Holly Edwards, longtime community leader and current candidate for Charlottesville City Council, today unveiled her platform for helping Charlottesville to realize its ambitious goal of becoming "America's Healthiest City."
"I applaud City Council for setting the goal of being 'America’s Healthiest City,' but we have a long way to go if we’re going to get there," said Edwards, a Registered Nurse who worked at the UVa Medical Center for 13 years. Edwards is co-founder of both the Black Nurses Association of Charlottesville and the Virginia Health Ministries Association.
Edwards made several proposals today to ensure improved health for all of the city’s residents:
* As a City Councilor, she will encourage more of her fellow health professionals to volunteer their time and skills through community health facilities like the Free Clinic, the Westhaven Nursing Clinic, or the Salvation Army Medical Assistance Program, in order to reduce health disparities in our community.
* If elected, she will push Council to give more of its attention to health-related matters. "If we’re to make health a priority," she said, "we need to devote the time to discuss the issues and find new solutions."
* Noting the health and environmental benefits of walking and bicycling, she proposes that the City designate one day a month as a voluntary "car-free" day, when those who can walk or bike to work or school are encouraged to do so.
* Touching on a subject near and dear to parents of City schoolchildren, "We should challenge our schools to provide the healthiest meal choices possible," Edwards said. "I challenge the City schools to 'eat local' by utilizing products from local organic farmers and developing vegetable gardens that would create sustainable educational enrichment opportunities for our children."
* In the wake of IMPACT's recent decision to press for expanded access to quality dental care for lower-income residents, Edwards pledged to advocate for increased City funds and higher state Medicaid reimbursement rates so that more children and adults will be able to utilize these critical dental services.
* Finally, Edwards committed to ensure that all City children have access to quality recreational/exercise opportunities. Addressing one specific proposal that's currently being considered by Council, she said: "I believe that the proposal for a new YMCA in McIntire Park can be a wonderful asset to our community. To ensure that it serves all of our families, there should be free bus service to the new Y, and the Y should establish an after school program targeting Charlottesville High School youth and encouraging youth participation and input in the planning of programs."
Holly Edwards would bring a thoughtful, insightful and experienced voice to City Council and as I've said before, I look forward to the opportunity of serving with her on Council. Please vote on Nov. 6!