COVID-19 has taken a major toll on us all. We have a long road to recovery, but I am confident we will come out of this stronger than ever.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated severe and pervasive health and social inequities in our City. It is impossible to change the course of the pandemic without tackling it in the hardest-hit areas of our City. In order to identify and eliminate health and social inequities resulting in disproportionately higher rates of exposure, illness, and death, I will take on a citywide effort to address health equity. We must take swift action to prevent and remedy differences in COVID-19 care and outcomes within communities of color and other underserved populations.
COVID-19 Recovery Task Force. As a part of my recovery plan from COVID-19, I will establish a COVID-19 Recovery Task Force. The Task Force shall provide specific recommendations for mitigating the health inequities caused or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and for preventing such inequities in the future. It will also focus on providing opportunities for residents to get connected health workforce training programs and other career advancement programs and more.
Distribute vaccines fairly, orderly, and expeditiously. There are many concerns related to the vaccine distribution. Many are concerns related to the issues of mobility and access. We need to make sure that when the next round of vaccines come into our possession that it is distributed efficiently and effectively. I’m currently working with the City Department of Health to coordinate a better line of communication and collaboration between the Health Department and the members of the Board of Aldermen related to the vaccine distribution process. I am also working with the Missouri State Department of Health to coordinate mass vaccination sites in areas of town where people may not have easy access to the current vaccination sites. As Mayor, I will continue to ensure the vaccines are distributed as fairly, orderly and expeditiously as possible
Build back and grow Small Businesses. COVID-19 has changed the way that our businesses operate, especially with newly adopted work-from-home practices. We need to use this to our advantage and accelerate the development of local and state tools to assemble and clean land and create marketable turn-key sites that can support growth. Making better use of land in the city can also help boost commercial property tax revenues, which currently account for only a small portion of city revenues. I will continue to help fund our small business sector and help them recover from this looming recession.
Housing and Mortgage Assistance. As Mayor, I will work to provide additional funds for Residential Rental & Housing Assistance programs and work to increase the amount of funding in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.