It is disappointing that North Carolina’s commitment to public education has been in question since 2011. Our state’s rank, based on the Education Week Research Center, has been on a decline since its 2011 rank at 19th in the nation to 37th in 2019. We must consistently provide the resources and opportunities to students in order for them to become constructive and responsible community members.
The biggest impact we can make for our community is in our education. Providing a quality education is critical to establishing the foundation for our youth and adults to reach their potential. I will support teachers’ salary supplements in order to retain and attract effective teachers. We must address overcrowdedness in our schools and maintain an adequate teacher to student ratio by adding to the educational infrastructure as needed. I support Chatham County Promise, which provides two years of tuition-free at our Central Carolina Community College for qualifying Chatham County high school graduates. I look forward to contributing to the quality of education for our students.
Currently, there are limited opportunities for employment in Chatham County. A majority of our residents must commute to our neighboring counties for work. The longer the commute, the more time inefficient for our families and a greater burden to our environment it is. Additionally, the individuals who go through our school system often decide to leave Chatham County due to the lack of employment opportunities. We must bring jobs to help retain the individuals who go through our schools, so that they can contribute and stimulate our local economy.
Bringing additional employment opportunities into chatham not only addresses those issues, but also helps alleviate the tax burden to our residents. Increasing employment opportunities in Chatham County will help stimulate our local economy, and provide additional revenue to our local government. I am for providing a quality education and seeking employers that pay a livable wage and competitive benefits!
There is a shortage of homes that are available and affordable for our residents in District 5 and throughout Chatham County. There is an inflation in the rent price of homes due to the shortage and high demand, and because property value rose. Existing and newly developed homes are not within the financial means of many residents. District 5 has one of the lowest, if not the lowest average income in Chatham County! When our residents are paying 30% or more of their income on rent or mortgage, we have an issue that must be addressed immediately!
I grew up in a family that renovates homes for additional income. I began learning how to renovate homes from my father when I was eight years old. I understand the property value and rental value of homes. I believe that we can address the housing issue two ways: increasing the number of homes and or increasing the income level by attracting new employment. If elected, I will work with the Board of Commissioners to increase affordable housing in Chatham County, and to bring money into District 5.
As a member of the Chatham County Planning Board, I have heard concerns from community members regarding the rate of growth, access to clean water, increased deforestation, sewage, and zoning. Through my experience and education, I have learned the importance of being eco-conscious and to listen to the concerns of Chatham County residents.
I believe that the Chatham County Comprehensive Plan provides a foundation for preserving our rural character and identifies areas where development can be located. Growth and development is coming, and we need to be strategic about it. Environmental issues such as watershed protection, land conservation, tree preservation, and others will be at the forefront! With the current development of our Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), I will be an advocate for clear and responsible guidelines, in order to protect our natural resources.