District 3 commissioner primary questionnaire: King vs. DeBruhl

Above, David King; below, Miranda DeBruhl. File photos
Above, David King; below, Miranda DeBruhl. File photos

Buncombe County’s historic shift to a district election system continues this year as six candidates square off seeking four-year terms on the Board of Commissioners.

In each of the three districts, an incumbent and a challenger from the same party are competing for the seat. The incumbents, who finished second in their respective districts in 2012, won two-year terms that expire this year. The first-place finishers in 2012 will hold their seats through 2016. Going forward, all commissioners will serve four-year terms, staggered so that one seat in each district will be up for grabs every two years.

In District 3, which stretches from Arden to Sandy Mush, incumbent Republican David King is being challenged by Miranda DeBruhl. The winner faces no Democratic opposition in November.

Early voting runs through Saturday, May 3; the primary is Tuesday, May 6. Xpress asked each candidate five questions designed to elicit their priorities and views:

Name: David R. King

Profession: farrier
Residence: Candler
Party affiliation: Republican
Endorsements: state Rep. Nathan Ramsey, Buncombe County Commissioner Joe Belcher, Buncombe County Board of Education Chairman Bob Rhinehart and board member Amy Churchill, Don Mallicoat, owner of Guns ‘N Gear, Candler

What would be your top priority if elected? Why?
My top priority will continue to be creating a business environment which attracts quality jobs and furthers economic development. It is important to create more jobs and greater economic growth to facilitate expansion of the tax base, which will in turn allow a lower tax rate.

What’s county government’s most important role in job creation?
The county government’s most important role in job creation is working with the Economic Development Coalition in order to recruit new businesses and more industry. We also need to ensure we have good schools and quality-of-life infrastructure, such as the I-26 connector, to attract those businesses.

What specifically should the county do to meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent?
Starting with cost savings in mind, which is a primary focus in meeting the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent, the county will continue its ongoing effort of more energy efficient upgrades to its buildings, machinery, and equipment.

In this year’s budget, are there any specific expenditures you’d cut or increase? Why?
In this year’s budget, increases or decreases in any expenditures will be determined by possible cuts in state or federal funding as well as mandated expenses. Mandated and essential services take priority over everything else.

Why would you be a better commissioner than your opponent?
My qualifications for continued service to Buncombe County are a proven track record as commissioner and a lifetime of experience in business and manufacturing. This experience, along with my ability to work with others, enabled me to bring new jobs, a new road and new schools to our community.

Name: Miranda DeBruhl

Profession: Registered nurse and small-business owner
Residence: Leicester
Party affiliation: Republican
Endorsements: None

What would be your top priority if elected? Why?
To sunset the sales-tax hike. It was sold to the voters as a temporary tax to help A-B Tech. However, legally it is permanent, and the tax simply flows into the general fund. I would like to make the tax automatically expire once construction is complete.

What’s county government’s most important role in job creation?
The county’s most important role is to ensure that regulations are not inhibiting job growth. We need to nurture a business-friendly environment where our government is a resource to business, not an obstacle.

What specifically should the county do to meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent?
I will support initiatives that BOTH save money and are helpful to our environment. For example, LED bulbs, efficient vehicles, modern HVAC equipment can save the taxpayers money, and that should be the goal. I believe we should be good stewards of all our resources, be they financial or environmental.

In this year’s budget, are there any specific expenditures you’d cut or increase? Why?
I would cut the $90,000 given to Moogfest. Given the current economy and tax increases, I don’t believe the BOC should use taxpayer money to support this festival. I would prefer to see all the funding for this festival come from private sources.

Why would you be a better commissioner than your opponent?
I am an employee and employer: I understand the challenges of each. Health care is the largest sector of our local economy and if elected, I will be the only health care professional on the board. Being a business owner, I understand the harm unnecessary regulations can inflict on businesses.

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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