As I sat down to write this “why I’m running” post, I came across a similar post I’d written when I first ran for Town Commissioner in 2007. I was struck by how what I feel today is practically identical to what I wrote over 10 years ago about what motivates me to continue my service on the Davidson Town Board of Commissioners.
In 2007, I was effectively a single issue candidate, running in opposition to the Town’s proposed purchase of a cable system. In 2007 I wrote “…failure in the cable business will be very detrimental to our Town’s finances. My strong business background, particularly in finance and process improvement, will allow me to serve you as a good steward of our collective investment in cable, and help to ensure the success of our cable operation…“. I was not elected, and the Town went forward with the MI-Connection purchase. In 2011, I was elected, and have fulfilled the commitment to help the Town be a responsible steward of your tax dollars. MI-Connection, while still requiring financial support each year from Davidson, has improved greatly since 2007. We’ve kept our tax rate steady, and our per capita expenditures of your tax dollars compare favorably with other similar towns in North Carolina.
In 2007, I wrote that “…preservation of our open space is critical not only environmentally, but economically as well...”. Today, this is more true than ever. In 2017 this Town Board approved the Rural Area Plan, a plan that achieves the protection of 63% of our rural area as publicly accessible open space, a requirement even higher than the 50% goal set by the Town in the early 2000s. This plan will result in an ADDITIONAL 340 acres of land in the rural area being preserved as open space. As a past president of the Davidson Lands Conservancy, and a life long lover of nature, I pushed for ever higher open space requirements as our Rural Area Plan was being developed, and the result in a plan that was recognized by ‘Sustain Charlotte’ as a model for open space preservation in the context of a growing region.
In 2007, I wrote that “Davidson will continue to grow. To say otherwise does not square with reality. We must debate not only the extent to which we grow, but also how and where we grow. I feel that growth needs to occur near existing infrastructure.” Davidson has grown, although our rate of growth has slowed to its lowest level since the 1980s. In 2017, I still feel that the conversation must be about how and where we grow, not whether we grow. Davidson sits just outside of Charlotte, one of the fasting growing metropolitan regions in the United States. We are a very desirable town. As a result, people will move to Davidson. So, as 10 years ago, the discussion must be how and where we grow. If someone tells you they’re going to stop growth, ask them how they propose to do that in a Town in the Charlotte region in a state dominated by a legislature that strongly favors the rights of property owners.
Davidson has multiple core values. Some of them naturally conflict with others. Being an effective Town Commissioner requires the ability to balance these multiple values, and to understand how our actions affect them. I support all of these core values, and over the past six years as one of your five Town Commissioners, I feel I have helped to strike the right balance of these core values. Yes, we’ve grown, but we’re still a small town with events and places that bring us together as a community. Yes, MI-Connection still presents a financial challenge, but overall our financial status has greatly strengthened over the past six years, and the investment that property owners have made in Davidson has been rewarded handsomely. In the face of development pressure, we’ve continued and even increased our commitment to protecting our open spaces. By requiring a diversity of housing types and sizes in our new planning ordinance, we’ve strengthened our commitment to diversity even in the face of a lawsuit challenging our Affordable Housing ordinance. We’ve worked with the college, and we’ve supported our local businesses, which have added several hundred new jobs since 2011, making it possible for more people to live and work in Davidson.
I’ll close with a comment about process and transparency. Since I was elected in 2011, we’ve had more public meetings than ever. We’ve added monthly informal meetings and we’ve held regular ‘Commissioner Chats.’ There is more opportunity to engage with your elected officials in a public setting than ever before, and I have always made myself available to meet with citizens individually. ‘Transparency’ also means being open, honest, and consistent in your views. My positions have been consistent over the past 10 years that I have been involved in public life in Davidson. This consistency is driven by the values I’ve had my whole life: protecting the environment, ensuring equal rights for everyone, and being judicious about financial matters, as well adhering to the multiple core values of the Town of Davidson.
My campaign slogan is “Experience You Can Trust.” There are 13 candidates for Town Commissioner this year. Some are new to Davidson, and several of them have not even voted in a Town of Davidson election since they moved here (and one has only lived here 7 months, so hasn’t yet had a chance to vote). I have a track record of being involved in our Town since moving here in 2005, and have proudly served as one of your Town Commissioners since 2011. In short, you know me and you know my support for all of the core values in Davidson.
Thank you for your interest in Davidson, and I ask for one of your votes on November 7th!