Though her campaign is still in its fledgling stages, Asheville City Council member and former vice-mayor Holly Jones has confirmed that she will run for a seat on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners in this year’s election season.
“I was thinking about it for a couple of months, but I finalized [the decision] during the holidays,” Jones says.
When asked why she wants to move from her role on Council to the board, Jones, who is the YWCA’s executive director, said she would be able to utilize more of her knowledge in a government body that focusses on regional health services. “They oversee, in a large part, all of the areas of health and human services,” she says. “That’s my expertise and passion.”
Jones also sees a necessity for more regional cooperation, especially between the city and county, where conspicuous rifts have emerged over the water agreement. “Buncombe County has the largest ability to form a cohesive vision and bring it forward,” she says. “How are we going to share resources and grow together?”
Finally, she says, her term on Council has engaged her in discussions of sustainability and environmental consciousness, a quality she said needs to be brought to the table at the county level.
Jones’ announcement comes ahead of the February filing date. She says she is in the process of rounding up volunteers for her campaign, and should have a Web site established by the filing deadline.
Meanwhile, she is not planning to ignore her current role. “That is 11 months away, and I definitely have some things I would like to see on the [Council] agenda before I leave.”
Jones can retain her seat on Council while she runs for the county seat. If she is elected to the Board of Commissioners in November, she will resign from Council, and a replacement will be appointed by a vote by the remaining six members. In previous cases, Council has appointed the fourth-highest vote earner from the most recent council election. If that plays out again, the nod would go to recently ousted Bryan Freeborn, who was appointed to his seat after coming in fourth in the 2005 election.