Political party: Democrat
Residence: South Buncombe
Political experience: 12 years on Board of Commissioners, active in party before that
Endorsements: Sierra Club, Asheville Citizen-Times, plus various awards
1) How much money have you raised for your campaign? Who are your top three donors, and how much has each contributed?
Total: $79,965 plus $12,500 candidate loan
Top three: Joe Adams $8,000 ($4,000 primary, $4,000 general election), C.B. Squire $4,000, Teresa Van Duyn $2,800.
2) What most distinguishes you from your opponents in this race?
“Vision and leadership for our county’s future, particularly the ability to support and enact laws that protect our mountains and preserve our quality of life. My opponent has consistently opposed … ordinances that I have proposed and/or supported to control and direct the growth and development our county is experiencing.”
3) What do you consider to be your most controversial policy position?
“Many people said my political career would be over if I supported zoning. Tom Sobol was defeated by my opponent’s no-zoning platform. I will continue to support zoning as a necessary tool. … I think our community (including developers) will support laws that are reasonable, fair, understandable and consistently applied.”
4) Do you favor expanding zoning in the county, reversing it or keeping it at its present level? Why?
“I favor a continued conversation. … Smart and sustainable growth must evolve with the changing needs of the county and [its residents]. We have to encourage development [that follows] transportation and [other existing] infrastructure, [discourage] growth on ridge tops and steep slopes, [and] encourage an increased supply of affordable housing.”
5) What would you do to attract better-paying jobs to the area?
“Work for a properly educated labor force and increased emphasis on green jobs. … [Build on our] nationally known weather facility [and] continue work with HUB project, AdvantageWest, Chamber of Commerce, A-B Tech etc. … Support those developers and industries at the forefront of the green movement [including] alternative fuels.”
6) Has the present Board of Commissioners conducted its business with sufficient transparency? If not, what would you do to increase openness?
“No. We should return to frequent public meetings in the communities. … We must have a dialogue with the people we serve to fully understand county concerns. … I favor clear, open budgets [with] measurable [line-item] goals that can be reviewed the following year for accountability purposes.”
7) Should the public-comment period before and after board meetings be televised? Why or why not?
“Yes. A unanimous Commission voted to stop televising public comments when [it] digressed into campaign posturing more than … constructive exchange of viewpoints. … I support an examination and revision of the rules for public comments so everyone will be heard and televised for the community to see.”
8) The recent gas shortage revealed that this area is uniquely vulnerable to disruptions in fuel supply. What steps would you take to remedy this?
“Work with state and national officials … to [change fuel delivery] to WNC. Our emergency team and school systems did an excellent job of making fuel available for [essential] services. … Look at what worked [and what didn’t]. … [We need to become a] leader in alternative-fuel usage and development.”
9) What is your position on the Sullivan Acts and the water dispute with the city of Asheville?
“Our Commission has not done a good job here. We should work hard to settle this dispute that is costing huge legal expenses to … taxpayers. … I would give priority to meeting with both City Council and General Assembly representatives to hammer out a resolution to this [complicated conflict].”
10) Are current slope-construction regulations appropriate? How, if at all, would you change them?
“When I first started … on the Commission we didn’t have any [such] regulations. … The current regulations are a start. … We are going to grow; how and where we grow [is the question]. No set of rules [will] be perfect. Constant review and conversation … are necessary.”