2023 Candidate Questionnaire on
City Council Candidate Response: Denise Walker
City Council Candidate Response: Denise Walker
What would you like Grandview residents to know about your background, as it relates to the environment, climate, and conservation? If applicable, please describe any relevant educational, career, or service experience you have.
I have over 7 years of state and county government experience and over 12 years working for non-profit organizations connecting underserved children, seniors, and individuals with meals, healthcare, and legal services. While at the Franklin County Treasurer’s office I led the Franklin County Save our Homes Taskforce and Managed the Homeowner Helpline Foreclosure Prevention Initiative, Franklin County’s response to the foreclosure crisis in 2008-2010.
The taskforce and Homeowner Helpline worked with realtors, mortgage lenders, housing counselors, legal aid, the county courts, and homeowners to not only protect homeowners but to also reduce blight by limiting abandoned properties around the county.
- Position on Climate Change
Do you believe there is a climate crisis? If yes, to what extent can and should local government take action to address it?
I truly believe that climate change is the most important pressing issue facing us. Global climate change effects all of us in our daily lives including air quality and food access, quality, and safety just to name a few. A recent example of this global connectivity was a few months ago how we were all affected locally with air quality issues from the fires in Canada. We all need to do what we can on an individual basis even if it is small changes in our daily habits to try and make a difference.
- Issue 23
For the upcoming November election, Grandview will vote on Issue 23, which, if passed, will bring 100% renewable energy to residences and businesses in our city. Do you support Issue 23?
I strongly support Issue 23. This issue is important because it offers an opportunity for residents to make a conscious decision to choose a renewable energy option while negotiating an affordable rate through pooling their buying power. I only wish the city would have joined the more than 600 communities around the state by bringing this option for a vote to the public earlier which might have resulted in even better energy rates. Grandview is a vibrant community and should always be trying to be on the cutting edge and especially when it comes to environmental issues.
- Reducing carbon emissions
Beyond Issue 23, what steps, if any, should Grandview Heights take to collectively reduce our carbon emissions? Some possible questions to address include: Should the City electrify its vehicle fleet? Will you commit to advocating to install solar at our municipal building and/or other City sites?
Reducing carbon emissions is important both at a government and individual level which is why we drive a Prius and use that as our primary car when possible. My husband and I carpool to work, and he takes the bus home. As Grandview residents, we are fortunate to live in such a walkable community and so close to sporting venues and many downtown activities. As season ticket holders for both the Columbus Crew and the Columbus Blue Jackets, we either walk, ride our bikes, or take the bus to and from the games. This summer we enjoyed riding bikes to various community events in the short north and downtown.
As a profession, I am a grant writer having worked for various non-profit organizations and served in leadership roles (including President) of the Grants Professionals Association, Central Ohio Chapter. From the government level, I would like to see Grandview research possible private and public grants that could be available to encourage communities to invest in green initiatives such as electric vehicles for the city’s fleet, solar panels at city buildings, and other possible emission reducing options.
Describe the importance of our community’s parks, greenspace, and tree canopy. As an elected official, what specific steps would you take, if any, to preserve and/or expand these local assets? As one example, should the city commit to planting primarily/exclusively native species of trees/plants?
One of the things that drew me to move to Grandview Heights in 2000 was the wonderful parks, community walkability, and mature tree growth throughout the city. Living here since 2000 I have seen the city invest over the years improving the public park space in our community. As an elected official I would support and encourage any effort to continue preserving and expanding these valuable venues. I was impressed that the city has taken special steps to preserve old trees as they did in front of my own house. They have tried a new option of replacing portions of old concrete sidewalk with bricks to allow for expansion from tree root growth. I would definitely support planting native species of trees and plants as well as other initiatives that would protect and expand our current tree lined neighborhood.
Describe your views and/or policy positions on transportation in Grandview. What should the City’s priorities be in this domain? Please share any specific ideas or proposals related to pedestrian and bicycle routes, public transit, and/or electric vehicle infrastructure.
I would like to see Grandview possibly offer electric vehicle charging stations. The charging stations would help the strain on the electrical grid from charging at home. Many homes in Grandview do not have garages which often discourages residents from purchasing an electric vehicle. More access to charging stations could help alleviate that concern for some residents and might just be a deciding factor to help them switch to an electric car. Without having a garage, I have that same concern which is why I only have a Prius and not a fully electric vehicle.
- Solid Waste
What are your positions on trash, food waste, recycling, and litter? Should we expand our composting program to include curbside pickup? What else, if anything, can Grandview do better in these domains, and what specific policies or programs will you pursue if elected?
I firmly believe and practice as often as possible, the principals of reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle. I have always been a dedicated recycler and appreciate the city’s distribution of the recycling carts. It is a standard practice of all my family members to use reusable grocery bags to reduce plastic bag use. If elected I would propose a public education program to inform and encourage residents to understand and participate in Grandview’s public composting program. If financially and logistically possible, I would support the expansion of the composting program to a curbside option.
- Single-use Plastics
To what extent do you believe that single-use plastics, such as food utensils, bags, take-out containers, and straws, are harming the environment? What can Grandview Heights do, if anything, to reduce the production and distribution of these items?
If elected I would support options of initiatives to encourage the use of reusable food and drink containers. I think that Grandview should research and hopefully implement providing water refill stations at public events to encourage residents to bring their own reusable bottles and limit the use and sale of disposable water bottles at large public events in our community.
- Environmental Toxins
Environmental toxins, such as lead and coal tar, pose significant threats to human health. What should Grandview’s role be, if any, in mitigating the presence of these toxins in our air, homes, businesses, and waterways?
It is an achievement that the Grandview Yard has received the first U.S. Green Building Council LEED certification in Ohio. As Grandview Heights continues to grow, the city needs to manage and evaluate the growth and whenever possible, encourage environmentally responsible designs to be incorporated in new projects.