Brownie Newman, Democrat, candidate for District 1, Buncombe County

Party: Democrat
Slogan: Effective, Progressive Leadership
Profession: Partner, project finance director at FLS Energy
Residence: Asheville
Funding: Largest donor is Mack Pearsall, $1,000. Amount raised is $2,152 at last report.
Endorsements: North Carolina Sierra Club, Holly Jones, Gordon Smith, Esther Manheimer and Marc Hunt

1. Do you favor A) creating a regional water authority, B) giving the existing system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District or C) leaving it under Asheville’s control? Why?
The water system belongs to Asheville, and Asheville is doing a good job managing the system, investing more than $40 million in capital improvements. If a regional approach is to be considered, it must be with the support of Asheville, not driven by politicians in Raleigh.

2. Do you support granting domestic-partner rights and/or benefits to Buncombe County employees? (Yes/No) Why?
Yes. As a member of Asheville City Council, I co-sponsored the proposal to extend domestic-partner benefits to Asheville’s public employees as well as to create a domestic-partnership registry for all the members of the community. I will support equal workplace rights for all county employees as well.

3. Do you favor offering tax breaks and other economic-development incentives to companies that agree to move here or expand existing facilities and hire local workers? (Yes/No) Why?
I supported the economic-incentive plan that brought New Belgium to Asheville, which will create 150 new jobs that pay an average of $48,000 a year, and the initiative to recruit Limanar, which will create 400 good-paying jobs. The incentive policy supports existing local businesses as well.

4. Do you think the county should make funding the Connect Buncombe greenways a high priority? (Yes/No) Why?
Yes. There are few investments that will have a greater positive impact than expanding our greenway systems. Our current greenways are heavily used. My kids love them. Connecting our existing greenways will make Asheville/Buncombe a more bike and pedestrian friendly community.

5. What’s the most important role of county government in job creation?
Providing great public education. I applaud the current county commissioners for investing funds for architectural planning to consider the best way to improve Asheville Middle School. Middle school is a critical time for young people. Asheville Middle School is in need of significant improvements.

About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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