As an environmentalist who believes that the best way to protect the environment is through legislation, I’ve been closely watching the Asheville City Council race this year.
I put my support behind Vice-Mayor Marc Hunt and Mountain True Co-director Julie Mayfield early on, concluding that they have the experience to balance our need for economic growth with sound environmental policy. They also, I believe, possess the skills to work well with others, as well as the qualities that bring respect from those with varying viewpoints. These are essential to being an effective leader. I recently found the third candidate I was looking for when I spent some time with Rich Lee.
The first thing I noticed about Rich was his excellent ability to listen. There may not be a more important quality for an elected leader to possess. But as I listened to Rich, I found a person with an impressive understanding of city policy — past, present and future. Rich understands what it takes to craft policy and to move it forward, and his enthusiasm to serve the citizens of Asheville in this way was evident.
He talked about his work with East West Asheville Neighborhood Association, particularly his efforts to have the trucks from New Belgium Brewery rerouted from Haywood Road in West Asheville. He spoke of his work on the Greenway Commission, and how he’s worked with city staffers and city council to promote, expand and care for the city’s greenways. And he spoke of his love for this city and his eagerness to help make it a better place for all of us to live, work and play.
Rich Lee has volunteer experience, financial smarts, a strong grasp of city policy and a willingness to listen to the needs and hopes of the citizens of Asheville. I’m proud to cast my vote for Marc Hunt, Julie Mayfield and Rich Lee.
— Mike Kenton