Occupation: Assistant Branch Manager of Best Buy Metals, Baptist preacher (inactive)
Top endorsements: Asheville Tea Party; several Buncombe County pastors (listed on website)
Xpress: Should we consolidate the Asheville and Buncombe County school systems? Why or why not?
No. Schools perform better the more localized they are. Decisions are easier to make pertaining to the particular students they have.
What are your top concerns regarding county residents’ health? What would you support to fix those problems?
The county has taken a commendable role in supporting residents’ health. But the county has been pretty wasteful on spending in other areas, and we need to cut back on that so we can support health and help people without insurance.
Do you support giving companies economic incentives to relocate/expand in Buncombe County? Should companies receive economic incentives even if not all the jobs they provide are living-wage?
No, I don’t. And I understand that that’s not a popular stance. But “corporate welfare” is bad for small businesses. Most of the money Buncombe County gives out goes to large corporations that tend to employ a lot of people on a really small salary. No money is free: The people footing the bill are private citizens and small businesses. By scaling back on that, we’ll enable small businesses to grow by cutting their taxes, and that’ll create more jobs.
What neighborhood/area do you live in? What are those residents’ concerns?
I live in Fairview. People are struggling to find jobs that pay a living wage. The way to fix that is to create a climate that nurtures small-business growth.
Given the county’s financial state, would you consider raising property taxes in the next two years? Would you try to cut the budget? If so, in what areas?
I wouldn’t advocate raising property taxes. In Buncombe County we spend more than we take in. That’s not our taxpayers’ fault. I would eliminate all funding to our greenways and private organizations. In the last couple of years, the board has given several hundred thousand dollars in education grants to fund private museums. Our government officials are paid far more than their counterparts elsewhere in North Carolina. These things add up to millions of dollars that could go toward more important things and relieve our citizens’ tax burden.
What’s one recent Board of Commissioners decision you disagree with? How would you have handled it differently?
I strongly disagreed with Mike Fryar and the board’s decision to spend over $600,000 on principals and assistant principals. It’s a supplement and monthly bonus that goes only to the school administrators, not the teachers or other personnel. That funding continues even in the summer; it’s called an “extra duty pay.” In the summer, there are no extra duties. The teachers perform extra duties on a daily basis and don’t get the bonus. The Asheville Citizen-Times just blasted me saying I didn’t support teacher supplements, which is completely untrue. I don’t support money going to the administration, and I don’t support raising taxes to do it. The Board of Commissioners is supposed to be an oversight committee.
What do you bring to the table that your opponent can’t?
I like Mike, but the difference between us is that I’m a full-spectrum conservative. In my world view, I’m conservative. As a commissioner, I would cut spending and create jobs. I’ll be willing to call out and expose some of the corruption and create transparency on the board. If there was a transparent conservative on the board, they would have called this out by now.
Would you support measures to encourage job growth outside the city center? If so, what measures?
I absolutely would. I will fight to ensure that all of Buncombe County is friendly to small businesses, through cutting taxes, fighting corporate welfare and unneeded spending, and government regulations that make it hard for businesses.