I want Alamance County to be the place where young people will want to settle, have successful careers, and raise their families.
For me, the most serious issue is to strengthen our public education system. An excellent school system will provide the foundation required for a strong and prosperous Alamance County. All our children deserve the best opportunities to succeed, regardless of skin color, where one lives, or individual circumstances. A good education leads to better jobs, higher incomes, better health, and lower demand for public services such as social services, welfare, and the criminal justice system. When our kids succeed, we all succeed. I envision an education system so good that it will attract career-type jobs, attract and retain the best teachers, and prepare all our kids for great careers. Counties are responsible for funding facilities, teacher pay supplements, and certain other operational expenses. I will work hard to understand the ABSS budgetary needs and advocate for adequate funding that is targeted at the highest priorities identified by the system’s strategic plan. I will also find ways to work with the Board of Education to build mutual trust. Knowing that it takes a village to educate our kids, I will work to rally our community around the need to support our schools, and work with various community groups, especially through Alamance Achieves, to help our kids be successful, from cradle to career. I will seek ways to support early childhood development and efforts to eliminate adverse childhood experiences.
1) 4 years as an Alamance County Commissioner – I understand how local government works and how to get things done. I know that as a commissioner I must represent the entire community and not just those who voted for me, casting my votes for what I believe is in the best interest for everyone. 2) 35 years as a senior healthcare executive with Alamance Regional Medical Center – I understand how to think strategically, manage budgets (our budget was twice that of the county’s), collaborate, build relationships and build bridges, and work with all kinds of people. 3) Extensive community service working with groups focused on public education, poverty, racial equity, economic development, health and mental health, the elderly, youth, the arts, public transportation, and more. I understand our community, its issues and needs, and its resources, especially in the human services arena. 4) Education and Professional Training and Certifications - Master of Health Administration degree (Duke); BS degree in music education (Penn State); former Registered Respiratory Therapist; former Licensed Nursing Home Administrator; Life Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives - all of these are very relevant and invaluable in serving as a county commissioner.
Providing local funding for ABSS is the function of county government. Determining what funding is needed is the job of the Board of Education. Therefore, there must be a good working relationship between the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Education that is mutually respectful and trusting, where each board understands the needs, challenges, and constraints of the other. During my term as commissioner, I started the liaison program between the two boards to promote this working relationship. Since the county and ABSS budgets have already been set for the 2020-21 fiscal year, there likely will have to be budget amendments to meet the changing funding needs associated with remote learning/teaching. State government also has a role in funding our schools, so we all need to work together. One need that became sorely exposed in the COVID-19 environment is that of broadband coverage in many places in the county. Solving this highly regulated issue will take collaboration among federal, state, and local governments. While remote learning/teaching will not replace the onsite, in-person experience after the COVID-19 crisis is over, its value has been demonstrated and it will continue to supplement in-person teaching. Continued resources will be needed to support it as a part of our normal budgetary processes.
Supporting our public education system is the best way to prepare our residents for the future. This includes supporting Alamance Community College and the Alamance-Burlington School System individually and in the programs they do together, such as the Career Accelerator Program and the Early College Program. It is also important to attract high-paying, career-type jobs to Alamance County, so that those who are prepared for such jobs can obtain them without leaving the county. Supporting the NC Works (www.ncworks.gov) program is also important. This public/private partnership does a wonderful job at connecting residents to job training, employers, career assistance, and application assistance through their local career centers, including one in Alamance County. Finally, supporting Alamance Achieves is important as it works with community resources outside of schools so our kids can be successful in our schools and beyond, from cradle to career.
Having had a career in healthcare administration, I greatly respect nurses and know firsthand their importance in a variety of settings including schools. Nurses have become, in addition to their normal clinical roles, social workers, psychologists, supporters, advocates, and care managers to our students, helping to take the burden off our teachers in providing these roles. Nurses are invaluable in helping to identify abusive situations adversely affecting our kids and to bring in needed resources accordingly. Investing in having a nurse in every school will help make our teachers more effective and will help ensure the safety and well-being of each of our students. The COVID-19 crisis has reinforced my view for having more nurses in our schools.
I believe that members of our community who immigrated here from other countries, whether documented or not, are vibrant members of our community economically, socially, and culturally. Not only do many start businesses and create jobs, they provide the necessary workforce for jobs across the spectrum, from management positions to essential workers, while paying their share of taxes. They also expose the rest of us, especially our children, to different cultural perspectives that help our community to be successful on the global stage and in the global economy. The biggest challenges our DACA recipients face are 1) living with the fear that the DACA program may end at any time, and 2) the fear that undocumented, close family members and friends may be deported. These fears lead to productivity and safety issues as many members avoid visible activity and necessary encounters with law enforcement. To combat these challenges, we need immigration reform at the federal level that makes it easier for immigrants to obtain documented status as well as to have clear paths to citizenship. Local governments should advocate for such reform. We should ensure, through policies and enforcement, to the extent allowed by law, that all residents, regardless of their immigration status, national origin, or skin color, should have equal access to all government services, education, and employment opportunities without prejudice or bias, and be treated with respect.
It is time to have serious community-wide conversations about county-wide zoning. Alamance County is one of the few counties in North Carolina without it. Being situated between two growing metropolitan areas, the Triangle and the Triad, and being adjacent to two counties that have mega site developments under way, Alamance County will be under extreme pressure to accommodate new spin-off and related industries from those areas. Having observed the debate surrounding the proposed Stone Quarry in Snow Camp, I believe it is best that we plan how we want our county to develop rather than to just let it happen. We must balance industrial growth by protecting our natural and agricultural resources. Our county is rich with parks, trails, waterways, and farmland that help define who we are. Once they are gone, they are gone forever. During my term as commissioner, I heard many times from individual farmers and the Farm Bureau their concerns about farmland being taken over by industrial and subdivision growth. Zoning is an effective way to plan our growth and protect our natural resources and our farmland. I believe a zoning plan can be created with extensive input from a broad base of community stakeholders that balances the need of some property owners who demand full control over the future of their properties with the need of the community at large to bring high paying career-type jobs while protecting our natural resources and enhancing the quality of life for everyone.
" If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair." Shirley Chisholm
I see the lack of representation in local goverment hurting us all. Not just being black but also being working class, female and formerly criminal justice involved matters. Our current goverment is missing representation for all the people who actually live in the county. Decisions being made must comsider how it will affect everyone. We all matter...black, brown, working class, poor, female, etc. Diversity works for us all. It allows people who may not understand to see issues from another lens. Race and class matters. I am not afraid to have the difficult conversations that others may avoid for the sake of comfortably. I will address the areas of our county and even some of our school facilities that have been neglected for many years. Many in these communities have given up and don't engage in local government. I will try to get them engaged in the politcal scene in Alamance County. I will ensure that we stay in contact with the public by understanding sometimes we may need to go to them , not the other way around. Some think people don't care, I don't think that, I feel most care but are in survival mode. I understand being in survival mode. I was there for many years.
I am new to politics but not people. I spent 20 + years in early childhood education and I know how important it is in the future success of a child. I also have had first hand experience with most of the services within the county. I have been a resident, as a child and a parent, of public housing, used WIC, EBT, Medicaid, Food Banks and other services. I have been educated in public schools from Kindergarten to earning my AAS degree at Alamance Community College. These experience have given me a wealth of lived experience that is valuable to local goverment. I also have worked in the community for many years as an activist. I have advocated for social justice reform and homelessness. Both of which I have also experienced personally.
In light of the recent need for remote learning we must make sure that our education budget is fully funded to ensure that schools are being equitable to all students and can come up with innovative ideas to address the digital divide. This may call for an amendment to the current budget. Reassessment of line items may be needed to shift funds from one area to be sure our schools are well equipped to prepare for remote learning. It is important that we keep up with technology as well. This may cause an increase in spending. When preparing budgets we must make sure this cost is built in.
I think as a county we could continue to deepen our relationship with the local community college. We could come up with new shadowing programs to go along with existing programs. The county may also look at providing shadowing opportunities with upcoming graduating high school students, some of which may not have plans for college after graduation.
There Is a great need for each school to have one nurse. Prior to COVID this was a need, but schools often shared nurses. This places the responsibility on medication and health checks on other school personnel who may not have had adequate training for this. Many children have health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, allergies, asthma, ADHD or some other ailment requiring medication during school hours. Now with COVID, there is an increase need for nurses. Nurses will be needed to plan an execute a health plan in case a student or staff becomes ill. Also the nurses will be instrumental when children return to school to ensure everyone is well.
DACA recipients are a very important part of this country and even our county. As a county, we should support DACA recipients. DACA limits the immediate threats of deportation. It also allows access to driver's license and other important identification documents. It also will provide recipients with access to education and with safe, dignified working environments. These things are all strengths to add to the economy.
This is an area that I am still researching. Currently my though process is that county wide zoning could possibly limit new forms of businesses that could help grow our overall economy. As my knowledge is this area grows, I may have a change in that thought process.
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My family, scouting,and church all encouraged me to leave the world a better place than when I found it. This is the philosophy which directs my life.
The most serious issue facing our community is the need to make Alamance County an attractive place to live, work and raise a family. This includes supporting and revitalizing our school system to meet constantly evolving student and business needs, attracting new businesses that will provide higher paying jobs and increase the tax base, supporting our law enforcement in order to provide safety for our community, and developing cultural and recreational opportunities to make it easier for people to discover their “ideal life” within Alamance County. However, we must find resources and use innovative thinking to help us accomplish these goals without constantly placing a higher burden on taxpayers. 1. Establish a schedule to meet with all departments in which I will be updated on their needs, concerns, and progress on current projects. 2. Be accessible to voters by phone, email, Facebook, or personal appointments. Go to the voters. Encourage more access by citizens to Commissioner Board Meetings. 3. Continue to participate in committees and community events 4. Maintain close contact with the Alamance Capital Oversight Committee 5. Schedule periodic meetings with ABSS, ACC, & Elon administrators to encourage a coordination of effort. 6. Work to locate grants for funding of special projects 7. Work with the County Manager’s Office through the Public Information Officer to showcase our county’s strengths to attract business interests.
BA Business Administration Elon University Juris Doctorate Wake Forest University Married 46 years-4 children, 6 grandchildren Eagle Scout & Order of the Arrow Business Owner-successful law practice 46 years-resolving client issues after listening to their concerns Past President Alamance Co. Bar Association Past Chairman Alamance Co. Board of Elections Past Chairman Alamance Mental Health Board Burlington City Schools PTA President-school & district Youth Soccer, Softball & Basketball coach Hospice volunteer Past Elon Alumni Board member ALCOVETS member Alamance Civitan Past President Award My Strengths: Finance/accounting knowledge Contract law & business negotiations Goal focused problem solving Fiscally responsible
I feel that the ABSS Board of Education, technology staff, and instructional staff are the appropriate entities to manage all facets of training and equipping students, teachers, and families for the expanded use of remote learning. However, for remote learning to be a reasonable substitute for in-class instruction, we must be able to provide adequate, equitable, and affordable Wi-Fi access throughout Alamance County. Currently there are areas with very limited internet access. This lack of access makes it difficult for families to take advantage of the remote learning lessons.
As a County Commissioner, I will work to create or expand partnerships between our school system, internet providers, the NC Department of Information Technology, and other private businesses. The goal of these partnerships will be to identify the needed internet access options. Expanded access will also make it possible for residents to work from home more effectively and will make our county a more attractive place to live.
I will continue to support our public schools and ACC. After the election, I plan to meet with county departments, educational providers, and business leaders to better determine the needs and the assets within our county.
I have visited programs in several several localities where educational, business, and governmental leaders have worked together to find impressive solutions. These leaders have combined their expertise to create training programs that produce workers with the specific skills needed for the current and future local job market. Because of the success of these initiatives, their communities are growing economically, students are able to see a new purpose in education, and young people are no longer leaving their communities to find a better life. I truly believe that Alamance County has an opportunity to achieve similar success in developing future employees.
I have always recognized the importance of having a school nurse in each of our schools. The COVID 19 pandemic has further emphasized the need.
Our children are our highest priority as a community. Usually, a large percentage of their time is spent in a school setting and their safety is undeniably important
Many of our students, unfortunately, will experience medical issues where an available trained nurse would be essential. Normally, teachers are not trained or equipped to handle the needs of a child with diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or any of the other various medical problems that require expert care. Even dispensing daily medications which students might need requires the attention of a trained professional. Teachers should not be exposed to potential liability that could arise from giving medications or medical treatment to children.
A school nurse not only provides daily medical care expertise, trained response to emergency situations but also is an additional instructional resource for heath related subjects.
Immigration policies including DACA are determined by federal and state law. As a county commissioner, I will follow the law.
Currently, county-wide ordinances and the county planning board provide direction concerning land use.
I believe that before making decisions that give more of our individual control to the government, the options need to be carefully studied. The decision must be based on county-wide input. The issues to be considered include family farmlands, historical and natural areas, and a safe environment for homes and schools while increasing opportunities for high salary jobs.
The people closest to the problem are closest to the solutions.
At the beginning of our campaign, we set out to document the top concerns of Alamance County residents using a survey. After receiving hundreds of responses, we received the following as the top concerns: Education, Racism & Discrimination, and School Infrastructure.
County commissioners approve the school board budget and can also allocate additional funds to teacher supplements. As a commissioner, I will heavily invest in our teachers, students, staff, and the buildings in which they spend the majority of their days (pre- and post-pandemic). I will challenge our superintendent and school board to present to the commissioners a budget that truly reflects the wide ranges of needs, with a focus on our schools that typically do not receive the amount of funding they require.
Even before this year’s protests erupted, racism and discrimination were identified as major issues in this county. As a commissioner, I will address the impacts of redlining, appoint more leaders of color to our county boards, support businesses owned by people of color, and end our county government’s contract with ICE.
Kristen Powers has heavily invested her time in supporting her community, going all the way back to high school when she created a community garden that was recognized by the White House Champions of Change. Since then, she has created a documentary featuring her experience testing for Huntington's Disease, showing the film globally. She now serves as the interim Executive Director of Benevolence Farm, supporting women as they reenter the community from prison. Kristen lost both her parents to different brain disorders, exposing her to the inaccessibility of basic services her parents needed. She also recalls visiting food pantries and social services as a child. These experiences fuel Kristen's passion for her community.
We consulted several teachers on this topic. One suggestion was to tap into existing knowledge in the school system by hiring teachers with technology backgrounds. These individuals could advance remote learning technologies and support families whose students may be falling behind due to lack of access to resources or information. Teachers also recommended the expansion of hotspots for children and teachers across the county.
The Board of Commissioners can continue to push the state legislature to expand high-speed, affordable rural broadband access so students and teachers in rural parts of the county can access the internet.
Furthermore, Alamance-Burlington School Systems is on the right track by distributing more Chromebooks to students. We need to allow students and teachers to borrow the electronic equipment (computers, microphones, webcams) from the district as needed.
Finally, we also must compensate teachers and specialists for their summer labor that involves creating entirely new online curricula and learning strategies.
Alamance County is fortunate to have Alamance Community College (ACC), a great school of which I am currently a continuing education student. We must continue to invest in ACC, particularly with a focus on technology and sustainable energy field. The emerging green economy presents a tremendous opportunity to link strategies that achieve climate justice and economic justice at the same time.
Green jobs should be good jobs that not only improve the environmental health of our communities and nation, but also pay sustainable wages and benefits to workers, and provide a healthy work environment. Regardless of your professional goals, skill set, or education level, the green economy offers a wide range of career opportunities where employees can start at an entry-level job and work their way up with more experience and skills.
Furthermore, Alamance County must demonstrate that it is a community willing to invest in entrepreneurs. We already have the Small Business Center, but we need to create equitable access to people who are historically locked out of access to capital.
We needed at least one nurse in every school before this pandemic. It was a crisis then and it continues to be one now. Not only do we need a nurse in every school, all the time, but we also need therapists and social workers with access to the resources they need to fully support students, teachers, and staff.
Yes, I want Alamance County to be a welcoming community for people of all backgrounds. We can demonstrate support by ending our county’s contract with ICE, allowing DACA recipients and their families to receive county-issued photo identification cards, and creating public-private funding streams so that DACA recipients can access our local community college.
Yes, there is an urgent need for county wide zoning. For one, county wide zoning is needed to prevent business from harming rural farm land. The Snow Camp Mine is a perfect example of how we have failed to protect our rural farm lands via the Heavy Industrial Development Ordinance. Attempts to resolve the gaps of this ordinance temporarily prohibited certain solar energy operations, which has since been remedied.
The Alamance County Planning Department is conducting surveys to better understand the desires of county residents. We can create zoning ordinances that respect the wishes of residents as well as protect us from businesses who attempt to exploit us.
Nothing beats connecting what you do with why you do it. That’s purpose in action, and that defines me as a leader and a public servant.
The Drug Addiction crisis. I work with drug addiction and I see it in every walk of life: our youth, our veterans, and the adult that had trauma in their life as a child and uses drugs to forget. Sadly many of these can become part of the criminal justice system and it is killing generations. A jail is meant to hold you, not heal you. Everybody is drug-free when they're behind bars. We need a Drug Court and a Drug Treatment Center right here in Alamance County. Local and out of town placement, when available or affordable, can mean months before a bed is open. The addict doesn't have months, drug addiction treatment is ASAP. It should be court-ordered as part of their probation so that the addict can NOT come and go as they please.This Center would provide trauma focused counseling, detox, and peer support.That's why case management, support, and accountability is so crucial.
Forensic Examiner,- facilitates client placement in drug treatment programs-Board Of Education of Alamance Burlington School System 2012-2020-NC Governor's Crime Commission-NC Domestic Violence Commission-NC Child Fatality Task Force- FBI Citizens Academy -H.O.P.E. Commission appointed by Congressman Mark Walker-Legislation Committee at North Carolina School Boards Association-Facilitated Mental Health on site services for Alamance Burlington School System students-Facilitated SBI safety assessments for ABSS campuses-Facilitated Live Shooter Drills for ABSS w/ law enforcement-Facilitated Restorative Justice Program for ABSS-Board Member at Crimestoppers-Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, former Executive Director of Families Living Violence Free
Alamance Burlington School System will be receiving over nine million dollars (federal) for covid 19. ABSS will be delivering grab and go meals to children of free and reduced lunch programs. We have already delivered over one million meals since March. Intense on line instruction training for our teachers has already started for remote services for students. Our school system will be on remote services for the first nine weeks of school. Chrome book laptops are to be dispersed to all students who will need them as well as remote wifi service. EC services will have staff on continuous call as needed to give as much help and instruction to EC students as possible. This will be an extremely trying time for parents and students due to lack of in class teaching, relationship building and parents needing to be at their jobs. We will hard work together, be very patience and have tremendous understanding as to what we are faced with. The one thing that must shine through all of this is safety, for children, staff and families.
We are at Phase Two and and things are busy as much as allowed. Our county has helped with federal funding as much as possible. Additional staff has been hired for all businesses deemed Essential. ABSS is the largest employer in the county and bonuses have been issued for essential workers during Covid 19. Our local WalMart, Target, grocery stores, etc have hired additional workers. With safety precautions implemented, Alamance County is getting busy slowly, but surely.
School nurses and full time SRO's at every campus has been my driving purpose on the ABSS Board of Education. Being a member of the NC Child Fatality Task Force for five years now, I have been a strong advocate and voice for school nurses. Every school needs a full time nurse at each school due to the fact that a medical emergency is never convenient as to it happening while a nurse is in the building on a certain assigned day and time. I have been "loud" for the last two years for system wide suicide prevention programming which recently passed. Our children are struggling with what they presently live with and the possible trauma that is in their past. Nurses are the ultimate outlet for disclosure of abuse. Many times children will trust a nurse before they trust anyone else in the building. STD's, teen pregnancy, mental health, drugs and alcohol chase our kids down the hall everyday. The school nurse is a vital life source for a school system.
In a public school system, we can never decline a child regardless of their former address. In Alamance County, we have a fairly strong presence of the Hispanic community. Hispanic children attend our schools and we have successful outreach and local agencies that help us to communicate and build relationships, so we are already providing some sort of support. DACA is like a hot fire that no one seems to be able to put out or want to. This program was initiated a long time ago and quite frankly has been ignored due to certain politicians being in fear of losing their seat. You do not run for public service to keep your seat, you run to make a difference and create a better world. There must be a responsible plan placed into "real law" that can provide a pathway to citizenship that doesn't take forever. Our country must also have the means of proper vetting and careful approval of who comes into our country. You can't throw the "now" grown ups away that were once innocent children some one gave a pass to. This is hard, controversial work that leaders, state or federal, cannot be afraid of. I understand why a family would want to leave their country due to violence, death, poverty, and things we in America never have to deal with. BUT, the DACA program has to be done with every aspect of following the law. Our leaders must be bold and fearless and create that law and stick with it..... It is time.
Yes. We have recently had a future rock quarry obtain a permit to build right in the middle of one of the most beautiful rural sections of Alamance County. Needless to say it has been extremely controversial and a law suit has come out of it. As someone who grow up in the "country", I had dairy farms all around our land. There used to be nearly 200 diary farms, now there are maybe four. Many farms have sold out and have become housing developments. Many farms have been placed under conservation acts. Balance is a must in anything we do and that requires smart planning. I am on the Land Development Planning Board in Alamance and we are currently looking at the growth in our county. Many folks are moving to the country so to speak and it has put all of our rural schools over capacity, while leaving our inner city schools losing the numbers we need to keep them healthy and growing. We recently had a 150 million dollar bond to pass and we are building a new high school, adding on to all other high schools, adding on to several elementary schools. all due to growth in our county. It has all had a tremendous affect on the schools which is the very foundation of the county. So zoning in the most balanced of ways, absolutely.