Affordable Housing may be the biggest crisis facing our county right now. We are THE hotspot for real estate in America. While current homeowners have gained tens or hundreds of thousands in wealth as their home values increase, those who do not yet own a home face unprecedented market forces as they attempt to achieve the American Dream. Instead of pricing out our friends and neighbors, we must build an inclusive and welcoming Wake County for all. The current commissioners have been doing an excellent job leading the way on this issue, and I look forward to continuing their work. We must also continue to work with the many cities, towns, and other stakeholders in Wake County to address this growing need countywide.
Education has always been a priority of mine. Not only did I attend and benefit from our fine public schools, but my mother was also an 8th grade English teacher here in Wake County for more than 2 decades. As commissioner, I will work with our school board and staff to determine what we can do for our schools, and make sure we find the best ways to fund those projects moving forward. If elected, I will particularly look for ways to impact our early education and K-3 literacy programs.
I pledge to meet our school system’s needs each time we vote on a budget, and to support a bonds package to fund a backlog of school maintenance and construction needs. I will continue the great work of connecting our K-12 students with opportunities through Wake Tech, making education accessible for all. Finally, I will remind the NCGA of their habitual underfunding of public education and will work hard to keep the Leandro ruling and its mandates front and center.
Parks & Greenways and other natural features are essential to our quality of life here in Wake County. I love taking my dog to a park to let him run off leash, or bringing him on a hike through the woods, along the Neuse River Greenway, or around Shelley Lake. I also love to kayak over at Robertson Millpond Preserve or Falls Lake. All of Wake County should have equitable access to high quality parks, including a place for their furry friends to run and play.
The outgoing District 1 Commissioner, Sig Hutchinson, has long championed preservation efforts in Wake County, and advocated for the expansion of our parks and greenway system. As your next Commissioner from District 1, I promise to keep up that legacy and work to preserve our county’s best features for generations to come.
The Economy in Wake County is strong, and Wake County is a top destination for employers and entrepreneurs. As a result, we continue to see record job growth and investment in this region. I look forward to helping Wake County maintain its competitive edge, and remain a leader in jobs, employment rates, wages, and quality of life.
While wages and home values have risen during the pandemic, those increases have been offset by inflation and across-the-board cost of living increases. Housing, gas, and even dinner cost more than ever before, and our friends and neighbors are feeling the strain. People are struggling in our community, and I will work hard to make sure that our rising tide here in Wake County lifts ALL boats.
Public Health & Safety Services in Wake County are important to maintaining our quality of life. The pandemic has exposed the weaknesses in our systems, and now it is our job to improve what we can. Whether we are discussing firefighters, EMS, mental health professionals, law enforcement, public defenders and prosecutors, or 911 operators, we all know our community relies on these public servants, and thrives when we have enough high-quality, well-trained candidates to fill open positions.
As your next County Commissioner, I will work to raise first responder pay, provide quality benefits, and make certain that our community remains safe and prosperous. When things do go wrong, our citizen heroes should be well equipped to respond quickly, appropriately, and safely. With a combination of preventative and responsive measures, Wake County can continue to be a great and safe place to live.