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Guilford County Board of Commissioners District 4

The 9-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. Seven commissioners are elected by districts and 1 at large in even-numbered years and serve staggered 4-year terms.

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  • Candidate picture

    Jerry Alan Branson
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Mary Beth Murphy
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

Identify the most serious issue you see facing the community you will represent? How will you address this issue once you are in office?

What life or professional experience has prepared you for this position?

In light of the recent need for remote learning/teaching, how do you propose to fund training and equipping students, teachers and families to prepare for this now and in the future?

What do you propose to better equip, train and prepare county residents for the jobs of the future?

What is your position on the need for one nurse in every public school? What, if anything, about the COVID-19 pandemic changed your views?

Are you in favor of county-level support for DACA recipients? Why or why not? If in favor, what support would you propose?

What can Guilford County do to make itself more resilient to climate change?

What should be done to maintain Guilford County’s good water quality?

Contact Phone (336) 451-7169
Twitter @AlanBranson4
Position/philosophy statement For the last eight years, I have had the honor of serving as and being able to demonstrate character and integrity on the Board of Commissioners.
One of the most serious issue we have facing us today is the Covid-19 Pandemic and getting our children back into schools safely. Continue to work with the health department of Guilford County to provide safety for all. I will also encourage our county to get businesses back open and running safely.
My wife and I are small business owners in Guilford County. I know what it is to comply with a budget and how to operate within our means and comply with Federal, State, and Local regulations.
Since being on the Board of Commissioners I have voted to increase the school's budget each year. I will continue to support Guilford County Schools and their needs. Currently over 50% of Guilford County's budget is given to our schools.
We will continue support training throughout the county for advanced technology programs through Guilford Technical Community College. We will fund new job training programs to give everyone in our community an equal opportunity to pursue a better life and career for themselves and their families.
We can't provide this on a county level. Guilford County will have to have Federal and State funding to help with this need.
This is a federal issue and not a county issue.
Continue to work with the Federal Government to purchase clean burning vehicles throughout our fleets.
Hiring professionals in Guilford County Health Department for permitting and zoning.
Mailing Address PO BOX 81
SEDALIA, NC 27342
Contact Phone (336) 685-1102
Twitter @MBMurphyNC
Position/philosophy statement Serve all the people. Protect the future.
I was primarily drawn to this race because the County Commissioners are the funding body responsible for school facilities, maintenance, and capital outlay. I see our schools crumbling and know our students and educators deserve more. Tasked with the essential responsibility of funding our school buildings, the Board of Commissioners needs the insight and expertise of a local educator to make informed decisions about how to best care for our public schools. One possible solution to this would be to generate additional tax revenue without raising taxes by adopting a rate neutral model during the 2022 property revaluation. The county manager’s office estimates that by keeping the property tax rate the same, as opposed to going revenue neutral and adjusting the rate down to keep the actual tax collection amount flat, would generate an additional $19 million annually.
As a National Board Certified, 15-year veteran middle school teacher who is also a parent, I have a profound understanding of the challenges facing both our schools and the broader community. I bring a unique skill-set rooted in strong listening, compassion, creative problem-solving, critical thinking, and teamwork. Guilford County deserves leadership that reflects the values of our community and is committed to investment in our future. I will be that leader.
The underfunding of our schools is what drew me to this leadership role in the first place. This effort to divest from our public education system has been underway for years. As many have pointed out, the pandemic has only served to make this reality more visible. Given this, it’s clear that we need leaders who are ready to invest in our future. On the state level this means we need to change the fact that a family of four that makes less than $20,000/year pays a higher percentage of their income in state taxes than do big businesses. On the county level, this means we need to switch from a revenue neutral model of property taxes to a rate neutral model in order to generate additional tax revenue without raising the tax rate.
The jobs of the future are going to be based in highly skilled labor. GCS has made great progress in preparing our students for this work through the creation of the CTE academies, but we must do more. Internships and opportunities for coding classes, computer science, and programming--could be expanded both within our schools and through partnerships between the county and local businesses. The Guilford Apprenticeship Partners program is a great model and should be supported and expanded. We must make the choice that our future is worth investing in.
Every school needs and deserves a full-time nurse. The National Association of School Nurses recommends a ratio of one school nurse to every 750 students. Additionally, both the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Nurses Association recommends one dedicated nurse per school. Currently, Guilford County Schools’ nurses serve an average of 1,738 students each. This is far outside of the national guidelines and leaves our students vulnerable and underserved. It also shifts the burden of addressing student health needs to non-healthcare providers in the schools. COVID has brought into sharper focus the reality of how underserved our students are, and has not changed my position but rather strengthened it. We must provide a full-time nurse for all of our students.
Yes, I am in favor of county-level support for DACA recipients in our community. To tell the story of this country as if it has not always been a story of immigration is to deny the very fabric of who we are. One way we could do this is by changing the FAFSA requirement to qualify for Say YES. Say YES funding is allocated based on FAFSA, which requires a social security number. This means DACA recipients are not eligible for these funds which could help them attend private universities affiliated with the Say YES program. One change that we could make at the county-level to better support these members of our community is to provide an alternative application process.
Climate change is an inevitability and we need to be thinking about how we can address it directly at the local level. I would like to see local incentives offered to both commercial and residential properties for transitioning to solar energy. Clean energy is our primary hope for a solution to climate change, and at the local level we need to leverage our purchasing power and our investment in new facilities by building green certified structures, and committing to green power as the primary energy source for government owned facilities.
We have a history in this state of businesses refusing to take care of the messes they make or even going so far as to pass responsibility off on the citizens. Given this experience, one step to ensure clean water now and in the future could be to include a requirement to protect the environment and natural resources in all contractual dealings between the county and local businesses. In this way, we would hold businesses accountable for their environmental impact.