In an effort to get some some information to voters ahead of Election Day, Randolph Hub emailed candidates in competitive races in Randolph County the same two questions:
1) If you are an incumbent, explain to voters why they should re-elect you. If you are not an incumbent, explain to voters why you should be the choice to fill an incumbent’s seat.
2) Point out the most important issue(s) in your race, your opinion on that or those issues and plans you have to address them should you be elected.
Candidates were given 10 days to respond. Included here are what respondents had to say. In races with more than one respondent, responses are listed in no particular order. If any other responses come in, we will add those to this story on www.randolphhub.com.
1) I feel my prior experience on council and my lifelong residency in Asheboro give me a perspective on the issues that we face in the years ahead.
2) I think the most important issue we currently face is economic development. We must attract and keep jobs for Asheboro. The pandemic has adversely affected employment in our community and must be addressed in a proactive manner.
1) I feel the Asheboro City Council has generally led Asheboro in the right direction. However, this year there is an open seat up for election. There have been no new council members serving in a number of years. As a non-incumbent, I will be able to bring new ideas and look at policies and programs from a different viewpoint. I wish to build on policies which are now in place. I sincerely believe all current Council members and non- incumbent candidates desire the best for Asheboro. If elected, I will draw upon my past experience in local government and concern for Asheboro citizens to assist in Asheboro s continued growth.
2) The premiere issue facing all governmental bodies is prioritizing spending. The city has many needs that must be met. These include replacing aging infrastructure, paving city maintained streets, maintaining city property, and providing services to residents. However, priority must be set on which programs should be budgeted, the amount of funds to spend, and the time frame needed to complete the job. After basic city services are covered, I feel the City Council should hear from the public, stakeholders and community leaders to make decisions on large spending projects. Council members must see that all segments of the community are heard from and benefit from city expenditures. This is especially true for the upcoming budgeting of American Rescue Program funds.
1) I’m an Asheboro Redevelopment Commission member, graduate of Randolph Leadership and NC A&T (early childhood education degree), have served on many boards (NC Human Relations Commission, etc.), and believe strongly in voluntary service. I’m a mother and grandmother, and worked for 25 years as a probation officer and supervisor.
2) Asheboro should continue to be proactive and use strategic planning to grow at an appropriate pace, with a focus on improving the prosperity and quality of life of the whole community. I support the positive work of our mayor and council and want to see important service programs expanded. We should be proactive and provide more services to help the whole community.
People shouldn’t assume crime problems are all in Eastside Asheboro; from my probations work, I see drug problems in the white community, too. We need more women’s shelters, halfway houses, etc., citywide; those programs would help everyone.
1) I truly have a passion for serving my hometown of Asheboro. I am committed to working diligently to grow and improve Asheboro through strategic economic development and quality of life enhancing projects. With my experience and background in planning and zoning, public utilities, roadways and business, I bring a unique understanding of issues that face the City Council and the City of Asheboro. I represent Asheboro on a regional, state and national level through the NC Zoo Council and The National I-73/74 Committee. I enjoy an active roll in Community Development through the Neighborhood Community Watch Program, which allows me listen to our citizens on a regular basis.
2) OVERVIEW: As a council we have two primary responsibilities that are inseparable in driving economic development. First, we must continue to be prepared, ready, willing and able to accommodate the needs of an interested industry through available site selection, utilities, transportation access and engineering services. Asheboro is well prepared in these areas and has some great success stories, especially recently, such as Technimark, Sedia Systems and Fibertex. The Randolph County Mega Site is receiving a tremendous amount of attention in the world marketplace. Asheboro has a tremendous opportunity to increase our industrial recruitment as the economy grows by capitalizing on the Mega Site, our tremendous water and sewer capacities and shepherding the development of new industrial and business sites.
Second, we have to provide the quality of life features expected by those considering locating and investing in Asheboro. These features include recreation, arts, health care, shopping and senior activities.
We have done well and continue to make progress in these areas with projects such as Sunset Theatre, Summer Concert Series, a new Senior Adult Center and the retention of Randolph Health. We are nearing completion of the Zoo City Soccer Complex, a tremendous artificial turf soccer and outdoor recreation facility. The refurbishing of the recently donated McCrary Recreation Facility downtown is complete with a full gymnasium, indoor pool and numerous fitness programs. We will be improving our existing roadways with an upcoming street rehab and paving project and will include sidewalk improvements. We currently have additional green spaces planned such as The David and Pauline Jarrell Center City Garden. Efforts downtown include the recently planned Street Scape project for Trade Street that will be simply transformative for downtown. Asheboro is continually striving to enhance its opportunities.
SPECIFICS: Our council will be greatly served to enhance our efforts on the relationship of Health and Recreation. The two go hand in hand and span all ages. From the development of youth related activities such as the Soccer Complex to the many activities offered by our Senior Adults Association. Successful enduring cities feature items such as walking areas through greenways, improved sidewalk access, dog parks, bike paths and exercise facilities. Asheboro has many of these health and recreation additions on the horizon at this time. We owe it to ourselves as a city to budget and develop these high quality of life necessities as soon as practically possible. Our citizens and businesses will reap the benefits for generations.
Of personal interest to me is the creation of attractive and readily visible entrances to Asheboro on our major corridors, I-73/74 and US 64. Travelers will soon to be “greeted” by robust and vibrant areas announcing their arrival to a very special place and be well aware we are the “Home of the World’s Largest Zoo.” We have a truly “only place on earth” asset that will to be announced and showcased to all who come through or to visit. Now is the time.
It appears there will be an ongoing need to continue to develop methods to provide proper customer service to our citizens during the COVID crisis. For example, the city has had to close the Water Department Service Office except by appointment due to its very small space. It is impossible to conduct all business online and with automated payment machines. Plans are under way to provide an enlarged, safe and secure venue for the Water Department.
NC Zoo — As chairman of the NC Zoo Council (governor’s appointed board of governance), I work closely with Zoo Director Pat Simmons and NC Zoo Society Director Cheryl Armstrong on a wide variety of issues concerning the zoo. Every item is ultimately about the visitor experience and attracting increased attendance. COVID has been a challenge for the NC Zoo. However, the zoo has done well as an outside expansive venue. With approximately 1 million visitors a year in a normal year, we are the state’s top tourist attraction. The biggest news is the new continents being planned and constructed for Asia and Australia. With these additions, the zoo will become a true multi-day overnight stay.
Zoo City Sports Plex — With multiple artificial turf soccer fields and central location in NC, Asheboro will become an instant statewide tournament venue. These events will bring thousands of visitors to stay and experience Asheboro. With its proximity to the NC Zoo, the zoo and the Sports Plex will complement each other extremely well, sharing access via the new Hwy 64 Highway.
Historic McCrary Baseball Park — McCrary Park is a legend in NC baseball. McCrary Park has served us well for decades. The Park is in need of a major facelift. Plans are under way for the historic park to be upfitted to an All-State level of play with new artificial field, team and spectator facilities and parking lots. McCrary Park will once again be the showplace of NC for our local teams and continued tournament play that draws thousands each season to Asheboro.
1) I truly believe that the strongest communities are anchored in a spirit of collaboration. I have the skills and experience to connect various segments of our community to discover shared objectives and work together toward finding innovative yet attainable solutions. Having had the opportunity to work and volunteer in Asheboro for 15+ years, I have a wide perspective and understanding of our community, as well as strong working relationships. Relationships and initiatives can and should reach beyond city limits, and I feel I can help facilitate this.
My 35-plus-year professional career has provided me with skills and insights that I believe would be useful at the Council table, in serving the public, and in dealing with other organizations and entities in Asheboro. I also have 15+ years of significant volunteer experience in Asheboro in leadership roles focused on downtown development, city growth and commitment to families. I have been an Asheboro resident since 2006 and first visited Asheboro in 1990 when I met my husband. Also, I have a master’s degree in public administration which would serve me well in this role. Other specifics about my background can be found at https://www.facebook.com/kellyheathforcitycouncil.
2) Priority number one is to support planned and purposeful growth. I would work to ensure that growth enhances and protects Asheboro’s distinctive qualities, ensures current businesses are supported and appreciated, and attracts new businesses and jobs to complement our current strengths. Asheboro is currently updating its land use development plan with input from across the community, and the ongoing development of that plan will be an important focus for council.
Part of this growth includes three large projects coming to fruition in the next several years — the Zoo City Sportsplex, the McCrary Park improvements, and the creation of entrances along our major corridors that highlight our NC Zoo. It’s critical that we educate and communicate with our citizens about why these projects are important and how they will ultimately benefit all of us. Infrastructure to support strategic growth is also critical through improvements, updates and expansion, so that has to be closely managed.
1) I was born and raised in Asheboro and attended Donna Lee Loflin Elementary School, Asheboro Junior High and graduated from Asheboro High School. My daughter graduated from Asheboro High School after attending Guy B. Teachey Elementary and South Asheboro Middle School. My wife is an employee of Asheboro City Schools so I am very deeply rooted in Asheboro City Schools. I believe our schools are some of the best in our state and have the potential to become even better. My first four years as a board member I observed our schools excel in academic growth and become one of the top ten school districts in the state. Over the past 18 months our district has faced challenges none of us could have ever imagined. I am proud of the way the board, our administration, our staff, our bus drivers, our custodians, our cafeteria workers, our students and their families as well as our community rallied together to support one another through these difficult times. I look forward to continuing to support our district as we prepare students for the 21st century. Over the past six years, I have been involved in capital improvements to our facilities as we have completed an approximate $20 million Phase I addition and renovations to Asheboro High School. I am grateful to our county commissioners for their continued support and anxiously await the completion of Phase 2 which will make our high school a state of the art learning center. It is my desire to be a part of this continued growth and work together with the school board, our administration, staff, teachers, students and parents to further enhance the success of Asheboro City Schools.
2) A critical challenge facing our district today is recovering from this global pandemic and continuing to meet the needs of ALL of our students both academically, socially and emotionally. Collectively, the board, administration, staff, students and families and our community must continue to work together to maintain a safe and healthy environment for our students to continue to learn and grow.
Another critical challenge in our district today is teacher compensation and support. Our teachers are well qualified and extremely dedicated to their profession, therefore we must ensure they receive the support necessary to enhance their careers as well as provide them with the tools needed to prepare our students for the 21st century. Our classrooms cannot take any more cuts whether they be personnel or classroom supplies. In order for our students to become successful, we must support those who touch them and mold them on a daily basis.
I look forward to continuing to work with the current board as a team member to achieve Excellence in Education for ALL students in Asheboro City Schools.
1) During the past 18 months, our community and our schools have been tested in ways no one could’ve imagined. Throughout the pandemic, the Asheboro City Schools Board of Education has made some very difficult, and smart, decisions when it comes to the health and education of our children — from shifting to remote learning to a mask mandate at the start of the current school year.
In the coming years, the district will continue to wrestle with the very real effects of the pandemic that is still exacting a heavy toll on families throughout Randolph County. The physical and mental health of our students and teachers should remain a top priority, and board policies should reflect that. Masks and vaccines will help us as a community beat COVID, but the toll the pandemic has exacted on our schools will require resolve and patience. I believe our teachers, administrators and the board of education are up to the task and that I can help the board navigate the challenges it will face.
Unfortunately, the board also will be faced with an untold number of manufactured crises, such as so-called “critical race theory.” Asheboro parents should be proud that our school leaders and the board of education approach such matters with maturity and reason. Electing me to the board will only bolster the collective commonsense scrutiny the board applies when considering politically-tinged, fringe issues like these.
2) The school district’s most important asset is its teachers. When the district was forced to move to remote instruction for the 2020-21 school year, parents saw how talented and creative our teachers are, as well as some of the challenges they face in the “classroom.” Now that teachers and students are back to in-person instruction, we must give them the support they need to provide a high-quality education for our children.
As our school district continues to grow, so does the demand for excellent teachers. In addition to competition from other, larger public school systems, the number of charter schools in the state has doubled in the past 10 years (from 100 to 200), and the number of teachers in charter schools has grown from 3,000 to almost 8,000.
An added challenge for our district is the need for fluent Spanish-speaking teachers, not just as teachers for our Hispanic students, which comprise 50 percent of our student population, but also for our terrific Spanish language immersion program, which my daughter is a part of as a second grader at Lindley Park Elementary. (Go Leopards!)
As a member of the board of education, I would support policies that both benefit the excellent teachers we have and also attract to our district new teachers who reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of our students.
1) It has been an honor to serve Asheboro City Schools over the past six years, and I am beyond proud to represent this school district. I am a parent of two children within the district and have a vested interest in the impact our school district has on our students. I take my role as a school board member incredibly seriously and no decision is made lightly. It is imperative that I always ask “Is this the best decision for our students?” prior to every vote. I must consider, not only what is best for my children, but what is best for ALL of the children we serve. A student centered mindset is critical when serving as a school board member and this is a virtue I deeply hold. I have learned a great deal over the past six years and returning as an experienced board member will add great value to our board. I look forward to moving into a mentor role as we continue the work we have set out to do.
2) The past 18 months have been a challenge to say the least. Navigating the unknown territory of COVID-19 has been an experience no one could have ever predicted. There have been many lessons learned from this pandemic. Many that we can reflect back upon and use as we continue to move forward with our goals and planning. One of the biggest challenges we face is “unfinished learning,” as our district has coined it. We have already made great strides with unfinished learning yet there is still work to be done. We consider ourselves a district of excellence with high expectations. One who takes great pride in thinking outside the box and dreaming big. This type of innovative thinking, in addition to our rigorous instruction, will allow us to continue to combat unfinished learning. We are also challenged with understanding and addressing the mental health needs of our students. We have an amazing team of social workers, nurses and educators who work tirelessly every day to ensure our students are getting the support and resources they need. COVID-19 has impacted many of our student’s overall well-being and serving these needs will remain top priority.
1) I want to serve children and teachers.
My son and stepsons graduated from Asheboro High School. It contributed to their successes as a lawyer, firefighter and banker. My wife, Marty, retired from Asheboro City Schools.
I have served many community groups as committee chair, officer or board member. These groups included Jaycees, Kiwanis, United Way, Boy Scouts, the Chamber of Commerce, the Administrative Board of First United Methodist Church of Asheboro, Randolph Senior Adults Association, Helpline’s suicide-prevention ministry, and the Deacon Board of First Baptist Church, Asheboro. I was also a Gideon.
Parents want what is best for their children. All children deserve access to high-quality educations that prepare them for real life and equips them with tools for success. Our schools should provide what it takes for children to learn and to grow socially, emotionally and intellectually. A strong public education system has been a core value in our country for centuries. It has provided many to gateways of success. Quality-trained-caring teachers and personnel provide that gateway.
I will seek God’s guidance, seek the best human advice I can obtain, and to lead with insight, vision and explanation. I seek to serve with prudence, temperance, fairness and humility. I promise to listen to parents, teachers, the Superintendent and other board members.
Please vote for me for the Asheboro City School Board if you live in the district. Please also encourage others who live in the district to vote for me.
It is better and less expensive to educate children than to put them in prison later in life.
2) I would like more funding for public education without any reducing of funding for home-schooling, charter schools, or vouchers. I believe all history should be taught without degrading any student or their ancestors. I believe all students and parents should be treated fairly and with respect. Parents should support the school even when their own child is fairly disciplined.
1) I would first like to say thank you to both Beth and Baxter for their years of service. Both have done an excellent job representing the Asheboro City School system. As an Asheboro native, AHS graduate and parent of two boys who will be in ACS for the next 10 years, I am committed to working respectfully alongside the board members on all issues. I want voters to know that I will not shy away from issues and policies that I do not believe are in the best interest of our students. I believe all children deserve the highest quality of education possible and want to work towards making sure our teachers can provide that. I want voters to know that I am committed to making sure our board communicates and is transparent with our community, our staff and our district families. Lastly, I want voters to know I have a strong passion for our students and teachers and that I will work to the best of my ability to ensure that ACS continues to be the wonderful school district that is always has been.
2) COVID recovery: One of my most immediate concerns is getting all of our kids back on track and up to grade level. I have seen first-hand in our classrooms how many of our students were unable to remain on track during the remote learning period of COVID. With kids now back in the classroom, we need to equip and support our teachers in a way that allows them to focus on areas of concern. Focusing on staff development, staff support and teacher retention will help us work towards this.
1) Asheboro City Schools already has a strong Board of Education — with diverse backgrounds and strengths from each member. While there are two incumbents running, there are four seats coming open, one of which belongs to my friend Art Martinez. I have been contemplating joining the board for a few years, and when I heard that Art (as well as another board member) were not seeking re-election, I decided this was the time to step forward. I feel that my experience will help me to bring unique contributions to this decision-making body.
Many of you know that I am a proud ACS parent, and served as PTO President of McCrary Elementary for several years, as well as a Parent Representative on the School Improvement Team. Having worked as a Real Estate agent with the Wilhoit Group for the last 5 years, I have the distinct pleasure of introducing new people to this wonderful town. I thrive on connecting individuals with the things that make our town so special: Our local businesses, churches, community members and, of course, our schools! I love sharing proudly about the things that ACS has to offer new students, from our wonderful Dual Language Programs to the Zoo School campus at our world-renowned zoo.
Prior to my career in real estate, I spent over a decade working with children and adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. More recently, I have volunteered as a Randolph County Guardian ad Litem for children with disabilities within the foster care system. I have attended countless IEP meetings as an advocate for these students and families, and have even assisted with training new assistants in the classroom. These experiences have granted me important insight to some of the specific challenges that our Special Education educators face.
My goal is to earn the opportunity to elevate the voices of ALL students in Asheboro City Schools. I am committed to transparency in decision-making, and to being accessible to families, educators and the community.
2) There are a lot of hot button topics in education today. However, when I consider the “most important issue,” I think of what will have the most lasting impact on our students, and that is Educator Retention and Recruitment (with an emphasis on retention).
This is not a concern unique to Asheboro City — districts nationwide are experiencing staffing shortages, and educators at all levels are leaving the field at alarming rates. While we have great leadership, wonderful families and students bursting with potential, that potential remains untapped without invested, well-trained teachers in our classrooms. They are our first line of defense, and our schools are only as strong as our teachers.
One of the first things I noticed when our family joined McCrary Elementary was that I never spoke to a teacher that didn’t seem fully dedicated to their students’ emotional wellbeing and academic success. I feel this is the case for most of our teachers in the district. They are passionate, they are committed, but they are tired.
The complexities of the last 18 months have changed so much of our teachers’ daily jobs, and now they are working diligently to recover students’ unfinished learning due to COVID — with a significant number of students across the country testing more than 2 grade levels behind. After watching the presentations of our schools’ Continuous Improvement Plans at the last Board Meeting, I am confident that our staff will work diligently to catch our students up, but we have to continue to support and engage them to keep these skilled teachers in our district.
This issue is clearly a multi-faceted one, that will require more than one solution. My hope is to think creatively on how we can engage our community stakeholders and businesses to support our teachers, and attract new ones. Being able to attract and recruit additional qualified staff will also provide support for our current teachers, as they continue to work tirelessly toward student success.
1) I am the right choice for voters looking for someone to listen to parents and take a stand for what is right. I am a parent of a 1st grader myself and understand the concerns that parents face on a day-to-day basis. I am also a committed Christian and as such, I strive to make decisions based on scriptural truth, not emotion or cultural swings of the day.
2) I am concerned with the encroaching of Wokeness and Critical Race Theory into our schools. I worry that even though there are good motives behind it, this ideology will divide our students by skin color. This would be a regression of our culture. We need to focus on providing our students an excellent education and leave political ideology outside the classroom.
1) I am a lifelong resident of Ramseur and have lived in the city limits for 29 years. I have been the one to set back and look at what is going on in town and not comment on anything. I became concerned about the town after reading some of the negative comments posted on the social media platform about our town. I begin to wonder, is it really that bad and, if so, what can I do to help change the negative comments into positive statements.
The heart of our town is our residents. Without them, we won’t have a town. Elected officials must listen to the citizens and work hard to make sure they are heard and valued.
If I want to help, I need to be a voice to represent the citizens and what is best for the town. My desire is to bring a listening ear and to make unbiased decisions with the town leaders.
Transparency in government is very important. I will strive to increase the knowledge made available to our citizens and explain why certain decisions are made.
I will work with the town to attract new businesses to town. Our town needs more employers, as well as more recreational businesses to make Ramseur a more desirable place to be.
I will be fair and unbiased with my vote and my decision-making. I am not someone that goes along with the majority just because.
I will represent the citizens with an open mind as to what is best for the town.
2) I cannot say how I will make this happen, we just have to take one day and one situation at a time as it comes up and then the board as a whole has to decide not just me how to come up with the answers.
1) First time running for council, I feel my job and civil experiences qualify me as the best candidate. I look to bring honesty and integrity back to the council.
2) Most important issue, city has over 500 new homes on the books to be built in the near future. I feel we need to “step back” and make sure we don’t allow any more until we can see if we are not overcrowding our schools and law enforcement. Also, with these homes coming I feel that commercial development will follow and we need to be “selective” on who comes in with that!development will follow and we need to be “selective” on who comes in with that!