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Johnston County Board of Commissioners District 1

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 represent districts and are elected county-wide in even-numbered years; all serve staggered 4-year terms.

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  • Candidate picture

    Justin David King
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Fred J. Smith, Jr.
    (Rep)

Biographical Information

What is the most important issue the County Commission will have to address in the next two years?

What kinds of policies, if any, will you pursue to promote social and racial equality in the county?

How would you rate your county’s public education system?

If you rated the county's public education system below excellent, what proposals would you support to improve it?

How would you rate the quality of social services your county is providing?

What policies would you propose to improve access and quality of social services in Johnston County?

Are there policies you believe can be enacted that would improve the economy of Johnston County in the next two years? Explain.

What kind of policies would you pursue, if any, to address the issue of climate change at the county level?

Age (optional) 36
Contact Phone (919) 502-0960
email address justin@justinforjoco.com
Twitter @justinforjoco
Position/philosophy statement I am running for County Commissioner to bring new ideas to the table that will make this the best decade in the history of Johnston County.
The most important issue the County Commission will have to address in the next two years is developing a sustainable, long-term plan for managing growth in Johnston County. Our county has allowed uncontrolled growth within the unincorporated communities of the county placing substantial strain on our roads, utilities and public safety infrastructure. Our updated land development code must drive higher density residential housing growth into the municipalities as they are better equipped to provide the infrastructure desired by new housing developments. The unincorporated communities of Johnston County should retain their rural nature by limiting the number of new housing permits issued on a per development basis. We must stop building the ‘City of Johnston County’ and allow our towns to thrive with new residential growth.
We are going to fund public education in Johnston County on a per pupil level equivalent to our peer counties in NC (e.g., Cabarrus, Union). Johnston County is home to the seventh-largest school district in NC, yet our school system ranks number 51 out of 100 counties in local per pupil funding. Except for a handful of schools adjacent to the Wake County line, our school system is performing poorly among the statewide testing averages. The achievement gap is substantial within the schools that are predominately minority children. The only way to truly address these issues of equity are to provide the funding required to improve the educational experience for all students in Johnston County.
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We must begin to fund education in Johnston County at the level required to produce the achievement results we are striving to obtain. I have proposed a three-year - $300 million investment in our local school system. Of this $300 million plan, $240 million would be dedicated for classroom instruction that will improve our system ranking from 51st in NC to the top 25 in local per pupil funding. The remaining $60 million will be invested in our current school infrastructure. This capital investment will allow us to remove nearly all mobile units currently in use, and provide new classroom space for our board of education to implement new learning programs.
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We must continue to push for Medicaid expansion via our General Assembly delegation. A 2019 study from The George Washington University estimated Medicaid expansion would create 662 new jobs in Johnston County by 2022. Expanding Medicaid offers no financial risk to the county; improves the overall health of our residents; provides funding to Johnston Health for uncompensated care; and lowers everyone’s health insurance premiums.
We need to develop formal economic development incentives programs that are accessible by anyone online. There are currently no prescribed plans according to our economic development website. To me that is like advertising a car for sale but not listing the price. Our incentive packages should be tailored towards growing our competitive advantage in the life sciences field with an eye towards new and emerging technologies. Also, our utilities infrastructure should be reserved for commercial expansion and not directed at residential housing.
Local government must lead the way in addressing climate change. The time has come for Johnston County to join other local governments across the country in pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I will advocate for the creation of a Sustainability Officer position that works with all departments to ensure county operations are meeting benchmark goals of reducing our carbon footprint.
Contact Phone (919) 631-9806
Twitter @fredjsmithjr
Position/philosophy statement Government should focus on its core priorities, do them well, and should only tax as much of your hard-earned money as absolutely necessary.
School construction
As a County Commissioner, I will work to create a level playing field and foster an environment in which every Johnston County resident has the opportunity to make the most of their God-given abilities, regardless of race, color or creed.
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First and foremost, l believe our classroom teachers to an excellent job. As County Commissioners, we can positively affect our educational system by working with the school board to ensure that the financial resources appropriated to them are used wisely and by ensuring that we build the schools we need and eliminate mobile classrooms from Johnston County.
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Based upon my research, it appears that our DSS staff is working in very tight quarters. It is also my understanding that the County is currently conducting a space needs study that will include DSS, and once that study is complete we will have the information we need to determine what space modifications may be needed for our DSS personnel.
The best way to grow our economy is to create an environment which attracts stable, private-sector jobs to Johnston County. It is critical that we maintain land and zoning for industrial sites as our county’s residential growth continues. Additionally, we must continue to support Johnston Community College to ensure that we have the needed workforce development and training programs available for industries and businesses that choose to call Johnston County home.
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