Name: Marc Hunt
Occupation: Land conservation program officer, Open Space Institute
Party affiliation, if any: Democrat
Political experience: None
Endorsements: Gordon Smith, Brownie Newman, Cecil Bothwell, Esther Manheimer, Sierra Club, PARC
1) How much money have you raised for your campaign?
$20,711 total to date.
Who are your top three donors, and how much has each contributed?
George Potts – $4,000
Mack Pearsall – $1,000
Edward Okrasinski – $1,000
2) What most distinguishes you from your opponents?
My experience in finance, my leadership experience in small business and in the community, and my positive record of working closely with City Council staff as chairman of the Asheville Greenway Commission. Firm in my principles, I have a strong track record of getting things done collaboratively.
3) What other two Council candidates will you vote for? Why?
I will reserve my privacy on this question. I do not plan to endorse any other candidates nor join any specific "slate" of candidates in this election.
4) What specific steps will you take to address Asheville's lack of affordable housing?
I will advocate for full funding of the affordable housing trust fund with at least $600,000 per year. I will look for opportunities to expand development incentives to provide affordable units. I will ensure that we have the strongest possible partnerships with HUD, Asheville Housing Authority and other key allies.
5) Do you favor the use of tax exemptions and incentives to promote job growth (e.g., the recent Linamar deal)?
I do not favor tax incentives but would selectively accommodate an occasional incentivized project if, upon solid analysis, it is a wise and low-risk taxpayer investment. My preference is to build our community character so that we can influence great enterprises to choose here, grow here and provide great jobs.
6) Do you support the changes implemented by the Downtown Master Plan, such as raising the threshold for direct Council review of proposed developments?
Yes. We've achieved a key step forward to assure a desirable development pattern with limits on building height and other uses. Council must be diligent in smart and balanced appointments to the Planning and Zoning Commission to assure proper oversight, and Council can improve the UDO over time as well.
7) What’s your position on proposed legislation in Raleigh to study the possible seizure of Asheville's water system?
The financial investment Asheville taxpayers have made in the system over decades must be protected. As the economic and cultural center of WNC, the future integrity of our city government is crucial to the county and the region. I am committed to developing better trust and dialogue with our legislators.
8) Does Asheville require more infrastructure? If so, what are your priorities and how do you propose to fund them?
To support livability and economic development, infrastructure investment is just as important as funding of operations. We must support the aging water system, streets and buildings. We must improve the River District and bicycle, pedestrian, park and transit facilities. Cost-efficient funding strategies like bond financing will help leverage taxpayer investment.
9) A recent study named the Asheville metro area the seventh worst in the nation in terms of food hardship. How do you propose to tackle poverty in the city of Asheville?
I will avidly pursue economic development that creates new and better-paying jobs. I will strongly promote improved public education, affordable-housing initiatives, living-wage policy, the Homeless Initiative, food security, strong neighborhoods and transportation choices that, together, reinforce family stability and opportunity.
10) In light of the controversies surrounding the APD and the Human Resources Department, do you believe city government operations require closer scrutiny? If so, what steps do you favor?
Yes. Integrity and honesty is crucial, and Council must assure that through rigorous oversight of the city manager who, in turn, holds staff accountable. I am committed to a government that our citizens can trust. I am accustomed to setting high expectations for integrity and holding subordinates accountable.