Political party: Democrat
Occupation: TopFloorStudio, media and press relations
Education: B.A. history, Evergreen State College; master’s candidate in public administration, Western Carolina University
Political experience: Asheville Regional Airport Authority; Young Democrats of Buncombe County; French Broad Metropolitan Planning Organization
Donors (top 3): Mack Pearsall $600; Alice Brown $500; Rhett Grotzinger $500;
Endorsements: Asheville Fire Fighters Association; Asheville Democracy for America; Sierra Club; Council member Robin Cape
1) What are the best and worst steps City Council has taken in the past two years, and why?
Best: “The positive focus on our transit system has helped to provide healthier options for transportation, resulting in positive impacts toward environmental and economic sustainability. Helping our families eliminate one car from their driveway will save them $9,000 per year.”
Worst: “Not adopting 50-foot buffer for jurisdictional streams.”
2) What plan(s) do you support for the I-26 Connector project, and why?
“I support the effort and plans of the Asheville Design Center. We have the opportunity to reduce the footprint of the new connector project, put more property back on the tax rolls, and create a landmark bridge that the community can be proud of while fixing our traffic congestion.”
3) What, if anything, should the city do to improve mass transit?
“We need to build on the successes made since I have been on Council. We have increased ridership by 30 percent through increased hours of operation, better fares and marketing opportunities. We need to reorganize our routes to provide better neighborhood coverage and higher frequency on our major corridors.”
4) What specific measures, if any, should the city take to address environmental concerns?
“We need to provide better transportation options to reduce the number of single-occupant vehicles on the road. We need to reward better building practices such as LEED standards and HealthyBuilt Homes. We need to provide support for community efforts for land preservation.”
5) What’s your position on partisan elections?
“I voted for partisan elections based on conversations with thousands of people during the course of two years. I respected the referendum effort and signed the petition for a referendum on the issue. This issue … has merits on both sides; I will support the will of the voters.”
6) As a member of City Council, what would be your top three priorities?
“Empowering neighborhoods; real support for small businesses; and transportation options for a healthier Asheville.”
7) What living national political figure do you most admire, and why?
“There is no single figure I look to. Characteristics that I admire include leadership, humility and respect, service of the common good, and hard work on behalf of those that are underrepresented. Leaders grow out of their communities. I truly appreciate the drive, compassion and creativity I find in Asheville.”
8) Under what circumstances, if any, would you support forced annexation?
“I do not support forced annexation. I support win/win opportunities for land-use planning and better services to our citizens. Forced annexation creates adversarial conflict between the city and its new residents. This is a flawed system of growth. We need to provide better tools for regional land-use planning.”
9) What steps, if any, do you support to promote affordable housing in Asheville?
“I support the redevelopment of city-owned property to provide mixed-income housing that our working families can afford. This will put more property on the tax rolls and meet our goals of affordable housing. We also need to support long-term homeownership with lower taxes and better city services.”
10) Would you vote for or against The Ellington high-rise project, and why?
“As a sitting member of Asheville City Council, I am not able to comment on this project due to the nature of the zoning permit being sought. I support projects that are LEED-[certified], increased density on our major corridors, providing mixed-use opportunities and mixed-income housing.”