Originally from Rutherfordton, NC in Rutherford County, I knew from a young age I wanted to work in law enforcement. After seeking a degree in criminal justice, then coming to terms with my sexuality, I returned home and soon realized that a gay police officer in small conservative town, at that time…was not the best path for me. So, after a 3-year stopover in Charlotte, where I managed a few restaurants, my partner and I headed to Asheville to start our next life chapter. It was then, and here where I discovered my niche…real estate! I got my broker’s license and am currently working with an incredible local firm. My partner, Seth, is an engineer with the power company.
Why am I running for Asheville City Council? A few short years ago, I recall standing on the Sunset Terrace of the Grove Park Inn, looking out over this magnificent city I call home. My heart swelled, I felt blessed to be living in a place so beautiful, peaceful and diverse. As downtown dwellers, Seth and I have enjoyed all the best amenities Asheville has to offer…incredible food, great music, art, architecture, and that vibrant spirit that is downtown. And it was all in a safe environment. But…that’s no longer the case. In Pritchard Park, we see open drug use and sales. Recently there were six overdoses in one day in this park. Everyday we see people sleeping in doorways, tourists literally stepping over or around them. People are being approached at ATM’s and sirens seem to rumble constantly in the background. It’s sad. And it’s not safe.
Safety downtown is not the only deterioration I’ve observed in Asheville. Throughout town, tented homeless encampments and trash generated by the camps, are widely visible. People are dying in those tents. We are enabling their drug use with free needles and placing them in hotels where they are in more danger than in the camps! We’ve experienced a dramatic increase in crime, while watching our police force reduce by 40% and there appears to be little support or respect for the men and women who put their lives on the line for our safety. Merchants are struggling to survive masking mandates, and young people feel defeated by the lack of affordable housing and low salaries. Our current leaders seem unwilling to engage with us, as their solutions to issues are failing all around us. It’s time for some changes… it’s time for balance, transparency and fiscal responsibility that is sadly lacking with the current leadership. So, it’s time for a normal, everyday person like me to step up and run for City Council. Below is the foundation of what I believe citizens deserve and what I plan to work hard to ensure happens once elected.
Diversity- City leadership should have people of all groups in representation. Asheville City Council will benefit from having councilpersons of all backgrounds and experience. We need healthy debate and balance; this is the only way to solve problems.
Advocate- From the earliest I can remember I have always cared deeply about the under-dog and the voiceless. In this current environment so many our neighbors and friends feel that their voices and opinions do not matter. I will be a voice for all people. A voice for our elderly that no longer feel safe. A voice for the kids. A voice for families. A voice for our business community. And a voice for homeless who are victimized here and heard the least of all.
Transparency- City council are elected to represent our communities. When elected as a representative of the community there will not be closed-door decisions. I will push for city council meetings to be in person with the option to view online as well to get the most engagement possible.
Courage- We need leaders who are willing to do what is right even when it may not seem popular. I will courageously work for our community to make it a safer and better place to do business and have a family.