I support Gordon Smith for Buncombe County commissioner because we need a champion to fight for local residents.
While our tourism industry has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade, local residents find it increasingly difficult to live and work here.
Gordon is focused on important issues such as affordable housing, living wages and increased accountability from the Tourism Development Authority.
Our hotel-occupancy tax serves a single purpose — increase the number of hotel stays. This is different from most cities in the country and leaves residents holding the bill for increased public safety and infrastructure costs.
We need local leaders who are willing to stand up to hoteliers and demand a fair deal for residents. When the TDA proposed an increase in the hotel-occupancy tax, Gordon advocated that a portion of the tax be allocated to local infrastructure needs.
Gordon has continued to apply pressure to the TDA, refusing to appoint board members who won’t push to revise the occupancy-tax structure and demanding that tourism-related businesses pay living wages to their employees.
Gordon also supports increased government transparency. Last year, I proposed an open data policy to make it easier for citizens to access the information that drives our public decisions; Gordon was instrumental in seeing that resolution adopted by the city.
The continued growth of Asheville and Buncombe County will present challenges; I encourage you to join me in supporting Gordon’s efforts to preserve a community where residents have the opportunity to thrive.
— Patrick Conant
Editor’s note: Conant reports that his business (PRC Applications) was contracted to create Smith’s campaign website (www.gordonforbuncombe.org).