Colorado Springs City Council candidate Regina English is considered a “she-ro” by many, from her five children to the young people that she mentors, she says.
But English said she’s ready for a job that allows her to be even more influential than her role as founder of a nonprofit that serves at-risk youth and director of a pageant system for African American women, known as Yes M.A.A.M. So, she’s running against 10 other candidates for three at-large seats on the council.
“I’m running for City Council because I understand my civic responsibility,” said English, 46. “It’s very necessary for me and important to pave the way for our youth or to model the way for our youth. They soon will be running our city.”
The Battle Creek, Mich. native, a Colorado Springs resident since 1998, is set to earn her master’s degree in public administration this month from the University of Phoenix.
She aspires to one day run for the state Legislature, she said. But first, she wants to see the public more engaged in the city’s decision-making process, she said.
“It is time for a new city arrangement in the council. It’s time for some new faces. It’s time to level the playing field, if you will, and bring in new perspective, new attitudes, new energy to the council,” she said. “I believe that it starts with me.”
She’s struggled to find a place to live in the past, so she has insight on how to address the city’s homelessness problem, she said. She recalled the months she spent living in a hotel with her family when she was pregnant with her youngest daughter, who is now 17, she said. They visited food pantries and sat on a waiting list for low-income housing, she said.
“I’ve been there done that. I know what it feels like to have nowhere to go or not have anything to eat,” she said. “We as a city need to come together and just do our part to help the people that really can’t help themselves.”
That means finding “long-term solutions to help people get back to normalcy,” and connecting the homeless with the resources they need to become self-sufficient, she said.
She sees a need for more revenues to revitalize neglected areas of the city, and she’s not afraid of considering new taxes to meet that need, so long as the public has a say.
“I believe that people are OK with investing in our city. Because we all want our city to thrive,” she said.
But she doesn’t support allowing recreational marijuana sales in the city as a potential revenue stream because she doesn’t want to “compromise” her values. She said she’s seen marijuana use have adverse effects on young people, and that allowing shops in the Springs could make it more accessible to kids in the community. “That’s just one bandwagon I’m not going to jump on,” she said.
If elected, she hopes to hold developers to a higher standard to help address the city’s affordable housing shortage. Any time a developer wants to build housing in the city, they should be required to make a percentage of those units affordable for people with low- to mid-income, she said.