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Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Chairman

The 7-member Board sets the policy for the county, determining the strategic vision for the county, appoints a county manager, attorney and others to serve the county, adopts ordinances, including zoning, and establishes an annual budget, which includes setting the tax rate and calling bond referendums. Commissioners are elected in partisan elections in even-numbered years and serve staggered 4-year terms.

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    Brownie Newman

  • Robert Pressley

Biographical Information

What is the most important issue the County Commission will have to address in the next two years? (YouTube video link or 700 characters max if text)

What is the most effective role the county commission can play in improving the local schools? What policies or funding will you suggest when elected?

What policies will you propose to improve the economy of your county?

What policies would you propose to improve the quantity and quality of social services in your county?

Age (optional) 48
Contact Phone (828) 243-0107
Position/philosophy statement Progressive democrat.
I believe the climate crisis is the greatest threat facing our children's generation and all that will come after them. The primary solution to this threat is to rapidly transition from fossil fuel based energy to clean, renewable energy. Buncombe County has established a 100% renewable energy goal and I am committed to making this a reality and work on it every day.
Funding of public education has been our top priority from a budgetary investment standpoint since I was elected Chairman. We need to continue investing in our public schools and also seek out innovative new strategies to address the persistent achievement gaps in our schools.
As part of our community reparations policy, I support significant new investments to increase minority home-ownership in Buncombe County as well as other affordable housing opportunities. We should also invest to help support the growth of more minority owned businesses and support young people in securing meaningful work that can be a foundation for future education and careers.
There is significant community interest in exploring ways we can meaningfully reform public safety. I think we should make this a priority focus over the coming year to see if there are ways we can improve public safety in neighborhoods that have unacceptably high levels of crime and violence, including our public housing neighborhoods, while also reducing the historic practice of charging minority residents with criminal activities at higher rates than the rest of the population even when data shows they are no more likely to have committed illegal activities. I am open to very broad and deep reforms of how public safety is carried out but it's critical that we have a good process for considering reforms.
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