Richard Liston

Richard Liston

  • Website:
  • Employment: Educator and taxi driver
  • Party affiliation: Registered unaffiliated


What are three achievable goals that you would champion in the next two years?

First of all, I expect that the three people who are elected to City Council will be people who truly, deeply care about all the members of the Asheville community. That’s my true expectation of what will happen. So I see myself as a good bridge between worlds. There are miscommunications I can clarify and keep things focused on the principles that we all hold. I think Council will be made up of a sufficiently diverse population representing Asheville because we have a broad field of candidates. Diversity is critical to success and decision-making processes.

What are the best strategies for increasing affordable housing in Asheville?

Problems such as these are huge and facing our whole nation. The reality is that there are over twice as many people on planet Earth as there were when I was born, and over three times as many as when my father was born. So people are having to find places to live. And it seems as though, until we get a handle on the larger problem, we’re simply going to have to cozy up together for a little while. And that may include solutions like rentals of properties as the resident owner sees fit — including, perhaps, checking with one’s neighbors as to whether it’s a reasonable thing to do, placing microhomes with off-street parking on some properties, and making reasonable community decisions.

What is one recent City Council decision you don’t agree with, and how would you have handled it differently?


Their recent hearing on a proposal by the city about homestays and short-term rentals. in my estimation, it had not been sufficiently considered before taking the time of the community members and the Council members. I would have preferred to see more and better-run community discussions, implemented with a more wise process for gathering opinions, gathering data, discussing options in an open and safe environment, and coming to agreement on a topic that is emotionally challenging for everyone.

What makes Asheville home for you?

I resonate deeply with Asheville, and while I’ve only been here for a couple of years, my roots run deep. Asheville is a larger version of another town that I love dearly: Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. It’s a natural progression for me to go from Phoenixville to Asheville.

Do you support expanding the tourism industry, or should we focus on other areas of economic development? Or do you think government shouldn’t play a role?

I think, for all the decisions that Council makes, if we ask ourselves, “Will this raise or lower the stress level of all the residents of Asheville?” then we’ll probably be doing just fine.

A recent study showed that Buncombe County had lower growth in middle-class jobs than other areas. What can the city do to address this?

I don’t believe any statistics unless I have found the source.

With Asheville growing so fast and several new hotels being built downtown, how do you plan to address the inevitable traffic problems on city streets and I-240?

The transportation system of the future: the National Science Foundation grant, for example. As for short-term solutions, I really don’t care whether streets are under the purview of the state of North Carolina. I think we should send some crews out there to paint them or fix them, because they are unsafe. Medium- and long-term solutions come about from people getting together and talking about them.

Back to Voter Guide.


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About Hayley Benton
Current freelance journalist and artist. Former culture/entertainment reporter at the Asheville Citizen-Times and former news reporter at Mountain Xpress. Also a coffee drinker, bad photographer, teller of stupid jokes and maker-upper of words. I can be reached at hayleyebenton [at] Follow me @HayleyTweeet

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