To help our community members make informed choices in the upcoming November 2, 2021, election, we asked candidates running for local seats to participate in our Candidate Forum to help you get to know them better. Today, meet Qianna Decker.
A message of equity guides Qianna Decker’s quest to become a City Commissioner in the City of Kalamazoo in the November 2, 2021 election. “My top concerns are lack of attainable housing, educating, and empowering the people of Kalamazoo in order to provide equity for all. [I’d like to be part of] creating new policies that will help lead to fair treatment of people of color who encounter local police and economic vitality for everyone,” said Qianna. Qianna plans to do this by supporting growth to make Kalamazoo an enticing place to do business and looking at infrastructure to find ways to accommodate businesses and get people back to work with a livable wage. With a background in banking for over 15 years and seven in the mortgage industry, Qianna believes that “economic vitality maximizes funding to bring people out of poverty and help put an end to generational disparity.”
DISTRICT POSITION REPRESENTS
City of Kalamazoo
WHAT ARE THE TOP ISSUES/CONCERNS THAT MOTIVATE YOU?
My top concerns are lack of attainable housing, educating, and empowering the people of Kalamazoo in order to provide equity for all. [I’d like to be part of] creating new policies that will help lead to fair treatment of people of color who encounter local police and economic vitality for everyone.
SHARE YOUR PAST EXPERIENCES OR SKILL SETS THAT MAKE YOU A GREAT FIT FOR THIS ROLE.
[I have been] in banking for over 15 years and seven in the mortgage industry and working to develop educational outputs. I would be a great fit as a City Commissioner because I am committed and motivated to keep Kalamazoo on forward progress and will be a thoughtful steward for our city’s funds.
WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THE KALAMAZOO REGION IS THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE AND WORK?
Kalamazoo’s a great place to live [with] our farmers markets, performing arts, and many trails; the diversity of people who live here; the great university and colleges, and having the Kalamazoo Promise to help our younger generation to achieve higher education. I am proud to call Kalamazoo my home.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING OUR COMMUNITY?
Attainable housing. I want to collaborate with partners to enhance the city’s infrastructure and lack of housing [and] create policies that lead to equal treatment. Economic vitality maximizes funding to bring people out of poverty and help put an end to generational disparity.
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO SUPPORT THE GROWTH OF THE ECONOMY IF ELECTED?
- Supporting our growth by making Kalamazoo an enticing place to start, keep, and attract new business.
- Looking at our infrastructure to see how we can accommodate new and current businesses and to get constituents back to work with a livable wage.
HOW WILL YOUR ELECTION IMPACT THE REGION’S WORKFORCE AND COMPANIES WHO CALL SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN HOME?
My election will focus on empowering [and] educating and, with that, bringing equity to all. [This includes] working with local businesses to have apprenticeship programs to build up the already dynamic workforce we have in Kalamazoo.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE MEASURES AT THE LOCAL LEVEL?
We need to be able to include all. The community we have is diverse, and we need to make sure that everyone [is treated] fairly and equally and that our community knows that it is included in the plans that affect our city and their community.
OFFER AN EXAMPLE OF WHEN YOU PERSONALLY USED HONESTY AND INTEGRITY TO SOLVE A VITAL ISSUE.
At a place I worked, there was tension between an employee and me. We needed to talk. We went outside, we each spoke our concerns, we laughed, we cried, and laughed some more. My kids now call her auntie. We are great friends to this day. All we needed to do was communicate.
HOW CAN ELECTED OFFICIALS CREATE A PLACE WHERE WORKING TOGETHER TOWARDS MEANINGFUL PROGRESS IS THE PRIORITY?
I feel that we have to be transparent and inclusive of our community. We need the input of our constituents, and we need to actively listen to and acknowledge their concerns. We must work towards growth and the wellbeing of our community.
IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU PLAN TO CONNECT WITH CONSTITUENTS TO RECEIVE THEIR INPUT?
- Host events around the city and ask constituents we meet to actively listen. Constituent feedback is necessary for cities to function efficiently.
- Define objectives of meetings to have successful conversations.
- Meet with local officials to gather their input on our city and how to move us forward.