This is the first in a series of posts that will lie out Chris Oliver’s priorities for his campaign for Houston City Council, At-Large Position 1. Stay tuned for more updates every week!

To me, the phrase “community empowerment” means a lot. Community empowerment is not just about getting citizens more involved in their own community. As a candidate for City Council, At-Large Position 1, the phrase means giving citizens the tools necessary for them to take ownership in the future of their neighborhoods. That means encouraging robust economic growth across the city. That means citizens and neighbors not only becoming invested in their own communities, but also encouraging their friends and family to do the same. You will hear this a lot from our campaign because we think it’s important – together we can accomplish much greater things than we can alone! It just requires a bit of initiative and ownership in the future of our communities.

As your City Council Member, I will work tirelessly to give Houstonians the tools necessary for them to take ownership in the future of their communities. I believe that this can be accomplished by focusing on several priorities at City Hall – the first of which is building a better local economy.

Building A Better Local Economy

I believe that empowering our communities will require empowering the local economies that drive those communities. By keeping jobs and revenues within the Houston city limits, we can help give our neighborhoods the vital jobs, resources, and ownership they need to continue to grow.

Empowering our economy starts with small business. By in-large our entrepreneurs and small business owners drive the economy forward – it will be my job as City Council Member to continue to encourage this natural progress. By providing entrepreneurs with the resources and incentives they need to establish their businesses, hire local staff, and inject revenue into our economy, we can ensure that they continue to keep the Houston economy thriving.

To help build up the local economy we must focus on developing a highly skilled workforce. With local businesses looking for employees with specific skills, our office will look to provide the support Houstonians need to develop the skills necessary to get and maintain a job. By working in partnership with local colleges, community colleges, and other educational institutions, the City can help ensure that citizens have the skills necessary to work and make a living.

Similarly, I believe that we must find new ways to incentivize corporate investment into Houston proper. With real estate costs soaring to all new heights, we must find ways to keep costs down so that large businesses can plant their stakes in Houston rather than its outlying areas. That means giving tax incentives to corporations looking to move or establish their headquarters into the city, and establishing city-level partnerships that help ensure that those companies stay here.

Lastly, we must continue to encourage local hiring in city-related projects so that jobs – and the revenue that they generate – remain in Houston. I fully support the city’s “Hire Houston First” initiative and think we need to find new ways to expand and elaborate on the vital program. We need to create opportunities for Houstonians, because of Houstonians. As your City Council Member I will look to do just that!

Please visit this space next week for the next post in our series laying out my vision for the City of Houston! Together we can build An Even Better Houston and An Even Better Tomorrow!