We have been aloof and not protected our natural resources. We need to build more programs and creat more awareness of the need to conserve our water.
I hope The District provides a connection to the counties' rural and farm region residents. We must stress our continued reed for soil conservation. We must provide the necessary information and funding for non-profit groups and schools on how to best conserve and protect our water supply--both for agriculture use and for drinking supplies. Soil and Water Districts need strategic plans for communicating with and educating our young people by focusing on groups like 4H Clubs, Boys and Girls Clubs, and Scouting Groups.
I would use the resources of our agriculture agents and our agricultural universities for my own education as a Supervisor. This outreach can and should include info from all areas and not just farming areas. I am fortunate to be in Raleigh where NCSU, a leading land grant university, is located. Let me add that I am not a stranger to farming. I lived in rural areas of South Carolina. I worked on a tobacco farm and a blueberry farm of family friends. But time has changed rural America.
We must create a greater awareness of how what goes into our rivers upstream affects towns and people downtream . In the case of Wake County that means considering those along the Neuse River Basin. Our high school and even middle school students need hands on and eyes on experience outside the schools' classrooms to fully understand this. Wake's' S&W District staff can facilitate this. They are now, on a limited scale, but I would like to see more of this collaboration.
I believe it is not just education and specialized knowledge that makes for a good public servant. It is also our vision and values.
I have often been described as a passionate person. In my own paid and volunteer work for persons with disabilities and as a health advisor, I was not intimidated by those who wanted to take more than their fair share politically or economically. I would use my experience in advocacy and representation of those often overlooked in the political process in my role as a Supervisor.
As an advocate for the Mentally Ill, I was given a 'Hero in the Fight Award." I am greatly honored by that description. I believe the best way to govern is to govern openly and with maximum public inclusion and involvement. It would be my goal to inform my work by seeking input from many sources and limiting my role to oversight and not micro-management. I would seek out the pros and cons of an issue. I would weigh them based on my best information. Then I would keep the public's. benefits uppermost in my decision-making.
My college training was in business and economics. I had a favorite professor who challenged me not to think that the ends justify the means. He also emphasized critical thinking. "Always test the assumptions of a proposal," he said. I still strive to live up to those words of wisdom. I would try to remember his advice as a public official.
I am just learning the particulars of the programs now in .place. But generally we know farmers face increasing pressure to leave their farmland and sell it to developers. There will be a continuing need for farms and forests conservation. We need.more, not less, fresh food supplies near our large population centers. people need a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit. Wake County has used funds to preserve green space. But Soil and Water Conservation will be greatly needed as more and more rapid population growth continues.
We will need new measures and new thinking to deal with the pressures of additional Wake County residents. With a recent population growth rate of 25% the demands on our farms and on our water supplies are increasing rapidly, too. Maintaining a proper balance between growth and conservation will not come easily. I would like to be in a position to help Wake County residents in dealing with that problem.
I cannot answer this, as I am not an incumbent. I think the sad thing about my answer is that the work of the Soil and Water District is so obscure to the General Public.
My first goal will be to learn more about funding for Wake County's District and the funding sources for the District. I have worked with government long enough to know that is where the decisions are really made--the budget. I cannot accomplish any of my policy goals without winning the support of fellow Supervisors and gaining support for funding those projects for which I seek funding.
What I try to do is seek out relationships with peers and with others. I want relationships with those whose ideas I can easily find agreement with, and those whose ideas may be very different. I believe relationships are what make it possible to "reach across the aisle." I am not a superb deal-maker. But, I will strive to reach the best decisions for my constituency. Regardless of my personal opinions.
I will focus on the educational aspect of the Wake District's vision amd mission. I will learn what has worked in other urban districts in North Carolina and in other states. Then with public and staff input I will seek to find the best ways to adapt those programs to the needs our county. Hopefully, my fellow Wake Supervisors will support me in that approach
We all deserve access to clean air, clean water, and safe food. I will represent your voice to nurture our land.
The Wake Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) exists to serve landowners and land users in managing, soil, water, plants, and wildlife effectively. The county's department staff is made up of conservationists and environmental educators who execute the vision set by the Board of Supervisors. The role of the supervisors is to maintain and build new relationships between the SWCD and its residents, including local farmers, schools, businesses, and landowners. They help direct the efforts of the staff based on their recommendations, and they assist with promoting and executing the department's programming, from the Big Sweep litter cleanup to the Envirothon competition. I believe the supervisors should be the face of the SWCD, facilitating communication and outreach between the staff and the community at large. Furthermore, the supervisors need to be forward thinking; the work the district does will impact the future of generations to come. To that extent, a lot of planning and coordination with other county departments and municipalities is an absolute must. If elected, you wouldn't find me behind the desk very often; it would be much more likely to find me in the field or forest engaging in hands-on conservation work alongside the staff!
I have been engaged in conservation work and environmental advocacy for nearly my entire life, starting when I first joined the Cub Scouts following all the way through to my current occupation as field organizer with the League of Conservation Voters. In my recent years, I have directed campaigns and managed staff to protect some of our nation’s greatest natural areas and conservation programs, like the Land and Water Conservation Fund. I have met with lawmakers, community members, stakeholders, and small business owners to receive their input and offer my own on a number of issues, such as plastic use reduction, protecting pollinators, and implementing forest conservation policy to hold developers accountable for clear-cut tracts. I have managed budgets, set goals for staff and priorities for offices, and motivated teams to exceed their goals.
As part of my undergraduate education, I conducted a nationwide research project of the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) and each state’s legislatures to determine the relationship between toxic releases reported and proposed environmental legislation in all 50 states. I graduated from Elon University in 2016 with my B.A. in Political Science.
I have also volunteered over the years with a number of environmental groups working on watershed protection projects, wetland restoration efforts, oyster gardening, litter cleanups, and advocacy days with state legislators.
As Wake’s population continues to increase, so do the number of natural resource concerns the county will face as a result of increased use and development. People call Wake County home because of the high quality of life offered to residents. We have access to lakes and creeks and the Neuse River, and enjoy a wide range of wildlife in our natural areas. Part of what makes major population centers attractive is access to pristine parks for recreation and scenic open space; healthy, locally-grown foods and a healthy economy; and great schools that foster a child’s lifelong desire to learn. However, this same access is contributing to the loss of farmland and forest at an alarming rate. This is an important consideration as our population in Wake County continues to become younger, and perhaps this suggests how we should approach the next generation about engaging in non-traditional agriculture (i.e. community gardens, work in food deserts, etc.) and in prioritizing county funding for departments which protect water quality, rural vistas, and local foods. Encouraging and educating the public to engage in urban agriculture and community gardening on smaller plots of land will be critical to the work of the SWCD in coming years.
Wake County SWCD exceeds expectations when it comes to conservation planning and the installation of best management practices (BMPs) on farms. In 2018, the staff delivered excellent customer service to Wake County’s farm community by writing USDA conservation plans for 1,511.91 acres and implementing BMPs on 4,523.42 acres which protected water quality and improved soil health. The Natural Resource Conservationists assisted farmers and landowners by visiting 582 farm tracts, wrote 29 contracts
for financial assistance and encumbered $292,714 in state and federal funding. The conservationists designed and installed 47 best management practices, providing $295,005 in cost share funds to Wake County farm and farm landowners. As problems arise with intense weather-related events, the district has been receiving more requests for assistance from farmers. For that matter, the district was awarded $100,000 in relief funds after Hurricane Matthew for a stream restoration project in Wake Forest. This sort of disaster assistance and resiliency planning is the kind of forward thinking we need for our communities as we face the challenges of climate change.
It is incumbent for us all to protect our most valuable natural resources: clean healthy water and safe healthy viable soils.I stand with this belief.
The job of the Soil and Water Supervisor is to govern the scientific and technical expertise used in maintaining the and protecting our healthy water quality. It is my mission to create and manage the process of having and maintaining safe watershed and to engage our rapidly growing number of citizens, here in Wake County, in this process.
I believe I bring familiarity and experience to the table. I have spent nearly 50 years here in Wake county and I have currently served eight years with the Wake County Soil and Water Conservation District, While here, I have provided innovative leadership and helped in the management of the Wake County Natural resources in this changing environment.
One of the most pressing needs right now in Wake County, like other areas in the US today, is the continued availability of safe and healthy quality and quantities of water. With the growing number of new residents and businesses in the Wake County area, it is incumbent that our citizens engage in protecting our water and safe areas, so that it is always a safe place and our resources are available for all our citizens in Wake County.
One of the most effective services is the protection of our watersheds. Keeping them safe and healthy is a mission in the effort to maintain the quality of our water. It is also the mission of the entire Wake County Soil and Water District to conserve and preserve the soil, water and all Wake County natural resources.
I promise to serve the public and fulfill the role to the very best of my abilities all while remaining open and accessible.
The job of Soil and Water Supervisor is a unique role in local/county government. The Board of Supervisors does not have regulatory authority (we can't make anyone do anything). However, I'm used to being a leader and not a manager so I'm excited to work to build common sense consensus based solutions related to safeguarding our county's natural resources. Statutorily, Supervisors are responsible for managing a professional staff that supports landowners, farmers, homeowners, municipalities, businesses, universities, non-profits and schools in project funding/design, stewardship and education. They also are given broad governmental authority to advocate, inform, sign contracts and agreements as well as fund-raise for conservation. I look forward to partnering with all stakeholders to ensure that each group has a better understanding of the role of the Supervisor in supporting them as it relates to their desire and/or requirements for implementing best practices around soil and water conservation efforts.
Personally, I commit to being an accessible and responsive public servant. I want to boost the presence of the District and further engage the community by doubling down on educational programs offered to local schools. I'd also like to work closer with the County Commission and municipal governing bodies to better identify areas of land and water resources in the county to proactively protect through grants, park planning and individual/estate dedications.
I am a masters educated public administrator currently enrolled in a doctoral program. I understand good governance and effective policy and budgeting in the public sector. My time as a town councilman in my hometown of Apex served me well in further honing my skill set. As a public educator, I am acutely aware of the necessity of building community and incorporating various viewpoints, backgrounds and philosophy when leading an organization to serve a diverse populous like Wake County.
I have an understanding of property rights and the land use/planning processes currently used in Wake County and many local municipalities.
I am excited to use my experience as an educator to further develop the educational component of the Soil and Water Conservation Board of Supervisors programming. I look forward to leading an effort to get Supervisors and staff members into schools to discuss the benefits of safeguarding open space, protecting water resources, recycling, farming, gardening and engaging in recreation responsibly.
As the founder and president of a local non-profit supporting at-risk youth in Wake County, I look forward to engaging traditionally marginalized community members through various additional programming relating to community gardens, urban waterways and community service opportunities with the possibility of paid stipends.
Wake County has and will continue to experience population growth. The current COVID-19 pandemic serves as a prime example of the importance of open space and natural resource preservation. Many citizens greatly benefited (physically and mentally) from spending time in nature during this time. After all, for weeks it was one of the only safe, healthy and allowable pleasurable activities. Without oversight and incentives our precious open space and waterways will be bulldozed or turned into underground drainage. Long-range planning from the District is important to purposefully identify plots of land and bodies of water to deliberately protect through grants, collaboration with municipalities, the county parks department, businesses and schools. After all, undisturbed natural resources are one thing that we can't make more of!
Additionally, pollution and dumping/littering in the areas surrounding our roads is a major problem in Wake County. The amount of trash along our roadways is embarrassing and casts the entire area in a negative light Aside from the environmental impact, trash suggests that we are a community "that doesn't care." Left unchecked, even this seemingly small problem can compound. Since the NC DOT and municipalities don't seem to be adequately addressing this core function of government, I plan to seek out grants and/or business funding to get it cleaned up and follow up with an educational campaign aimed at preventing the trash from accumulating again.
The professional staff of the Wake County Soil and Water Conservation District do an excellent job administering grant programs from the federal and state governments that incentive environmental stewardship. Their collaboration with agricultural extension agents is also to be commended. Large corporate farming operations and family farms alike report that they feel supported by the District. However, I'm interested in ensuring that homeowners, schools and other individuals are better informed about the services the District provides.