Q&A With Newly Elected Alderman John Tate II
posted on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.
Question and Answer with newly elected Alderman Tate,
Congratulations on your election as alderman. What encouraged you to run for this position?
Before I actually ran for office, I knew in my heart I wanted to run. My experience as a human services provider has helped me understand that public service and policy are one of the most effective ways to bring about lasting change. As a case manager for group homes that serve young men with developmental disabilities, I have experienced first-hand how fearful the men I work with, and their families, are that the services they receive at the group home won't be available to them after they graduate from their program.
As an alderman, I am able to take a seat at the table and advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves, and, specifically, those impacted by mental health issues. As a healthcare professional, I recognize that when it comes time for budget cuts human services are often one of the first public sectors to get hit. This negatively impacts a lot of people in our community.
During your campaign you spoke in favor of the downtown hotel and event center project. What excites you most about this project, and how do you think it will positively impact the Racine community?
The downtown hotel and event center project helps emphasize the idea that Racine can be a destination to travel to rather than leave from. Racine, at its core, is inclusive, full of welcoming and caring people. Projects like the downtown hotel and event center help re-establish our city as a place for all to migrate to and, hopefully, establish roots in.
Many people believe that in order to find something that is worthwhile to do, they have to leave Racine. If city officials and project partners can make the downtown hotel and event center what it is proposed to be, I believe it will increase tourism to the city and encourage residents to stay in town to enjoy events and other attractions. Racine is a wonderful place to live, work and play and the downtown hotel and event center will help residents and visitors look more positively at where we call home.
The downtown hotel and event center is also a large component in the push to revitalize Racine - particularly downtown. I believe it will serve as a catalyst to improve our infrastructure because it will be a great centerpiece to build around. The venue is also proposed to be the perfect place to house sporting events, conventions, conferences and concerts that otherwise would otherwise not be able to be held in Racine.
Why is Racine a great place to live, work and play?
I have lived in Racine nearly all of my life. What I have come to love most about the city is that it's small enough to feel like you really belong, but big enough to find new and exciting things to do all the time.
I remember growing up in Racine and playing with family and friends in the safe, green parks around town. We'd play all day, and, when the sun would set and the streetlights would turn on, we'd know it was time to go home. Racine can be a city where parents are comfortable sending their kids to the park to play, knowing they're safe.
Racine also has the potential to return to the small community with a big city feel that we've always had but may have lost a little along the way.
As a full-time social worker, what drives your passion for helping people in need and addressing social problems?
As a social worker, it's my passion to work with youth and their families to affect change in a positive way. This starts with acceptance. When a child, and his/her family, accepts imperfection, it's easier to understand what the child is experiencing, the true meaning behind his/her words and how he/she lives.
At its core, public policy is about acceptance and understanding a problem and identifying actionable solutions to address it. As an alderman, I will use my professional skills to listen to and understand the needs and concerns of my constituents and work with fellow aldermen and other city officials to address the concerns. I truly care about my constituents and what's important to them. That is why I campaigned door-to-door; I was able to learn first-hand what matters most to them. My goal as alderman of the Third District is to be a role model for those who aspire to serve their community by turning concern into change.
What is your long-term vision for the city of Racine?
Simply stated, my long-term vision for the city of Racine is to be the best representation of democracy in the nation. I believe that democracy - when exercised correctly - can be a model for how the world can work. Democracy invites the public to be involved and engaged in the political process. And, when we do just that, we often find that we're not so different from one another, our challenges aren't so unique and our solutions require cooperation not separation.