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City of Asheville City Council {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The City of Asheville operates under a council-manager form of government. The Asheville City Council establishes the city’s policies. The City Council is made up of a mayor and six council members who are elected at-large for four-year, staggered terms. The City Council appoints a city manager who oversees day-to-day city operations and executes Council-established laws and policies.

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    Sandra Kilgore

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    Rich Lee

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    Kim Roney

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    Nicole Townsend

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    Sage Turner

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    Keith Young

Biographical Information

What experience and qualities do you feel you bring to this office? (700 characters max)

What do you think makes you the best candidate for this position? (300 characters max)

Identify your top three (3) issues that you wish to address during your tenure in office and rank them in order of priority. (750 characters max)

What is the first thing you hope to accomplish in your office, if elected? (250 characters)

What are your views regarding self-governance (autonomy) of local North Carolina municipalities? When and how should the state legislature intervene?

Contact Phone (828) 575-9755
email address
Position/philosophy statement "Focusing on solutions and taking actions that are measurable is crucial. When improvements can be felt, an inspired community is the result."
I was fortunate to be born and reared in the City of Asheville. I graduated Asheville High and attended UNC-Asheville. I was employed by Piedmont Airlines in 1976 and had the opportunity to travel around the world with Piedmont/British & US Airways as flight attendant. The education I received during my twenty five years of travel far surpass what I experienced at the University. I always felt the need to give back and share what I have learned to benefit others. I have over three decades of customer service and real estate experience and understand the importance of a balance sheet. I open my Real Estate office in Asheville in 2015, and I presently hold a seat on the Planning and Zoning Commission. The experience from the Planning and Zoning board has given me great insight to many of the concerns of the community. I was also instrumental in securing the Arthur Eddington Education Center for the community. It is now an epicenter that offers educational, training, recreational and informational services. It just received additional funding for a new auditorium that is a wonderful addition that provides a platform for cultural activities that are so sorely needed. On my return to home in 2012, I was unable to locate services for my clients who were in danger of losing their home. I started a foreclosure prevention program to assist homeowners with saving their homes. I also offered short sale assistance to help preserve their credit.
I feel we spend too much time focusing on the problems rather than the solutions. My platform focuses heavily on solutions and taking actions that are measurable and shared with the community. My steps for achieving solutions consist of collaboration, coordinating, cooperation and communication.
1) Homelessness and Affordable Housing ( Providing Solutions )

2) Attracting and Retaining Companies offering Living Wages Jobs

3) Improved Education with outreach programs designed for business owners and companies to offer internship and career pathing for middle and high schools students; thus retaining our talented millennials at home. Unfortunately, many of our kids we send off the school do not return home due to the limited employment opportunities.
I have prepared a presentation for mitigating the homelessness and affordable housing issue. It is a three step program that can provide some relief while we address one of the major issues such as the lack of living wage jobs in the community.
I am an advocate for self-governing municipalities. The municipalities are very aware of the needs of their communities first hand. However, the state controls the purse strings as well as instituting rules and regulations that does not work for all cities. Some areas are now enjoying the lion's share of allocated funds and others are being left out because they cannot afford the lobbyist to fight for them. An additional real estate tax placed on out of state buyers to increase our infrastructure fund would help. However, we are not able to add any additional tax because the tax base is set by the state. Many of the buyers relocating can afford the medium or higher priced homes. Whereas many of our residence do not have the income to qualify. Improving the infrastructure would not only improve the value of their overall investment but would increase Asheville's sustainability. Drastic steps are needed to improve our failing infrastructure. Like any city that has great leadership, we are experiencing "growing pains". In order to ensure we are able to preserve the lifestyle that is responsible for our growth, we need funds to continue to maintain it. One areas of concerns for the state legislature intervention is when people's rights are being violated. Another would be when steps are being taken that has a negative impacts on or are detrimental to the area.
Age (optional) 40
Contact Phone (828) 460-2624
Position/philosophy statement Let's make day-to-day life in the city better now, tackling our problems with steady, heartfelt leadership, even as we plan for tomorrow's challenges.
In my work, I help families budget and plan their futures. As chair of our city's Multimodal Transportation Commission, I see how our infrastructure struggles under explosive growth. I've helped guide major overhauls of our transit system, along with road, sidewalk and greenway projects across the city through the budget process. I've represented neighborhoods impacted by poor planning and won improvements that maintain quality of life. I've worked to increase government transparency, and spearheaded important initiatives on traffic safety and equity. I am experienced, fair, inclusive, and passionate about making the city a better, fairer, safer, and more open place for everybody to live.
Experience. You need particular skills to work an initiative through the city bureaucracy: steadiness, patience, creativity, willingness to listen. If it only took good intentions and passion, we'd already be a utopia. I know the process and have shown time and again that I can get things done.
1) Government accountability. Without this, none of the rest happens. Transparent policymaking; city services interacting fairly, reliably, and openly with the public; a budget process that responds to public needs; careful stewardship of tax dollars.

2) Infrastructure resiliency. From roads to water lines, our physical environment is struggling to handle growth and the changing climate. It's a drag, a genuine threat to life and limb, and the main way we experience the city's changes for the worse. Yet roads and pipes get too little attention from city leaders.

3) Shared prosperity. We need affordable housing, yes. But more broadly we need a diversified economy with rising incomes across all sectors and reaching the entire population.
Initiate the long-promised zoning code overhaul to create a clear rulebook for developers to follow, guiding growth where we can handle it and putting an end to unsustainable practices.
I believe government, simply put, is people coming together to solve problems. At the level of very local government, the problems and their solutions aren't even particularly partisan. They're practical questions looking for practical answers: how do we live, work, get around, and respect each other in this confined space, this city? The problems of Asheville aren't exactly the same as Gaston County's, or even Raleigh's and Charlotte's. Yet our solutions are limited to what legislators from Gaston, Mecklenburg, and 98 other counties approve. That doesn't seem fair. I believe when the people of Asheville come together behind a course of action, there ought to be a way to make it happen. I hate hearing "But Raleigh won't allow it!" more than anyone. Yes, North Carolina is a Dillon's Rule state that restricts the powers of municipalities. That's our legal environment. But problem solving, finding ways to live together, is our culture and our responsibility to each other. We can't say "Raleigh won't allow!" and give up. Look at Charlotte passing a nondiscrimination ordinance when everyone thought it was impossible. Look at Davidson and Cary taking action on housing no one thought was possible. We're creative, caring people, thinking deeply about how to share this space. If we want something, let's come up with ways together to do it.
Age (optional) 38
Contact Phone (828) 771-6265
YouTube video
Position/philosophy statement Be 'Bout it Being Better means taking better care of the planet and each other starting with equity in transit, housing, and participatory budgeting.
In 2008, my husband Nathanael and I donated our car to reduce our use of fossil fuels. I volunteer my experience as a pedestrian, cyclist, and transit rider serving on Asheville’s Multimodal Transportation Commission, Transit Committee, and the Downtown Commission Sub-Committee on Parking & Transportation. I’ve attended Council meetings since December 2014, advocating during the last 6 budget cycles and distilling information for the public from 12-15 boards & commissions through Better Buses Together, JMpro, AVL Report Back, and 103.3 AshevilleFM, where I was Station Manager of 150+ volunteers. I show up because many friends & neighbors can’t, and I’ve been faithful to the work at hand.
An understudy of Council, I know the work to be a progressive city is not a solo effort. I’m running with Nicole Townsend, and we’re endorsed by Councilwoman Smith, Councilman Haynes, and Rev. Amy Cantrell. If elected, I will continue to work towards collective liberation with and for our neighbors.
Asheville is one of the fastest growing cities in NC, but many are struggling to make ends meet on stagnant wages as the cost of living rises while the tourism industry strains our resources & infrastructure. The pandemic and uprising have shown us how untenable this path is! The work we must do to ensure a resilient community includes urgent action to take better care of the planet and each other. We need: - Deeply-affordable housing through cooperative & creative solutions. - A fare-free, regional transit network, because transit is at the intersection of equitable access, economic mobility, and environmental sustainability. - A participatory budgeting process that ensures reparations and climate justice with a race & class analysis.
Review the board & commission process with an equity lens. There are unnecessary barriers to participation yet creative ways to include neighbors in advisory roles. Participatory Democracy is key to success around budget and policy accountability.
As a Dillon’s Rule state, we are hamstrung by regressive and oppressive systems that limit our ability to better care for the people and natural resources of our mountain home. The NC General Assembly has often intervened in harmful ways: attempts to take control of our water system; to district our City elections against the wishes expressed by voters through referendum; refusing to hold Duke accountable as an energy monopoly; and passing legislation endangering our LGBTQ+ neighbors. I would argue that we need to build coalition across the state to pressure the legislature to relinquish its stranglehold on its cities so we can heal grudges that don’t serve us. Because housing, transportation, and infrastructure issues are not unique to Asheville, we must move towards building trust with other municipalities in WNC to address our shared issues.
Age (optional) 30
Contact Phone (828) 676-9069
Position/philosophy statement I believe that no one is free until those who are Black, trans, queer, immigrant, and poor are free and able to live a life without being targeted.
My life is one of intersectionality as I am Black, Queer, and am from a poor and working-class family. I am the granddaughter of Mississippi sharecroppers. My father is a Vietnam veteran, and my mother is a factory worker. I was raised on the church pew, and that is where I learned that leaders much be willing to pick up a broom fast than they are willing to pick up a microphone. I've been in the trenches which is reflected through my work with The Human Relations Council of Asheville, Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción, Green Opportunities, The Boys & Girls Club, Asheville GreenWorks, Bountiful Cities, Southerners On New Ground, CoThinkk, The Grassroots Alliance, The City of Asheville Leadership Academy, and The Racial Justice Coalition.

I am proud to have learned what it means to engage in principled struggle. N’Tanya Lee of Left Roots, has gifted movement with a breakdown of principled struggle. Which means we struggle for the sake of building deeper unity, that we are honest and direct while holding compassion, that we each take responsibility for our own feelings and actions, and seek deeper understanding by asking questions and reading a text (such as an article or proposal) before we launch our counter-argument.

Some of the qualities I am holding: I am personable, compassionate, observant, and humorous. I am also willing to take a risk and use radical imagination to try things that haven’t been tried before.
I understand the role of the council to be one in which those elected are there on assignment to ensure the people of Asheville can thrive. I will not make a decision without consulting with the community.
1. Education Equity: I will work diligently with youth, families, community members, and educational institutions to transform our local education system.

2. Environmental Justice: I support a municipal Green New Deal for Asheville that has a race and class analysis. We have the ability to invest resources in community land trusts and food cooperatives.

3. Public Saftey: We should be investing in neighborhoods to create economic mobility and decriminalize poverty. For too long we have avoided the opportunity to work on the root of some of the issues that are tearing our communities apart, such as mental health crises, addiction, and poverty.
1: Work collaboratively to pass a resolution in support of the North Carolina Association of Educators' Legislative Priorities.

2. Work collaboratively to amend the 'Consent to Search' policy so that it expands to pedestrians and bicyclists.
I believe that local North Carolina municipalities should have more autonomy as it relates to ordinances and legislation that are for the betterment of community members. Two examples as to how more autonomy would benefit Asheville include ending cash bail and implementing an alcohol/food and beverage tax. Elected officials and community members in both the City of Asheville and Buncombe County have been working hard to find creative ways to lower the jail population without interference from the state. If we could eliminate the cash bail system we would see our jail population drop drastically. In 2017, members of Asheville City Council mentioned the idea of a food and beverage tax that would support the city in funding some of the many priorities that community members have been advocating for. Unfortunately, we can not implement a food and beverage tax without permission from the state legislature, nor can we collaborate with Buncombe County around ending cash bail. State legislature should make an intervention when local municipalities pass ordinances and legislation that is discriminatory and unjust.
Age (optional) 41
Position/philosophy statement I’m running for Asheville City Council because together we can take better care of our community, the people in it, how we grow, and how we thrive.
A deep connection to Asheville through raising my family and immersing myself in community here for 20+ years. Expertise in finance. Master's in Urban Planning. Demonstrated commitment to diverse opinions, governing via good policy, coalition building. Leadership on challenging issues, including via service on boards - Family Visitation Center, Manna Food Bank, Living Wage Certification Committee, Success Equation, Asheville Downtown Association, Local Living Economy, THRIVE. I serve as Affordable Housing Committee Chair and Downtown Commission Chair. Employed as Finance & Project Manager for the French Broad Food Co+op. Helped turn around finances, adopt living wages, and prepare for expansion and redevelopment.
My 20+ years of listening & serving with people from all facets of our community; seeing how needs and interests intersect & connect; gathering input for solutions; helping achieve goals. I can jump right in on council and network organizations, leaders & everyday people to build strong coalitions.
Affordable housing. It impacts education, health, financial stability, safety, and generational equity. I will help create 1,000 affordable units by 2025, using my training & experience in planning & leading our Affordable Housing Advisory Committee.

Responsible Smart Growth. Unmanaged growth has pushed us to social, fiscal & environmental instability. Our outdated UDO enables a lack of density & subsequent failing water infrastructure, tree loss, worsening climate resiliency, housing crises & traffic. We can instead adopt a multifaceted plan for the city we want.

Restructure tourism tax spending. It's past time to split the revenues 50/50 & deliver $12.5M annually for resident-serving infrastructure. City, county & CVB must c
1000 affordable units. To achieve this: educate & include fellow councilors on affordable housing initiatives, better practices & establishing goals. I'll push until we enact policies, strategies & partnerships for an inclusive, affordable Asheville.
I'd like to see more municipal control. The state should not be intervening in our airport, water systems, districts, bathroom rules, ability to annex, revenue structures, etc. We could achieve more of our goals if we were allowed to use tools like inclusionary zoning, where a % of units built are required to be rented affordably. If we had the ability to adopt a municipal transit tax, we could help fund the transit master plan. And if we could define the percentage and uses of our lodging tax revenue, we could adjust the rates and advertising dollars to better manage the influx of visitors and the impacts on infrastructure.
Age (optional) 40
Contact Phone (828) 407-1181
Position/philosophy statement I am a progressive candidate who champions climate change, equity and Inclusion, affordable housing and public transit & providing core services
I've been in elected office for 4 years and been one of councils most effective members in quite some time. I was born and raised in Asheville. My experience as a former small business owner, court official, teacher, service industry worker and life as a black male gives me unique insights from a working class point of view. I have been a constant voice of the poor and given pragmatic insights on a myriad of issues that would otherwise lack such input on council.
I've been one of the most effective council members in over 20 years. I've banned the box, started the department of equity and inclusion created the human relations commission, raised 74 million dollars for infrastructure, roads, affordable housing and parks facilities. A voice for the voiceless.
Climate Change Affordable Housing Public Transportation
I would like to see my green new deal implemented and addressing affordable housing, public transportation, jobs and climate change.
A mixture of Dillons rule and home rule are essential to a checks and balance system of governance. The state should only intervene when the health and wellness of a municipalites residents are threatened or the stability of the local government is compromised by illegal activity.