I have been an unwavering supporter of education, farmland preservation and protection of our beautiful mountains, and recreation assets.
The answer to this is changing and complex. Since Covid I believe that supporting our local economy so that all communities/families can maintain a reasonable quality of life must be a priority in the next two years. That includes developing loans for small businesses including minority/new businesses and job creation for all those who choose to live in our beautiful mountains. We must do this and still protect and preserve our farmland and mountains. That is one of the reasons I supported investing 10 millions dollars in solar energy on our county buildings including our schools.
You must know your parents and students, visit schools and change as needs develop. Investing in broadband must be a priority for our schools to provide access to ALL families. I have served on the school capital commission and advocated for and supported teacher supplements as well as all pay increase for those neglected(teacher assistants/maintenance,etc.) I have supported funding for a new Asheville Middle, Isaac Dickson Elementary, Enka Intermediate, BC Stem School as well as playgrounds/recreation assets at all schools. We must challenge both school systems to close the achievement gap and stop grading schools based on student improvement not demographics. We also must improve our Career and Technical training in both school systems.
I will continue to make BC an attractive place for families to live here. We must have a sustainable workforce and to have that we must support our job training at all schools especially AB tech. We will need to attract and retain small business, small manufacturers that are sustainable. BC employees make $15/hour+ and we must look for new manufacturers that support our commitment to reasonable pay and growth opportunities. Investing in workforce housing and making ALL forms of home ownership attractive and attainable must be part of our policy making.
There are several priorities that I have supported as commissioner and I will continue to build on these. Opioid awareness; lives are being lost and families torn apart. We must treat the addiction and provide access to break this cycle. Early childhood education makes a difference socially, economically and emotionally. I will continue to expand this program. Provide access to the underserved communities whether its in downtown, candler or west asheville. Link transit to provide access to healthcare and HHS. We must provide homeowner education options for those who wish to move from low income rentals and participate in building equity and financial stability. Provide and expand housing options through education and funding.
I am running because I want to translate my knowledge of policy and ongoing local government experience, and put that to work for Buncombe County.
Growth. By 2040 our region is expected to add 178,000 people -- nearly doubling our population. We haven't handled past growth well and at this rate the negative impacts will be a thousand times worse than what we've already seen. The good news is that with the right leadership we can implement sound policies that will deliver affordable housing; better protection of rivers, streams, mountains, farmland, and other ecologically sensitive areas; and safe, reliable infrastructure. I am ready to lead the 2020 Comprehensive Land Use Planning process for our County. relying with my extensive training and experience in land use planning, zoning, permitting, budgeting, and renewable energy.
Joint public & private investment in pre-K education. Because investment in each child's first 2000 days creates the best outcomes in education, health, and economic well-being for the child for a lifetime, which also benefits the community. Policies & funding: Pursue public + private partnerships and grants to provide wraparound services to students (social workers, nurses, psychologists, counselors) and let teachers teach. Maintain teacher Supplemental Pay. (Disclosure: My wife is a teacher.) Community + business + schools partnerships to cultivate greater pride and support for learning and knowledge-sharing among all ages and sectors. High school and adult apprenticeship programs to support hands-on learners and launch well-paying careers.
To promote our economy we must protect our environment, invest in infrastructure and climate resiliency, and invest in quality pre-K for all children. Those policies are the foundation for our community to attract and keep companies that will want to make long-term investments in our county and offer high-paying jobs. Those policies allow us plan, with sustainability and natural resources front of mind, so that our people and economy can thrive, with long-term goals of reducing poverty and under-employment, and increasing median wages and as well as increasing the competitive minimum wage. Those policies also enable our workforce, especially women and single parents, to be ready and able to pursue steady work and careers without stress or work interruption due to the (lack of) availability and quality of early childhood education and care.
I support the vision for a safe, healthy, and engaged community. That will require investing in and ensuring we are delivering high-quality, accessible social services to all people to promote public health, safety, and equal opportunity. I support sound oversight to ensure we use funding efficiently to fill the gap for basic services including family planning, STD testing and treatment, immunizations, WIC, and environmental health services. I support our county strategically partnering with effective nonprofits to help people in need, such as facing food insecurity, opioid and other addictions, homelessness, mental health issues, medical issues, financial instability, violence, and sudden impacts of climate change. I feel we can benefit from interdisciplinary task forces to better focus on emergent issues before they reach crisis level. I support the collaborative work of our Family Justice Center and focused services for special populations including Veterans and their families, child victims of abuse or neglect, and seniors needing adult protective services.