This is the first in a series of three interviews that I am doing with the commission and mayoral candidates for March 10th Election. I would like to thank all of the candidates for being gracious in answering my questions I sent out.
Please take the time to meet and learn more about each candidate, & most importantly come out to vote on March 10th.
Learn more about West Palm Beach District 2
What motivates you to serve the City of West Palm Beach
Cory Neering: I am running because I am West Palm Beach. I was born and raised in West Palm Beach. My wife was born and raised West Palm Beach. We chose to raise our two children in the city, and we fully intend to retire in the city. I am in this for the long run. I will bring this to every decision I make as a City Commissioner. I know that we are a great city, but I also know that we can be an extraordinary city. I am proud to be living here because of what has been accomplished and I want to be part of what our future could be. I would speak for a part of our community that has not been represented before. Together, we can make the future of our city even greater.
I have been active in our community and I see the challenges our city faces. I know that I will bring a fresh voice and younger perspective to the West Palm Beach City Commission as it moves into the future.
Katherine Waldron: I want to serve the City of West Palm Beach because of my unique business experience. I recently started my own business and prior to this was an executive at Sprint where I ran a nationwide sales force. In addition, I have always been passionate about my community. I have given back to my community through my various activities such as being president of my downtown condo board, founding ACTION PAC, a downtown non-partisan PAC focused on engaging residents in the political process, being appointed to the Citizens’ Committee on Airport Noise and leading the Volunteer efforts to revitalize the Coleman Park neighborhood.
What one thing have you done for West Palm Beach of which you are most proud.
Cory Neering: I am dedicated to improving the lives of the youth in West Palm Beach. I am blessed to have the opportunity to work with youth not only through my career, but as a community volunteer. I have volunteered with the WPB Police Athletic League for many years. But I am most proud of the hundreds students I have been able to mentor, helping them find the tools to be successful. One of those students is now a college graduate and helping me on my campaign! The future of our city is our youth, ensuring that they have every opportunity to succeed will create a strong foundation for West Palm Beach’s future.
Katherine Waldron: My proudest accomplishment is my work with Coleman Park. I was appointed by former Mayor, now Congresswoman Lois Frankel, to spearhead the volunteer effort at Coleman Park. I was responsible for bringing in Hank Aaron, legendary MLB player, to help support the efforts; started and helped fund SMART CATS program for community seniors to meet every Friday to socialize ( a program which is still in existence), coordinated the volunteer day which included several businesses lending their employee manpower to the effort and led the bicycle drive to get donated bicycles for the community center.
Describe your vision of where West Palm Beach will be in 10 years.
Cory Neering: I believe West Palm Beach can be one of the premier mid-size cities in the United States. In order to achieve this status, we have to deal with mobility and integration – neighborhoods are provided the resources and amenities to be conducive for pedestrians and bicycle traffic, not to mention they should be fully integrated with transit. We have to be environmentally friendly (Green Infrastructure) – there are no do-overs when it comes to our resources. We must implement smart, sustainable growth, and plan for change. We have to assess and manage expenses rigorously, explore partnerships, and embrace technology.
Katherine Waldron: In 10 years, I would like to see West Palm Beach as a vibrant nationally recognized city. I would like to see WPB become the new technology hub of the Southeast where innovation and creativity are rewarded and is flourishing. Also, I would like to see internationally known companies continue to plant their roots in our city, offering good jobs and careers to our residents.
I envision our Northwest corridor continuing to become a thriving area for art and music like we have now in Northwood Village. Our Western communities would continue to be an oasis for the retired. Finally, I would like to see rejuvenation in our Dixie Highway corridor where all family owned and operated businesses are able to thrive and continue to be the gems of the South end.
What do you see as the single biggest challenge facing West Palm Beach.
Cory Neering: I know that we must look within our city first. We must find the right balance between development and assisting local businesses and communities to prosper. By helping current businesses and improving infrastructure we help our current residents prosper. We must not forget that we are only as strong as the weakest link. Being born and raised in West Palm Beach, the Broadway corridor and the Tamarind corridors have always looked identical to how they look now. It is sad they have seen such little change. And Tamarind, as my parents and grandparents described to me, was once a vibrant and thriving business district. I will make it a priority to transform and restore these and other “weak links” in our city.
Katherine Waldron: Our biggest challenge in this city is public safety. To ensure our residents have the best quality of life, we as a city must take the necessary steps to keep our residents safe. Overall we have seen a reduction in crime over the past few years but we need to be doing more. We must have more officers on patrol in the North end on town. We need officers to develop a relationship with residents in the neighbors and know the area. To do this we must equip our officers with the resources they need.
What is your favorite place to go for dinner on Clematis Street and why.
Cory Neering: I love the choices we have on Clematis and the surrounding areas. We know all the places from the 500 block to the 100 block, especially the ones we frequent. It’s the ability to choose between fancy and simple, elegance and a sports bar that makes this area so unique. Tell me your mood and I’ll tell you where to go for dinner.
I’m very pleased to see that other places are now emerging on Olive and Dixie. Soon they will exist on other connecting streets. How many downtown areas are able to say that they have a boat regatta affiliated with one of their locations?
Clematis is the beginning. So So and Northwood are not far behind. Dixie is about to emerge as its own destination. The West Communities already have an excitement of their own. There’s a lot going on and we need people with a commitment to the future of our City to make that happen in spite of the obstacles.
I want to be one of those 5 commissioners who make these things possible. I want to work with the Mayor and the other commissioners to assure West Palm Beach achieves all the good things that are possible for its future. In 25 years, I want to make my children proud that they live in a vibrant community that is full of opportunity for everyone. Working together, we can make this happen.
Katherine Waldron: Every restaurant on Clematis is fantastic. There is no way I could pick just one!
For more information on the Candidates for West Palm Beach Commission District 2 visit their facebook pages, or RSVP to one of their events to meet them personally.