Meet the Candidate: Kendrick Tate
Erie City Council
My name is Kendrick Tate and I’m running for Erie City Council. I’ve been raised in Erie since I was 3 years old, and I’ve attended Northwest PA Collegiate Academy and Penn State University-Main Campus. I’ve seen and experienced the long-lasting issues that Erie has faced for years. I believe we need a new vision for our city, and it starts with equitable community and economic development, livable wages and family-sustaining jobs, and protections for our renting population. I know first-hand how hard it is to make a living here as a young 26 year old man, as a black man, and as a single man. The opportunities for a single life-sustaining job for an individual in the city are horribly scarce. I’ve been passed over for open positions where I’ve worked that I was well-qualified and went above and beyond for. I’ve been wrongfully discriminated against by irrational fear that has taken away viable career opportunities. I will change this environment for every person in the city who has had even fewer opportunities in life than I’ve been given. On City Council, I plan to do everything with the benefit of the working poor and marginalized as my guiding principle.
Why are you running to be Erie City Council?
I chose to run for this office because of my intense desire to see equity in my community. Erie residents deserve to feel protected, motivated, and optimistic about their community and their future in it. We deserve to live in a place that sufficiently attends to the housing needs of the one-third of its population that rents their home. Erie residents deserve the benefit of a City Council that actively works to provide their population in poverty, more than double the state average, with a framework for jobs and occupational education that will lift them into a better life. Erie’s historically underserved communities deserve the benefit of County and City development policies to increase the quality of life, both economically and culturally.
What are your top three priorities you wish to work on if elected?
My top three priorities are:
1) to govern with a barometer of the economic and cultural impact of my policy decisions;
2) to protect the rights of our working poor population in the residential, professional, and developmental contexts; and
3) to increase the accessibility of our Erie residents to the governing policies that affect their present and future.
How would you be an advocate for key education initiatives such as the Erie County Community College, K-12 education, and early education as they relate to workforce development?
Education at all levels is key to the stability and potential of our workforce. Early education is not only the foundation for a child’s intellectual development, but it’s also a necessity for the stability of our working families. K-12 education is more readily available through public schooling, and throughout a student’s career, they establish themselves as an individual in their community. Post-secondary education is essential for the students who feel that high school did not allow them to see their potential as individuals and workers. On City Council, I will advocate for the development of programming by early childhood educators and for-profit/nonprofit contributions to early childhood education, I will promote the involvement of local small and large business owners in primary/secondary school business education, and I will establish strong administrative relationships between Erie’s small and large businesses and the Erie County Community College for real-world educational opportunities.
How will you work to advocate for the modernization of public health infrastructure and encourage public/private partnerships to address deficiencies in our public health system?
Advocating for public health infrastructure modernization means working to establish a relationship with our local hospitals, outpatient clinics, and emergency services that goes beyond finance. On City Council, I would urge the city’s public safety department to consider the inclusion of medical and mental health services along with police and fire, and argue for the state to include medical professionals in the emergency services collective bargaining law, PA 1968 Act 111. I would further urge the Council and government to work closely with the County Health Department located close to our Downtown area to address the accessibility of health services around our city, and to conduct targeted studies based on census data that will help to determine and increase the effectiveness of emergency, PCP, specialist, and outpatient treatment from Erie’s two massive hospitals, UPMC Hamot and AHN Saint Vincent, Emergycare, local medical care providers, and for-profit/nonprofit mental health organizations.
According to TrackTheRecovery.org, Erie County is estimated to have lost over 28% of small businesses. How would you work to encourage financial stability within local and state governments without overburdening the small business community?
Our small businesses have taken on the worst burden of the business community throughout this pandemic, while large corporations have benefited from record profits over the past year and even prior. I will advocate for the institution of a relief tax paid by large state and interstate corporations based in PA for the purpose of supporting small business growth, as well as measured local and state tax abatement for small businesses within the city of Erie who are looking to reopen or are first forming during this pandemic.
Our community is expecting a total of $225 million or more in American Recovery Plan funds. As a community leader, how would you prioritize this funding?
My first priority would be to provide funding to our residents who were laid off from their positions due to the pandemic, who are unable to return to their previous jobs.
My next priority would be to provide local tax abatement to small businesses who have been able to stay open through the pandemic without citation for ignoring CDC guidelines, as well as establish a pay premium for essential workers within the city.
My third priority would be to fund nonprofits and community centers that have been instrumental in administering Covid tests and vaccines to continue their medical service, to provide mental health services, and to fund future community engagement opportunities.
My fourth priority would be to conduct a survey of the most affected wards and districts in the city in terms of lost household income since the initial state emergency declaration, recruiting community organizations and local students, to effectively determine how to utilize the remaining funds according to the American Rescue Plan regulations.
My fifth priority would be to utilize the funds to establish reliable and affordable broadband access for our residents located in and out of Opportunity Zones.
Pittsburgh has seen success with tools such as Tax Increment Finance and Transit Revitalization Investment District to spur their City’s revitalization. Are you willing to make long-term investments in economic development?
I am fully invested in the long-term viability of our city, for our residents now and future transplants. On City Council, I would propose the adoption of a policy to build, buy, and foster clean energy production to create new opportunities for economic change in Erie. With Solar Revolution, an Erie-based solar energy supplier, GE, a leading manufacturer of wind turbines, and the presence of two universities in the city to promote clean energy research and implementation, Erie is provided with the opportunity to significantly invest in the development and study of various clean energy resources in our area. I would propose an investment in electric municipal vehicles and city sponsorship of electric personal vehicle usage, transforming the culture of our intra-city and inter-city transportation networks to spur the economy within our various neighborhoods and for businesses’ supply chains that utilize I-79 and I-90.
I support the progress that the city administration has made in finding and utilizing redevelopment grants, as well as the investment in small businesses through programs like KIVA to provide entrepreneurs with funding sources to establish new businesses, and I believe those programs are indispensable in creating a city that is attractive for its current residents and a magnet to compel enterprising and inspired people to move in. I advocate for a policy of investing in small businesses within designated communities like markets, childcare, and early education, and healthcare to build the foundation for those communities to decide on the future businesses that will best suit their long-term needs and desires. With the resources from programs like the Opportunity Zones and Community Development Block Grants, and with local finance tools like tax abatement and Tax Increment Finance as property values rise and future developments in underserved districts, wards, and census tracts become more attractive, I believe that we will heal our communities from years of neglect.