Regina I. Hill
Are you a member of the Rainbow Democrats of Orange County? (Y/N)
Are you a member of the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus? (Y/N)
Are you a member of the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee (DEC)? (Y/N)
Please list any other LGBTQ+ organizations you are affiliated with and any donations you have given.
I was proud to have received an endorsement from Equality Florida for my campaign. I have also worked with Bliss Cares and the Zebra Coalition.
Please summarize your history of community involvement. This may include city boards, civic associations, non-profits, etc.
Caribbean Health Summit; Co-Chair
Salvation Army Advisory Board; Board Member
Courtney Project; Honorary Board Member
National League of Cities; Honorary Board Member
Please summarize the work you have performed in the past five years to further LGBTQ+ rights.
I have been a staunch supporter of the City of Orlando’s Human Rights Ordinance that prohibits discrimination against the gay and transgender community in the workplace, in housing, and other public accommodations. I believe we must support our friends within the LGBTQ+ community in all environments, that being social and professional. I have worked with in my community to ensure that all those in need feel safe and protected; while also opening up my office to those in need of any services. Additionally, I have helped raise funds for the Zebra Coalition and Bliss Cares which assist lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender residents.
What motivated you to run for this position?
What is motivating me to run for re-election to the Orlando City Commission, District 5 is to continue the great work we have made throughout my last eight years in office. During my tenure, my office has spearheaded many projects including the City of Orlando Blueprint, Turner School of Construction Job Training, Parramore Comprehensive Neighborhood Plans (Church Street Renewal), Parramore Village, Community Gardens, Wells Built House Rehabilitation, and the Parramore Lymmo BRT Project. I have many more projects underway and goals to accomplish to continue helping those in need across my district. I want to continue my service and see it through.
What does being an ally or advocate for the LGBTQ+ community mean to you?
Being an ally or advocate for the LGBTQ+ community to me means to practice what I preach. I believe that when I say I am a staunch supporter of the City of Orlando’s Human Rights Ordinance, I have a responsibility to those within my district to act on it. I must do this by creating a community and office that is open to everyone while creating safe places for everyone to live/work free of discrimination. I also help provide funding/raise funds for organizations that support the cause of helping the LGBTQ+ Community.
Have you attended an LGBTQ+ Pride Month celebration or Orlando’s Come Out With Pride? (Y/N)
Yes, I have had a great time attending Orlando’s Come Out With Pride with Mayor Dyer and Commissioner Sheehan.
How would you ensure that your office celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride Month?
I think that one of the best ways to celebrate LGBTQ+ Month is by being a proactive advocate. While attending community functions and events, I have made my support for the LGBTQ+ clear to my constituents and continue to preach what I believe. I have also created an open office that helps and accepts any constituents in need of local resources.
Will you ensure that you and your staff receive competency training on the LGBTQ+ community, emphasizing unconscious bias?(Y/N)
Would you condemn instances of hate speech in your organization and the community at large?(Y/N)
What steps will you take to increase your office’s visibility with the LGBTQ+ community, including encouraging voting participation?
My strategy regarding office visibility within the LGBTQ+ Community is to attend public functions and events put on around the district and make my position/voice known to my community. I also partner with other Commissioners across district lines to show Orlando we are united with the LGBTQ+ community and stand as advocates.
As an Orlando City Commissioner, how would you support creating an LGBTQ+ Advisory Board that would act as a direct link between the City of Orlando and the LGBTQ+ community?
I would encourage the LGBTQ+ community along with allied advocates to come to city hall to listen in on our meetings and have detailed discussions on what we could do more of. I believe that the best way to advocate is to be at the meetings. I would support an Advisory Board and would support the creation of it be like my District 5 Youth Advisory Board.
Research performed by True Colors United found that 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ+. Reasons for this include abuse and family rejection of a youth’s sexual orientation or gender identity. What immediate actions would you take as an Orlando City Commissioner to reduce and prevent homelessness amongst LGBTQ+ youth?
I would continue my work on providing housing options to all those in need across District 5. I have advocated and helped create the City’s Housing First Innovative that has covered 70% of the rent for more than 380 of our district’s most vulnerable residents. Along with also working with the Orlando Union Rescue Mission that brought transitional apartments to District Five. So, along with creating more housing options for those in need, my office helps bring in along with goes out to those in need to help provide resources. I plan to continue this into my third term. I will also continue my work with the Zebra Coalition to provide housing services to displace LGBTQ+ youth members. I have helped raise funds in the past, and I plan on continuing that work.
Where do you believe the focus should be for Orlando in preparing for and preventing the damaging effects of climate change?
We need to continue investing in renewable green energy resources along with clean public transportation options. First, my office has helped secure $3.5 million in federal funds for the Orlando Walks Citywide sidewalk project which supports pedestrian transportation movements that can lower reliance on automotive vehicles. While my office has also advocated and secured a $1.9 million investment into Raleigh Street Sewer improvements. This project, which was completed in June, has replaced the water and expanded the sanitary sewer lines helping to keep our environment’s water clean. Furthermore, I also believe park beautification is extremely important locally to prevent climate change which is why I helped foster a public-private partnership that invested $9.5 million in renovating Lake Lorna Doone Park.
A recent study found that the Orlando metropolitan area has the 8th highest wage gap in the nation. The estimated hourly wage is $12.94, but the wage required to afford a one-bedroom apartment in Orlando is $23.60. What actions would you take as Orlando City Commissioner to decrease this wage gap and promote affordable living in Orlando?
Along with creating over 1,400 new affordable single and multifamily units to District Five since 2016, and a thousand more planned within the next two years, I have also advocated for small business and high wage job growth. I was proud work alongside the creation of a Valencia College facility in the Parramore area which hosts an Accelerated Skills Training Program helping residents prepare for high-demand, higher-wage careers. I have also advocated for over 2 million dollars in annual investments to assist small and minority-owned businesses. Finally, I have also helped bring the Orlando STRIVE Program and Black Orlando Tech Initiative to District 5 helping to expand economic development. These projects and initiatives will continue to decrease this wage gap and promote affordable living in Orlando.
Building upon the previous question, single-parent households faces even higher costs of living due to childcare. This further exasperates the wage gap, making raising a family in Orlando nearly impossible. What actions would you take as Orlando City Commissioner to help struggling parents and make Orlando an affordable place for families?
Further, I plan to continue working with developers to provide affordable housing options for single parent families with new additions of the Creative Village Project. Additionally, between millions of dollars in investments for job growth and job training programs, we are creating a District 5 that will continue to provide high wage job opportunities to those in need and proper training programs to those who need additionally education to obtain the job. I am also proud to sponsor many community job fair events to help the public find a job that matches their skillset.
Despite mental illness among adults and children being at an all-time high, Florida ranks next to last on per capita spending on mental health programs. Mental illness, if left untreated, can lead to suffering, homelessness, and death. What are both your immediate and long-term plans for addressing this epidemic in Orlando?
Immediately and long-term I plan to continue engaging with constituents in community events where I can help those in my community by offering resources of my office to help in ways that best fit their needs. Additionally, I support and will continue to advocate for more mental health programs to exist in District 5. I believe that a way we can increase the number of programs is by allocating more city funds to the creation of said programs. I have also helped allocate city funds to Pulse victims and families who suffer from mental trauma and illness.
2021 has been a record year in terms of political attacks against transgender and non-binary communities. Ron DeSantis signed a trans youth sports ban in Florida, the most anti-LGBTQ+ law Florida has seen in over 20 years. Despite this, studies show that 62% of Americans are more supportive of transgender rights than they were five years ago. What programs do you envision for the City of Orlando that could educate residents about transgender and non-binary people, reduce incidents of hate and violence, and ultimately further transgender rights?
I believe that we ought to host community panels and events focused on education around transgender and non-binary people within the community. These events should should be hosted by the office and organizations to help inform constituents instead of spreading hate and lies through demoralizing bills. I think that the ultimate way to educate is through panel and open discussion where residents can ask questions in a safe place and we can all become more informed together.