One of my favorite things is getting out in the community to spend time with kids and see where they're spending time. Recently, along with Commissioner Al Whitesides and Director of Strategic Parnterships Rachael Nygaard, I got to tour the Asheville City Schools Preschool, which serves almost 200 kids in our community with quality early childhood education.
Buncombe County's work around early childhood education and development has a lot of momentum and urgency right now. This is my top focus as a County Commissioner and the reason is simple: currently almost 50% of local kids live in poor to low-income homes and 20% experience food insecurity. We can do better by our kids - and we must. That's why we're launching the Early Childhood Education and Development Fund, which will provide $3.6 million of funding annually for local initiatives focused on early childhood. We're also launching the Early Childhood and Development Committee, which will play an advisory role on funding and policy issues.
Learn more about the county's work here: www.buncombecounty.org/governing/community-investment/grants/early-childhood-education-development-fund.aspx
I'm really excited to be part of this event tonight with Sheriff Quentin Miller, Asheville City Council member Sheneika Smith, Leila Barazandeh, Field Director for Quentin Miller for Sheriff, and Aaron Sarver, Soil and Water District Supervisor - hope to see you there! We'll be talking about running as a first time candidate and I can't wait to hear what folks are thinking about for 2020, 2022, and beyond.
I ran for office for the first time in 2016 and was elected to County Commission - going from working on campaigns to being a candidate was a big step - challenging, inspiring, exhausting, energizing and a whole lot more. I'm always excited to talk to folks who are thinking about getting involved in politics and public service, whether that's running for office, working on a campaign, or serving on a board or commission.
"What You Need to Know to Run As a First Time Candidate"
Date: Feb. 28
Time: 6 - 7:30 PM
Location: The Block off Biltmore
Buncombe County Sheriff Miller announced yesterday that the Sheriff's Office will no longer honor ICE detainers. “It is vital that our immigrant community can call the Sheriff’s Office without fear when they are in need of assistance from law enforcement,” said Sheriff Miller, flanked by BCSO leadership, leaders from CIMA, and local clergy at a press conference announcing the new policy.
Sheriff Miller's statement is available here: https://www.buncombecounty.org/countycenter/news-detail.aspx?id=17850
As a County Commissioner I support this new policy. And I continue to stand with our immigrant brothers & sisters as we strive to create communities where love, not fear, guides us.
So excited about this! Please help spread the word to folks who'd be interested in serving on the Buncombe County Early Childhood Committee, which will help advise policy and funding related to our strategic priority to ensure that every child in Buncombe County has an equal opportunity to thrive.
I'm honored to serve with Commissioners Whitesides and Pressley on this committee. Applications for community members are due by March 15, with full information here:
This Committee will help advise the launch of the county's new Early Childhood Education and Development Fund, which will provide $3.6 million annually to support local initiatives to increase access to high quality early childhood education, by creating new classrooms and centers, supporting the workforce development pipeline to recruit and retain teachers in the field, supporting vital wraparound services for children and families, and supporting innovative strategies to help the local system scale up.
On October 30, Buncombe County Commission voted 6-1 to create an Early Childhood Education and Development Fund and commit $3.6 annually to this fund to support creating new classrooms and centers, supporting workforce development, supporting our local system in scaling up, and providing support services to kids and families.
This is about making a permanent commitment to kids in Buncombe County and about creating a community where every kiddo has an equal opportunity to thrive.
Thank you to everyone who showed up to advocate, sent messages and called to show support, including the amazing Kids Justice League from BeLoved Community, pictured above.
And thank you to fellow Commissioners, county staff and community partners for the collaboration, hard work and passion that went into developing and passing this resolution. It's a true honor to work on these issues and it will continue to be a focus of my work on County Commission.
Read more here.