Political party: Democrat
Occupation: Executive director, YWCA of Asheville
Education: B.A. in public-policy analysis, UNC-Chapel Hill; master’s of divinity, Duke University; master’s of public health, UNC-Chapel Hill
Political experience: Asheville City Council 2001 to present; vice mayor 2005-07
Endorsements: Sierra Club, Democracy for America, Progressive Democrats of Buncombe County
1) How much money have you raised for your campaign? Who are your top three donors, and how much has each contributed?
Top three: Greg Edney $2,000, Robin Hanes $1,000, Terry Van Duyn $1,000
2) What is your position on the Parkside condominium proposal?
“As a member of Asheville City Council who will review this development in a quasi-judicial hearing, I am legally required to withhold judgment until the public hearing. However, I strongly disapprove of how the current county [Board of Commissioners] sold public parkland to a private developer.”
3) What most distinguishes you from your opponents in this primary?
“As director of the YWCA, I am in daily contact with the working people of this community. Many work two jobs with no health insurance. These families need an advocate. Furthermore, my experience [on City Council] makes me uniquely positioned to bridge the long-standing city and county divide.”
4) What do you consider to be your most controversial policy position, and why
“The decision to terminate the old Water Agreement was and remains controversial. My primary reason for supporting this decision was that our water infrastructure was literally falling apart. Since then, City Council has invested more than $35 million to repair the system. Important work remains to fully resolve this issue.”
5) What would you do to attract better-paying jobs to the area?
“Work with partners to promote and incentivize local entrepreneurs producing ‘green-collar’ jobs (ie.jobs related to renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, environmental science and construction of energy-efficient buildings); support the climate-services initiative of the Asheville-Buncombe HUB Project and A-B Tech’s new Clean Energy Business Incubator.”
6) Has the present board conducted its business with sufficient transparency? If not, what would you do to increase openness?
“No. I disagree with the commissioners’ closed-door decision to give away county land to Progress Energy for a power plant in Woodfin. City Council is criticized for having longer meetings, but if that is what it takes to do the public’s business in public, let’s take the time.”
7) Should the public-comment period before and after board meetings be televised? Why or why not?
“Yes. The more transparency the better.”
8) What steps, if any, would you support to increase the supply of affordable housing in Buncombe?
“The development of a regional, cooperative plan is critical to achieving this goal. Additionally, I would revamp and expand the county Housing Trust Fund; participate in offering incentives, such as permit rebates, to developers of affordable housing; review county-owned land for potential development of work-force housing.”
9) Should the cities and towns in Buncombe consolidate any services? Why?
“If there are public goods (ie. improved service delivery and tax savings) that can be achieved through voluntary consolidation, it should be thoroughly researched and seriously considered.”
10) Are current slope-construction regulations appropriate? If not, how would you change them?
“It is too soon to tell if the newly adopted ordinance is working. A six- and 12-month review should be scheduled. Such an assessment would inform commissioners if modifications need to be made to achieve the policy goal of preserving our ridge tops and saving our slopes.”