Occupation: County Commissioner, Registered Nurse
Endorsements: “The only endorsements I have sought are from the individual voters.”
Xpress: How would you cater to the needs of all county residents and represent different areas’ issues?
The question doesn’t accurately reflect how our government functions; I would be ridiculed if I didn’t point out that the premise is wrong. The government should be fair, and catering to “all county residents” is a terrible political lie. The chair moderates the meetings with an appropriate, limited amount of power. We always need to be respectful and considerate of taxpayers, their money and their intellect. Closed meetings and secret documents should be exceptionally rare and within the limit of state law. Some of the secret meetings are an insult to taxpayers’ intellects.
What direction would you take the county as chair?
We need to take a business approach: looking at the bottom line. Our decision-making should be deliberate: I’ve seen a hastiness in dealing with some of our business that we could avoid. The public should be given the opportunity for input, conducting meetings in a fair way and with as few “secret” minutes as possible.
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 pay a living wage?
The problem we face is this horrible game of incentives that’s allowed in our state. Not only are the jobs not always fair wage, quite often they aren’t for people from Buncombe County. Many businesses relocate some of their current employees to Buncombe County; we should put our residents first. We don’t require existing businesses here to provide a living wage, so it seems like a backdoor approach. The more important issue is actually employing local people, and if any preference of any kind is given, it should be given to a local company.
What neighborhood/area do you live in? What are those residents’ concerns?
I live in western Buncombe, and I work in both eastern and southern Buncombe. The residents share similar concerns about tax rates and the services they receive. Priorities are a problem, but they all want to feel like they’re getting fair value for their tax dollars.
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?
We are faced with a system of misplaced priorities. I don’t think increased taxes are needed or wanted. If I’m faced with a budget shortfall, you have to cut spending before you raise taxes. I think we’ve done a good job in some areas lately, but we need to expand on that. This is such a popular question, it seems, with reporters, but I just don’t agree with the premise.
You’re sitting at the county’s annual budget meeting. All public safety and infrastructure needs have been addressed, and you have funding left for only two additional areas. Which two would you choose?
The premise is totally false. That’s not how our process works. There’s really not a meeting like this question references. If there’s a surplus, then you put it into savings to replace what the liberals have taken out. And then you cut taxes.
What do you bring to the table that your opponent can’t?
Results, period. Across-the-board results — and better hair. But the serious answer is across-the-board results.
What are three achievable goals that you would champion in the next two years?
Open meetings, open public records and lower taxes — all the things we’ve already tied into other answers.