I wanted you to be the first to know that I’m running for re-election to Buncombe County Commission in 2020.
Serving on Commission since 2016 has been a tremendous honor. I’ve met folks all across our county and heard their stories, some joyful, some heartbreaking. Working with community partners and families, I’ve had the honor to help lead the creation of the county’s new Early Childhood Education and Development Fund and now chair the committee that advises this fund. I’ve championed new affordable housing initiatives and worked on new policy responses to the opioid epidemic.
People ask what it’s like to be on County Commission. My answer is pretty simple: I love it. My decision to run again is about wanting to keep representing your voice in Buncombe County and to keep working with you to create policies that help everyone in our community thrive. This means significantly expanding access to quality early childhood education and to safe affordable housing; ensuring we are nimble, compassionate and effective in our responses to the opioid epidemic; creating a 21st Century criminal justice system that ends practices of mass incarceration; and taking local action to respond to the threats of climate change.
Our community deserves the very best of what local government can be and for the full resources of county government to be focused resolutely on solving problems and serving people. I’ve been and will continue to be a voice for reform, transparency and accountability in our county government.
My wife, Meghann, and I have talked a lot about this decision and what it means for our family, which has grown in the past year as we welcomed Lily and Wyatt to the world and as Cal has started kindergarten. What we keep coming back to is this: we need people in government who get what it’s like to be a working family, who know first hand what discrimination feels like, and who understand the real impact that fair, just policies can make in people’s lives. I carry this understanding with me into every meeting I attend and every vote I take as a Commissioner.
From the start, my campaign has been about people coming together - to talk about what matters to them, to dream about what we can do in our community, and to get out and do the work. We built a campaign on the values of equality, community, and opportunity. When it comes to working with those who hold different beliefs, we choose empathy as a starting place; we're doubling down on that now in these times of great division in our nation, I hope you will join me in this campaign.
Can you chip in right now to help me get off to a strong start? Whether it’s $5, $50, or $100, your donation means we can talk to more voters to spread this message.
As you may know, the court-ordered process of redrawing NC General Assembly districts also means that Buncombe County Commission districts will be redrawn. We expect finalized new maps in the coming weeks.
Regardless of what the districts look like, I have more work to do and this December, I will file in whatever district I live in.
It is a great honor to wake up each day and serve our community and it would be a great honor to be re-elected to this role in 2020. I hope to see you at an upcoming community event and you can also follow campaign updates here.
"I’m tired of doing memorial services for people I love who have died of opioid overdoses," Rev. Mark Siler of Haywood Street Community, said on Tuesday night when he spoke at our Buncombe County Commission meeting. Rev. Siler was there to show support for a new program that would expand access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) at the Buncombe County Detention Center. His words echoed the many stories I have heard from people across our community whose lives have been impacted, often tragically, by the opioid crisis.
This past year, I've been honored to work with the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office, NC Department of Health and Human Services, and community partners on expanding access to MAT at the detention center. The Board of Commissioners passed a resolution endorsing this program by a unanimous 7-0 vote at our August 20th meeting.
Click here to read the rest of my recent op-ed, which ran in the Asheville Citizen Times.