Holly Jones is a Democrat running for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. A current Asheville City Council member, Jones is running on the things that have made her successful in her seven years on Council - government transparency, cooperation, environmental stewardship, improved health care access, and building a green collar economy.
Buncombe County has a population of about 250,000 people, making it the most populated county in the west of the state. In Buncombe as in the rest of North Carolina, manufacturing jobs have dried up as NAFTA took hold and globalized the textile markets. Past efforts to attract new businesses to Buncombe have been more of the same tired tax incentives and cash rewards while relying heavily on unfettered real estate development and a tourism service economy to prop up employment.
Her opponents include an NC Association of Realtors "Hall of Famer". They're going to be exceptionally well-funded as real estate interests try to roll back environmental protections.
Jones proposes prioritizing clean renewable energy and working with Congressman Heath Shuler to continue to support alternative energy start up companies. Many of her opponents were in favor of an unnecessary diesel burning power plant, which was defeated two years ago following revelations that County staff met secretly with Progress Energy for two years to devise a sweetheart deal. Further, Jones' economic policy is in harmony with environmental policy as she pushes "reducing our global warming pollutants by 80% by better building codes."
The Republicans in the race are all spouting a line about cutting the County budget, and all of them are eyeballing the Health and Human Services as the first place to make cuts. Now, with a health care crisis coupled with a housing crisis, Republicans would like to cut services to needy families. Jones has a diiferent attitude altogether:
"Holly's education, background and passion are in the fields of public health and support for working families . As Director of the YWCA for the past eleven years, she knows what poverty means to women and children in our community. Parents are working two jobs, without the health insurance, struggling to make ends meet.
Almost 35% of the County's budget is dedicated to health and human services. We need someone with Holly's experience, knowledge and commitment to improving public health and building stronger families."
And while the Republicans in the race all favor repeal of land-use planning policy (a.k.a. Zoning) and repeal of steep slope regulations on development, Jones sees the bigger picture and aims to move our entire region into a thoughtful future:
"We urgently need a cooperative, regional plan to tackle the challenges of growth and development. We must stop taking a reactionary, piecemeal approach to land use. Instead, we need a vision for our future, to protect what we love and value about Buncombe county."
Fostering walkable, bikeable and transit friendly neighborhoods throughout the county.
Strong incentives for green building.
Provisions to assure creation of affordable housing.
Creation of a county-wide network of protected natural areas and greenways.
Preservation of working family farms.
Strengthening the economic vibrancy of the downtown areas of all our municipalities.
Jones is taking strong, progressive stands on important issues from global warming to poverty. It's refreshing to have a Democrat running openly as a progressive. Jones was the highest vote-getter in the primary election, getting four thousand more votes than Barack Obama in Buncombe County! In order to continue building a progressive movement in North Carolina, it's important for us to step up and support those candidates who reflect our values and our hopes for our state.
If you live in Buncombe County, please volunteer for Holly campaign. She had over a hundred volunteers working the polls on primary day, and she's aiming for over two hundred for the general election.
If you live anywhere else, please donate to Holly's campaign. Jones is relying on the donations of principled citizens looking to create real progress on government transparency, environmental protection, economic development, and health care.