Slogan: New Leadership for Buncombe County
Profession: Owner/operator for home-healthcare agency, management consultant for businesses and nonprofits
Funding: Top donors: Lenoir Medlock, John Parker, Ralph and Deb Bradshaw, Albert Sneed and Jack and Mary Jane Westall. Total raised: $9,000.
Endorsements: Former Asheville mayor Lou Bissette and former chairman of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners Nathan Ramsey
1. Do you favor A) creating a regional water authority, B) giving the existing system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District or C) leaving it under Asheville's control? Why?
I favor having all the facts before I make a decision — no conversation is worthwhile unless all the stakeholders are at the table, and I need to hear from all sides. I can say that I don't have a dog in this fight, unlike some of the other entrenched players.
2. Do you support granting domestic-partner rights and/or benefits to Buncombe County employees? (Yes/No) Why?
It’s not my decision what someone’s family picture looks like — but from a financial perspective, we just can’t afford it right now. Expanding benefits to extended families on the backs of so many folks (many of whom don’t have any insurance at all) really doesn’t seem fair to me.
3. Do you favor offering tax breaks and other economic-development incentives to companies that agree to move here or expand existing facilities and hire local workers? (Yes/No) Why?
The answer is yes; realistically, we have to compete with other communities to bring businesses here. But there must be cap, a guaranteed return, oversight — and a way to recoup the loss if it doesn’t work out. It’s all how you structure the individual deal. Protecting taxpayers’ dollars is vital.
4. Do you think the county should make funding the Connect Buncombe greenways a high priority? (Yes/No) Why?
With so many of our folks living in poverty, unemployment so high and our debt reaching nearly $400 million, it’s not a priority. I think there’s more effective ways to spend our limited resources. Greenways are nice, but not vital. We should look at private funding mechanisms first.
5. What’s the most important role of county government in job creation?
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy — government needs to get out of the way to let it thrive. We also need to address this $400 million county debt. You can’t run a home or a business that way — and it’s certainly no way to run county government.