James on the Issues
There are many important issues that we need to continue addressing in West Lafayette. I am committed to continue working to make sure that our City is serving its residents! Below, you will find some of the priorities I want to continue working on.
LEAP Project and Our Water
I am strongly opposed to the LEAP Project, a project that would siphon off millions of gallons of our aquifer's water every day. This project has proceeded in a cloud of secrecy that is an affront to the values we stand for as a community. As cosponsor of Resolution 22-2023, I am proud to voice our community's opposition to the project and support efforts to put a stop to it.
West Lafayette faces a growing shortage of housing options for our growing population. As Purdue continues to expand, and more major manufacturers set up shop in town, we need to make sure there is enough housing for our new residents, as well as for our longtime residents to be able to keep on calling West Lafayette home. To that end, here are actions I have taken and goals I advocate for:
In February, I sponsored Resolution 6-2023, which calls for the city and Purdue to work together to close the gap in housing our city faces. Resolution 6-2023 passed the city council unanimously.
I support the planned redevelopments of the Chauncey Hill Mall and the Levee, which together will add hundreds of beds and a beautiful new public space to walk and take in all West Lafayette has to offer.
I support efforts to reform zoning, including allowing the creation of attached dwelling units (ADUs) at owner-occupied housing, to offer more housing options to residents.
Support for First Responders
Before our current Township Trustee took office early last year, restoring and expanding the Wabash Township Fire Department, our nearby community members faced the senseless actions of a rogue Township Trustee. I understood that her actions not only impacted our neighbors, but also put a strain on the West Lafayette Fire Department. I'm proud to have stood up for the firefighters and first responders by officially condemning her actions and calling for her resignation back in 2021.
Furthermore, I'm proud to support efforts by our city to renovate and improve our fire stations, especially Station #2. Firefighters and police provide valuable services to our community, and I'm proud to support them.
As a member of the CityBus board representing West Lafayette, I've supported our efforts to achieve net zero carbon emissions. We're planning to add hydrogen filling stations, and collaborating with regional transit agencies to obtain funding and find innovative ideas to move forward. I'm proud of the increased wages and the path CityBus is taking under our new CEO, and I will continue to work with the board to sustainably meet our community's growing public transit needs.
I'm also working with our City Director of Development - and next mayor - Erin Easter to add more street chargers for electric vehicles (EVs). That is critically important to keep our City appealing to current and future residents, as more and more folks invest in EVs. Our charging infrastructure has a long way to go, but I'm confident we'll meet the challenge by working together as a community.
Planning for the Future
Our city is continuing to grow at a fast clip. That's why I'm supporting developments that include increased housing, green space, and places to walk and bike. I'm proud to support the planned developments on the levee and Chauncey Hill, developments that are a real step forward in meeting our community's growing needs. I commit to working in good faith with all those involved, including our mayor, his successor, the City of Lafayette, Wabash Township, the Area Plan Commission, and so many others, as the decisions we make as a city affect the greater community.