 percent genuine in my desire to represent District D.”
If elected, she says she will take a direct approach to addressing the city’s affordable housing issue.
“I believe affordable housing is an issue that we are not addressing head on. It started with displacing low-income people previously. Now that we are at the bursting point, they are trying to stress affordable housing. The city needs to do a better job of reaching out into the community to show people what programs are available.”
Burnett says she would work to help more residents learn trades and skills to earn higher salaries. It’s a move she thinks would also encourage more businesses across the community to pay higher wages.
“What we know is that we can’t go into someone’s business and tell them how much they can pay someone. So what we have to do is go into the community and let them know that you don’t have to settle for what I call “slave wages”. We need to educate our families about the trades. They start off at $20 per hour. And right there, you are starting off a family with a living wage.”
Community advocate and neighborhood leader Morgan Clevenger says she will fight for people every day if she’s elected to represent District D on the city Council.
She is a native New Orleanian whose work has included advocating for musicians, hospitality workers and culture bearers. Clevenger says protecting those groups is synonymous with fighting for New Orleans and it’s authentic culture.
“I love our city and District D! As a long time community advocate and neighborhood leader, I’ve been working everyday for the people. From broken streetlights to crime, property tax reform and protecting our culture, I get things done!
Clevenger’s platform also includes affordable housing, increasing homeownership opportunities, and creating more opportunities for youth.
The candidate says that if elected she will continue to fight for property tax reform, adding that she has witnessed several of her own neighbors forced to sale their homes because of rising costs that were exacerbated by the economic strain caused by the OOVID-19 pandemic.
Clevenger has served as president of the Fairgrounds Triangle Neighborhood Association since 2010. The community activist and organizer was the recipient of the 2018 Black Men of Labor 25 year Indigenous Culture Bearer Award. She was also an organizer of the Save Our Soul Coalition to stop City Hall’s relocation to Armstrong Park.
It is through work like this that Clevenger says her commitment to New Orleans is exemplified, adding that she will bring the same level of commitment and passion to the New Orleans City Council.
Troy Glover says he is already immersed in the work that he believes will help make New Orleans stronger and he wants to continue by serving as the City Council representative for District D.
Glover says his personal background uniquely positions him to understand issues facing residents across New Orleans.
“I’m a New Orleans kid born and bred. I grew up in the Calliope projects. My whole family was from there. I grew up with a single mom who was addicted to both drugs and alcohol for the first 20 years of my life after my dad got killed when I was one. I helped raise my two younger sisters. I got in trouble when I was 17 and ended up getting arrested.”
That experience prompted him to turn his life around, ultimately becoming the first in his family to graduate from college and to become a homeowner.
“I’m running for city council because usually, someone from that background doesn’t run for that position. So I think a combination of my personal and professional achievements is what sets me apart. What I do now is work as the executive director for the Center for Employment Opportunities and we only hire people who were previously incarcerated. In the past year and a half, we hired over 150 folks. We pay about $12 an hour. And about half of those people are from District D.”
Quality of life is the biggest issue facing the district, he says.
“District D is the second largest district in the city. When you think about the make-up of the city we have some of the most historic neighborhoods in the city,” says Glover. “Quality of life is the biggest issue. Sanitation and having affordable utilities are some of the most important things coming off the heels of a hurricane.”
Increasing economic development and bringing more businesses to the district will top Glover’s list of things to do if elected.
“Folks should have the opportunity to work, live, play and eat in their own neighborhood. I think we need to change the conversation around the way we talk about our economy. Close to 50 percent of Black males experience employment instability. We grow and build New Orleans when we have a diverse and trained workforce. Those people 18-25 who are not connected to work and school need to have more opportunities.”
Eugene Green says his years of experience in both public service and as a businessman makes him the best person to represent District D.
“I have decades of experience on the local, state, and federal levels. ”
A graduate of St. Augustine High School, Green earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University and his MBA from Tulane. In addition to being the president and founder of Nationwide Real Estate, Green has served as chief of staff for Louisiana’s Second Congressional District, as president of New Orleans Business Park, as executive assistant to the mayor for economic development, and as director of the Mayor’s Office of Small and Emerging Business Development.
“I’m motivated to run because of the awesome power of the council, with the power of the budget and the power to investigate through public hearings. I grew up in Pontchartrain Park and Sugar Hill. I moved back to New Orleans and I live in Gentilly. I want to join the City Council to make a positive impact in my city. I’m running for one reason only—to make the city a better place to live. I would like for everyone to see improvement as a result of my tenure.”
As a private business owner, Green says he understands the need for all New Orleanians to earn higher wages. And that is why the economic development plan will also include increasing opportunities for business ownership.
“I own a private sector business. You can’t employ anyone for under $15 per hour,” he says. “I want to see more people in business so they don’t have to depend on others for a wage. I want to create a revitalization district to help small businesses and family-owned businesses to create incentives to locate along certain corridors. I would encourage partnerships and always use minority-owned and women-owned businesses. I proactively recognized that if those businesses do well, our city would do well. I want to see more outreach to show people what companies and businesses are out there.”
Community activist and business owner Kevin Griffin-Clark says he has been considering a run for City Council for at least a decade. He is concerned about District D and the city as a whole.
“What I learned from a mentor of mine, the late Paul Beaulieu, is that all politics are local. While we should know about who is on Pennsylvania Avenue, we should care more about who is on Perdido Street,” says Griffin-Clark. “I grew up in the St. Bernard Housing Development, and my wife and I, with our three children, live in Gentilly. I want to create and affect change in my immediate area. We keep electing the same type of people every year. I think I can be a great bearer of change. I’m an age where I’m at a middle ground between the millennials and the baby boomers.
If elected, Griffin-Clark says he will establish a satellite office within the district for constituents.
Griffin-Clark says he wants to create a citywide registry to help address the affordable housing crisis.
Griffin-Clark says economic development has to touch all of the city’s residents; and when it does, it will be a big part of addressing crime issues in New Orleans.
“I don’t have to worry about what’s on your plate when mine is full. We need a full economic development plan to help create entrepreneurs,” he says. “That’s also a way to create a new tax base if it’s done correctly. When we talk about crime, you hear the same things. It’s either I had to support my family, I’m hungry or I’m homeless. A lot of the issues are at an intersection. Crime is an end result.”
MARK JAHORI LAWES
Mark Jahori Lawes says he is running because New Orleans and District D are in a bad place and he has the know how to make a difference.
“It’s going to take someone with tenacity and know-how to change it. There are not a lot of people out there who will speak out for the small man, the person who nobody knows and the person that is not politically connected. I think I am that man.”
Fighting crime will be at the top of his list if elected, says Lawes.
“Right now, it is increasingly high with carjackings and porch theft. We need to make out district safe. It’s not safe right now for women to go out at a certain time of night to get gas. We need more police, and better-trained police. We need to have community police back in the neighborhood and have police that we know in the neighborhood. Right now if you get into an accident it might take 5 to 7 hours before a policeman comes out. If you’re a victim of a burglary, they may not come out until the next day.”
Lawes says he will work to create affordable housing programs for police and other first responders so more of them can live in the communities they serve.
Fighting blight and creating economic development opportunities are also on Lawes’ agenda.
ROBERT “BOB” MURRAY
Robert “Bob” Murray says he knows what it is like to be adversely impacted by the problems that plague New Orleans.
“In 2017. I lost two vehicles in the 2017 flood. This was not an act of God, but a failure of city government to provide the billions and billions of dollars in infrastructure to protect our city. I decided to run because we need to take Sewage & Water Board and turn it upside down—even if we have to privatize it. We must take the politics out of the Sewerage & Water Board.”
Murray says, if elected, he will hit the ground running with affordable housing, infrastructure and economic development rounding out his priorities.
“On Day 1, I would work to create affordable housing. This is a disgrace to our city. Our homeless populations have increased. Affordable housing is not a difficult thing to do. The problem is the bureaucracy that is in place that makes it difficult for anyone to find or buy a home.”
Murray says investing in infrastructure is an important to spur the local economy.
“We have a lot of the work in this city — roads, bridges, general infrastructure — being performed by second-rate contractors.”
Murray says he would support a measure to mandate that contractors hire local residents at $20 an hour.
“If you look at the culture around the country, wages are important. When you compare the costs of living compared to everywhere else, our citizens are being paid rock bottom. I believe people should be paid $20 per hour. The reason you have problems is because business owners don’t want to pay a living wage. The days are over when you can pay someone $7 per hour.”
KEITH “KP” PARKER
Keith Parker says he has been contemplating running for the District D seat for a while and decided to do it now because he wants to get the residents of the district what they need and deserve.
“It’s been at least seven or eight years since I wanted to get in this race,” Parker says. “I’ve seen that things weren’t working out to the best of its ability. I’m for the people and I won’t stop fighting until the people of District D get what they need and what they deserve. I come from a background of activists and I mix that with education.”
The John McDonogh graduate, says public safety, affordable housing and infrastructure are issues that he will address if elected to represent the district.
“Of course flooding is an issue with our infrastructure,” he says. “We have to talk about what we’re paying taxes for with the conditions of our roads. We are paying out of the wazoo for taxes. What are we getting for our taxes? We need to have a sit down with the Mayor and look at the budget.”
When it comes to crime and public safety, Parker wants to work on addressing mental health and programs for children.
“We have to have youth empowerment and youth engagement. I work with a park right now with coaching and mentorship. We want to get to kids when they are young.”
Timolynn Sams says she carefully considered her decision to run for district D. She was ultimately motivated by what she sees as a void in female leadership in the district.
“This district has only had one Black female to represent it on the city council. In a district that is 44 percent female, you would think that someone would step up and want to be a voice for the district.”
Sam says she wants to focus on developing policy that benefits District D and the rest of New Orleans, while fully utilizing the district’s assets.
“District D is an anchor for the entire city. We have four universities, airways, and waterways. I want to talk about leveraging those assets. As a member of the council, I want to be laser focused on policy. My running for city council came with a lot of prayer and sacrifice. I did not make this decision lightly.
When it comes to affordable housing, Sams says the city needs strong laws to support residents.
“Our issues with affordable housing do not start with the price point. What we have is a lot of substandard housing. When that housing is questioned, and improvements are made, immediately the rent goes up. And that’s where the council comes in. We are not going to create hardships on our community. We should invest in policy to protect people, whether we’re talking about a rental registration or the eviction policy. We need to put in an anti-retaliation policy that will allow people to report substandard housing. Housing is a component of education. If your home is not stable, how do you thrive in school?”
Sams also says she wants to expand the conversation surrounding the city’s Disadvantaged Business Program.
“DBEs are usually focused around construction, but we don’t talk about professional services contracts. We don’t really have a listing of DBE’s. How are we looking for Black, minority-owned, female-owned businesses from catering to people who build websites. I would like to create a visual dashboard so that people can see all of the DBE’s that are available.”
Tackling blight, improving infrastructure, and increasing economic development in District D Will be top priority for Kourtney Youngblood if she is elected.
Youngblood say she wants to bring transparency and accountability to the office.
“The city really needs someone to stop the corruption. I know that we can do those things and make those changes.”
Youngblood say she will advocate for creating more vocational opportunities for young people.
“There are so many blighted buildings that we could use for a vocational school. We want to make sure we create more community jobs. We want more people that are making living wages that have access to paid leave and child care. And we want to eradicate disparities in New Orleans and make it a safer community. There are so many traumas that our youth are experiencing as well as what our adults are experiencing because of lack of resources, housing and employment,” says Youngblood. “We need to help people so that they don’t face these traumas on their own.”
Youngblood promises to work to make New Orleans more affordable for all residents.
“We want to work to lower property taxes for our long-term residents. We know that we can fight community displacement that way.