Sheneika Smith

Sheneika Smith, Asheville City Council candidate.

Sheneika Smith

Occupation: Program instructor/community engagement coordinator (Green Opportunities)

Previous candidacy: None

Affiliations: Democrat

Short-answer questions

Why are you running for City Council?
I’m an Asheville native who is concerned that our city’s growth and development will continue to disproportionately advantage outsiders while extracting vital resources from local businesses and families. I am a trusted voice that will lift the concerns of citizens who desire sustainable solutions that are more people-centered than profit-centered.

What relevant experience makes you a good candidate for City Council?
I’ve served on Asheville’s Parks and Recreation, YWCA, Center for Participatory Change and Positive Changes boards. I have cross-sectional leadership in this city through my organization Date My City and intend to leverage my experience for a deeper connection with the wider community to change political discourse.

What do you bring to City Council that other candidates don’t?
I bring a racial and social justice lens to the political forefront, fundamental for 21st-century leadership. I will champion equity and inclusion from this position, which is especially important, given that City Council has identified equity as a top priority in their strategic plan adopted in January 2016.

What three achievable goals would you champion in the next two years?
Ensure the city of Asheville is demonstrating fiscal stewardship of taxpayer money used to fund bond packages. Mobilize players to drive disparity study toward the best procurement and contracting practices for minority business enterprises. Support the newly appointed equity manager in securing proper networks to execute diversity and equity initiatives.

What is one recent City Council decision you don’t agree with and how would you have handled it differently?
There were hopes of seeing Council take the lead in adding 40 affordable housing units on the city-owned parcel at the corner of Hilliard and Clingman avenues. The decision failed to advance “true” affordable housing. I would have designated a substantial number of units for low- to moderate-income earners.

What makes Asheville home to you?
My family’s legacy of social change and community leadership is rooted four generations deep. I love being a part of a resilient community of people of color who are enhancing the growth of thought leadership, emerged to re-establish space and growing human capital for a more diverse and just Asheville.

Yes-or-no questions

Is the city effectively managing its finances?

Should the city do more to manage the pace of hotel development?

Should the city ease its restrictions on short-term residential rentals?

Is the Buncombe County TDA contributing its fair share to help the city manage the impact of tourism?

Should the city budget more money to support nonprofit grassroots initiatives?

Should more resources be allocated to the Asheville Police Department?

Should the city implement election districts for seats on City Council?

Has city staff been sufficiently transparent about the increase in costs for the River Arts District Transportation Improvement Project?

Should the Haywood Street property across from the Civic Center be green space only?

Are the city’s current affordable housing strategies sufficient?


About Carolyn Morrisroe
Carolyn Morrisroe served as news editor and reporter at Mountain Xpress. Follow me @CarolynMorrisro

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.