Like so many of the residents in Mount Vernon, Lauren Carter is concerned about poor city services, corruption, the uptick in violence, and so much more. “The issues that plague Mount Vernon are challenging and serious”, she notes. “These problems must be solved by competent and serious officials,” she told UMERADIO.
Lauren worked for the city for close to two (2) decades in the Planning Department and in the City Clerk’s Office. Her experience uniquely qualifies her to help “move the city in the right direction”. But who is Lauren Carter?
In a get-to-know-you interview with UMERADIO on Monday, April 5, 2021, Lauren described herself as a parent, planner, and professional who is PASSIONATE about her community. She talked about her PURPOSE as a servant leader and discussed her PLAN to tackle the challenges the City currently faces in order to set it in the “right direction” for growth and prosperity.
When asked, how do others see you? She noted, trustworthy, efficient, diligent, responsible, dependable, knowledgeable, and cooperative.
“I want the voters to know that I am looking to continue my decades-long service to the community, just in a different way. I'm not looking to get rich… I am not seeking a title… I am not attempting to become famous… I am a Democrat running for city council and I just want to help improve my city.”
As a true daughter of the soil, Lauren recalls times when the Mount Vernon community was the model of diversity and productivity.
The late Heavy D’ coined the phrase, “Money Earnin’ Mount Vernon”. Progress, she told us, was the “essence of our community and I truly desire to see our city return to its former state of glory.”
Being raised in this community Lauren’s academics span the Mount Vernon public schools. After graduating from Mount Vernon High School, she matriculated at New York University.
“I took a hiatus to have my twin daughters and I continued my studies at Fordham University where I obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree, cum laude, in English and Political Science. Currently, I am earning an Executive Master of Urban Planning (EMUP) from the University of Southern California, the nation’s #2 ranked school for public policy.”
“I am frequently asked what influenced my decision to run for city council. It’s a fair question and one that should be answered by every candidate. I credit my decision to the very citizens I intend to serve.”
“Over the last several years, many residents would say to me, “Lauren, we need someone who knows what they are doing, [and] has integrity, why don't you run”? And because I worked for the city during that time, I would brush off the calls for me to run and really didn’t focus on them. However, with the growing number of appeals for me to serve as an elected official came numerous complaints such as the need to replace poor leadership with competent leadership. I also heard grievances about public safety matters, criticism of the deterioration of quality of life for residents, as well as gripes about the lack of enforcement of the city code-all which have been contributing factors to the city’s decline.”
After her separation from the city in February of 2020, residents continued to urge Lauren to return to civic duty to represent their voices as a decision-maker.
“My decision to heed the pleas of the city’s stakeholders was based on a combination of events. Protests demanding an end to police brutality and the need for police reform following George Floyd’s death were one such event. There had been protests in Mount Vernon but there were no calls for reform or community meetings. When I witnessed elected officials demonstrating, knowing that they had the authority to enact change, I asked myself, “Why are they protesting”? Then it occurred to me that they too were seeking solutions. After the protests, an incident regarding a local law enforcement officer occurred that hit close to home. I knew that reform would start at the local level and I knew the process to get it done. During the lockdowns, I had taken time to pray and reflect and this incident was the “confirmation” I needed to make this journey on the road to the city council.”
Mount Vernon has been headed in a backward direction for quite some time, Lauren told us. The decline, she states, is evident as reflected in the sewer system leaking waste into residents’ homes and businesses and polluting their water sources.
“Streets and sidewalks are in disrepair. There is an aging fleet of vehicles and equipment with no credit rating to bond for new items. Quality of life is deteriorating by occurrences such as rat infestation. The devastation of violence has pained families. There is constant littering…the lamentations continue.”
“I am well-versed in the city charter and the city code. I know how Mount Vernon was organized to operate, I have ideas on how we can improve city operations, and I know the process to get it done. I have the PURPOSE, PASSION, and PLAN to move the city in the right direction.”
Lauren has received endorsement from Mount Vernon Democratic City Committee, New York State Working Families Party, and former councilmember, James Jubilee.
“I have embarked on a journey; it is the road to the city council. Let us unite on this road together…indeed, it is OUR journey. That’s why I am asking YOU to join this movement that is going to move Mount Vernon in the right direction!"