2020 Gwinnett County District 1 Commissioner Candidate (Republican)
GPCID Guest Blog Post: Jacqueline Tseng
Introduction: Gwinnett Place CID has asked candidates running for both the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman and the Gwinnett County District One Commissioner to answer several questions explaining their vision for the County and Gwinnett Place.
My husband, Louis, and I live in Duluth with our son, Benjamin. I graduated from Georgia State University and have had a long and successful career both in the public and private sectors and in real estate. I helped my husband build a successful aviation consulting business. I serve my community and volunteer for several local non-profit organizations. As a first-generation refugee, my family and I escaped the Khmer Rouge Genocide in Cambodia and fled to America, where we became naturalized U.S. citizens. Because of my deep love and appreciation toward America and Gwinnett, I want to give back to the country and the county that welcomed me with open arms and keep Gwinnett strong and vibrant for my son Benjamin, and future generations.
Learn more about Jacqueline by clicking here.
Guest Blog Post Questions:
1. Why are you running for District 1 Commissioner?
Answer: I am running for Gwinnett County Commissioner District 1 because I want to serve this county, I have called home for more than two decades. I want to help make sure Gwinnett continues to be a leader in the state of Georgia where both residents and businesses can thrive. I have seen a lot of great transformation in Gwinnett. I have seen many middle-class families moving here within the last two decades, my family included. We moved here because Gwinnett is Great! It has great schools, exceptional parks, and recreational centers, top amenities, cultural diversity, and a robust economy. While Gwinnett has a lot of positive attributes, I also see some challenges that have emerged over time. Those challenges include the decline of the Gwinnett Place Mall area and the growing traffic problem, as well as the ever-increasing property taxes we face as area residents. The Gwinnett Place area has always been where my family enjoys shopping and dining out. Although Gwinnett Place CID is leading the effort to improve the area, so far due to various reasons, we have not seen the improvement that Gwinnett County residents would want it to be. I want to be a part of the solution and be the leader and the facilitator of the success story for the Gwinnett Place Mall area. I believe the community and key stakeholders can come together to overcome those challenges for a revitalized Gwinnett Place area. That requires a leadership that is fair, impartial, and objective and I can bring all of that to the table.
2. Where are your favorite places to spend time in the Gwinnett Place area and why?
Answer: Ever since we moved here in 2000, the Gwinnett Place area has been my family’s favorite place to shop and dine. We love the diverse restaurant selections and the retail shops in the area. We still frequently go out to shop and dine in the area.
3. What do you see as the role of CIDs in Gwinnett, and how would you work with the Gwinnett Place CID, if elected?
Answer: I believe the Gwinnett CIDs should have a leading role in the respective area that it represents in the county’s development. Once elected, I will actively work with, listen to and seek to understand the vision and needs of the CID and collaborate with all members of the community involved to find the best path for a successful outcome for the improvement of Gwinnett County.
4. If elected, will Gwinnett Place be a priority for you? If yes, what is your vision for the Gwinnett Place area?
Answer: Absolutely. The Gwinnett Place area will be a top priority for me. I will work with representatives of Gwinnett Place CID to understand their vision, their plans, and their challenges. I will also work with key stake holders and community leaders to find the best path to overcome and resolve any challenges for a revitalized and reenergized Gwinnett Place area, which would include but not be limited to improved public safety, area attractiveness, and job opportunities.
5. What is your vision for transit in Gwinnett County?
5a. How will you bring transit to Gwinnett Place?
Answer: I will first seek to understand what Gwinnett residents want regarding transit needs and solutions in the county. I will advocate for their choices and what makes the most economical sense.
5b. Do you endorse the Transit Review Committee’s plan submitted to the Board of Commissioners in February?
Answer: I believe the committee has put a lot of thought into the final recommendation and some of the ideas are a logical option for some of the local transportation issues. However, we need to revisit the plan and the funding recommendation due to the budget shortfall caused by COVID-19.
6. Gwinnett Place Mall has extended beyond a local issue to become a national punchline, around the topic of the “dead mall.” How will you address Gwinnett’s dead mall problem?
Answer: This is a multi-tier problem we are facing. A good example of some of the challenges I believe GPCID is experiencing is the unwillingness of the property owners to listen and collaborate. Another challenge for GPCID is the budget issue. Once elected, I want to make sure I can provide the necessary leadership at the Commissioner capacity to help facilitate a successful outcome.
6a. If elected, what would be your plan for the mall site?
Answer: I will support Gwinnett Place CID to lead the effort on public-private partnership development. There are quite a few successful redevelopment models here in metro Atlanta. Some of those focus on entertainment and some focus on high-end retail, but we need to see what would be the best redevelopment model for our area residents.
6b. How will you work with the Gwinnett Place CID to accomplish your plan?
Gwinnett CIDs should have a leading role in the respective area that it represents in Gwinnett County’s development. I will actively work with and listen to and seek to understand the vision and the needs of CIDs and collaborate with those who are involved to find the best path for a revitalized and re-energized Gwinnett Place area.
7. During the last SPLOST, of the $486,343,270 in transportation funding available, the Gwinnett Place area only received $9 million. Had the CID not had a list of potential projects prepared and shared information about transportation needs in the area with SPLOST committee members, it is likely even less in SPLOST transportation funding would have been allocated for the area. How will you ensure greater equity in future SPLOST funding distributions for Gwinnett Place?
Answer: To ensure that Gwinnett Place CID receives greater equity from SPLOST funding, the best solution is to establish a stronger partnership with Gwinnett Place CID and stakeholders to come up with a plan that makes social and economic sense.
8. Gwinnett County and the Gwinnett Place CID collaborated on the ACTivate Gwinnett Place plan focusing on area infrastructure. However, most of the projects outlined in the plan are not fully funded. What is your plan to address this issue and move these projects forward?
Answer: Based on the current plan, we should meet with all the key stakeholders and prioritize each project; only then can we allocate the appropriate resources for the project. However, with this COVID-19 pandemic, it will put a strain on our county’s budget, which highlights my point regarding the importance of having a public-private partnership even more.