Letter: We support progressive Branyon

Graphic by Lori Deaton

This letter is in response to a letter to the editor written by Keith Thomson, which implied several untruths to which we feel compelled to respond [“Whitesides Offers Progressive, Dedicated Leadership,” April 13, Xpress]. In our far-from-perfect democracy, primary elections are one of the most democratic methods for achieving representation. Anyone can run in a primary, put their issues before the public and either win or lose. It is to democracy’s benefit if more than one candidate runs for the same office in a primary. However, all the county commission seats in the Democratic primary have only one candidate (the incumbent), except for District 1. There are two candidates running in the primary in that district — the incumbent and Bill Branyon.

Keith Thomson implies that Bill Branyon and those who support his candidacy must be racist because he’s running against African American candidate Al Whitesides. But Bill would be running on progressive issues no matter which district he lived in. He just happens to live in District 1. Many who support him have been involved in work for racial and social justice for years.

Keith also implies that Bill is not a real progressive or he wouldn’t be running at all. It is exactly because Bill is running as a progressive that we support him. Bill’s candidacy is about infusing new vitality into our stagnated democracy and bringing issues of vital concern to public attention. Our county commissioners did not act progressively when they unanimously approved $27 million in tax subsidies to Pratt & Whitney to build a climate-busting, fossil-fuel-intensive airplane parts factory here. They ignored public comment when they “rubber-stamped” a deal, done so secretly that it had a code name, “Project Ranger.” Bill believes that this deal needs to be investigated.

Bill will also advocate for at least a $15 minimum wage, rent controls or stabilizations, and property-tax freezes on lower- and middle-income households. He supports examining the root causes of violence and homelessness in our community and addressing development processes that seem to only benefit out-of-town developers and hoteliers catering to tourists. If those positions aren’t progressive, we don’t know what are.

Check out branyonforcommissioner.org.

— Anne Craig, Tom Craig, Clare Hanrahan, Cheryl Orengo, Laura Patlove and Lorrie Striefel
— Diane Finn

Editor’s note: Anne Craig, Finn and Striefel report volunteering for Branyon’s campaign.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

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.

4 thoughts on “Letter: We support progressive Branyon

  1. Keith Thomson

    My good friends should not put words in my mouth.

    I didn’t imply Bill is a racist. I did say he is mistaken for running against a proven, true blue progressive leader, Al Whitesides.

    Bill should certainly advocate for the changes they ask for, but not mislead voters who don’t know that he would be prohibited by state laws from making the changes he promises from being implemented by our local governments.

    I am sorry that we will be disappointed, but disillusionment requires holding an illusion to start.

    These good friends, from forty plus years, know from hard won experience in the trenches, that we can’t always get what we want, but if we try, sometimes, we might get what we need.

    We need Al Whitesides and a Democratic lead Board of County Commissioners. That’s the truth.

  2. Local Grandad

    Here’s another gem of logic. Despite running on platforms that advocated for job growth and economic development, and winning elections with solid majorities of both R’s and D’s numbering in the thousands here in Buncombe County, this letter writer would have our commissioners buckle to 15 dissenting opinions? They literally think the the world revolves around them.

    Al is a fine human being and a sharp intellect with an unparalleled lifetime of service to others.

  3. Paston

    Progressive ideas are terrible and don’t work. I won’t be voting for the Racist!

  4. capnjohnny

    “Bill will also advocate for at least a $15 minimum wage, rent controls or stabilizations, and property-tax freezes on lower- and middle-income households.”

    This is all outside the scope of County Commissioner and would require state law changes.

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.