Young announces bid to be 1st African American commissioner in Buncombe history

Keith Young has announced a bid to be the first African American to serve on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners in its history.

Under a new election system engineered last year by the N.C. General Assembly, the Democrat plans to run in Statehouse District 114, which roughly follows the lines of the city of Asheville. (The district is starting to be referred to as District 1 in the commissioners race).

He’ll face several members of his own party in the May 8 primary – hoping to be one of the two candidates who go on to the general election in the fall. Incumbent commissioner Holly Jones has indicated she plans to run for reelection. Former Asheville City Council member Brownie Newman is also planning to run, as well as Aixa Wilson, a South Asheville business consultant who who ran unsuccessfully in the 2010 Democratic congressional primary against U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler.

Young is currently working in the Asheville City School system as a substitute teacher and has been heavily involved in the Democratic Party, as well as a number of other local groups, according to a Jan. 29 press release. Here’s the full text of his announcement:

Asheville, N.C.- Democrat Keith Young, president of the Democratic party’s African-American Caucus of Buncombe County, announced his candidacy for Buncombe County Commissioner in District 1. If elected Young would be the first Afican-American Commissioner in Buncombe County history. Young launched his campaign by kicking off his “Speak up!” initiative.
“I am compelled to run because it’s time for a new voice, and that voice is not mine but the voice of the people. What are their issues? What are their ideas? Speak up and vote and let me be your voice. Let me be the guy that says I hear you loud and clear and we will fix it together!”
“People want jobs, decent pay, affordable housing, and a good quality of life at the end of the day,” said Young. “To be a public servant, you have to do just that, serve the public. Politicians must encourage their constituents to speak up on the issues that matter to them and we must all come together to find common sense solutions that work. “
“As a commissioner, I want to:
• Be a tireless advocate for the people of District I;
• Put issues before the county commission that constituents think are important;
• Use my experience as a small-business owner to find ways to enhance opportunities for Buncombe County businesses;
• Use my experience as a lifelong Asheville resident to work toward an inclusive future for all Buncombe citizens. Speak up and vote for Young on May 8th so District 1 will have a  seat at the table, and your voice will be heard.”
Young is dedicated to helping others. He has a long track record with helping youth succeed in life. Young was the Director of the Success Through Education and Motivation program at the Reuter YMCA in South Asheville back in the early 2000’s.
He has since started his own youth mentoring program, Project Dream ( Young currently works in the Asheville City School system as a substitute teacher and mentor.
Young is a native of Asheville, North Carolina, and a 1998 graduate of Asheville High School where he was a member and captain of the football team. Young attend Virginia State University on scholarship and received his BFA degree in communications in 2002, graduating cum laude. Since graduating Young has been a small business owner, and marketing consultant.
Young is a member of the North Carolina Democratic Party’s State Executive Committee, President of the African-American Caucus of Buncombe County, member of the East End/Valley Street Neighborhood Association, and member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He also is a dedicated father of two beautiful girls and a life long member of Asheville’s oldest African-American church, Hopkins Chapel AME Zion.

About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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