Jasmine Beach-Ferrara on the Issues
Why Policy Matters
At its best, policy helps kids, families, and elders thrive and also expresses a community’s shared values. My approach to Buncombe County policy is shaped by listening to the stories of people in our community; the core values of community, equality and opportunity; the expertise of county staff, community leaders and service providers; and evidence-based research.
It’s also shaped by how my life, and the lives of those I love, have been directly impacted by both good policies and bad policies.
As a woman, a LGBTQ person, a parent, and someone who grew up raised by a single mom who worked tirelessly to make sure I had access to great schools and opportunities, I’ve directly felt the impact of excellent policies - like strong public schools - and harmful ones - like North Carolina’s Amendment One. I've seen friends and loved one impacted by policies around racial justice and access to quality health care.
Policy is powerful. But if we are to move the needle on entrenched problems like poverty, good policy must be combined with other approaches as non-profits, faith communities, the private sector, and community members work together in new ways.
I'm proud to have voted in favor of the six Strategic Priorities that Buncombe County Commission passed in December 2017. These priorities focus on Early Childhood Education; Affordable Housing; Clean and Renewable Energy; Diverse Community Workforce; Justice Resource Center; and the Opioid Crisis. Learn more here.
My focus area is early childhood issues and working to create a Buncombe County where every child has an equal opportunity to thrive. In 2017, I was honored to represent Buncombe County on the Institute for Emerging Issues Blue Ribbon Commission on Local Financing Options for Early Childhood Education; our report on this topic is available here. In March 2018, I presented about Buncombe County's approach to trauma-informed early childhood programs and services at the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference.
We also need to be responsive to the ever-changing needs of all our citizens. That’s why, as Commissioner, I’ll have an open door to all community members. But now, I want to hear from you. What problems do you think Buncombe County needs to address and what solutions do you think we need to look at?