More Than Words, Action
Too often politics is about saying what’s popular and little action. I think we’re seeing a whole lot of that on Capitol Hill these days and it’s not how I ever wanted to run my campaign. So from the start, I committed to run a campaign based on ideas and action. With the help of my incredible team: Brice Barnes, Jeff Swift and Nathan Spencer, I’ve done just that and I want to share with you what we have done so far.
Raleigh keeps making it to the top of some incredible lists and we’re being recognized for the hard work and investment we have put in for the last few years. I hosted my first Raleigh Plus Google Hangout on Keeping Raleigh Competitive. I asked participants to tell me what they felt our city needed to stay competitive going forward. One thing almost everyone agreed was an issue was increasing Internet broadband/bandwidth within Raleigh. I am happy to say the City Council is working on this with the staff trying to make a city-wide high speed fiber network for everyone.
It’s no secret that our city is attracting an incredible number of talented entrepreneurs and small business owners. I believe in the innovation of people who look outside the box for solutions. It’s a major reason why I helped launch CityCampNC.
In July I hosted an Entrepreneurs Roundtable with The Publicus Community. We had an incredible conversation and I learned a lot. One thing that especially stuck with me that almost everyone said that they wanted to have more of a say in the search for a new City Manager and that the new City Manager should be more business focused. To address these concerns, I proposed that the search be open and transparent. When that was unsuccessful, I launched a page on my site to allow folks to put in their feedback and I took those voices into the meetings.
Those that know me, know that I am a strong supporter of public transportation and often voice a need to support our investments throughout completion. Because of this, I did a Raleigh Plus Hangout on transit and invited participants to ask Eric Lamb, Raleigh’s Transportation Manager and Damien Graham, Triangle Transit’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs, questions.
It was a huge success and we were able to raise awareness about the Transportation Bond you’ll be voting on Tuesday and the need for more alternative revenue sources like advertising for our transit agency. I am excited to be working with the rest of the City Council on plans for Bus Rapid Transit, developing Union Station and increased bus service in the coming years.
Bikes & Pedestrians
I believe in investing in the things that help us stay healthy, create a sustainable environment and increase the quality of life for our residents. I fought hard for the Dorothy Dix Park plan, continue to push for more green space and even received the endorsement of the Sierra Club this year!
Hoping to learn more from avid users, I hosted a Raleigh Plus discussion about how we can make Raleigh more bike and pedestrian friendly. Some of the great ideas that came out of it were connecting the Greenways to the RTP so people can easily ride/walk to work, opening the Greenways to more commuter traffic during the week and a public hearing on bike and pedestrian safety before the City Council in November.
Garbage, Recycling and Composting
I hosted a discussion on solid waste pickup and invited Jason Pfister who has studied Raleigh’s trash collection and disposal for many years. Raleigh’s solid waste department operates using yesterday's technology. Meanwhile, we’re running out of landfill space and residents are the ones who will pay the price.
One innovative method to cut costs and increase recycling through individual responsibility is a process known as Pay As You Throw. During our Hangout, we described the program and people were able to ask questions both in the discussion and online. We were able to increase awareness on the costs associated with garbage waste and recycling, offer alternatives to the current method, and encourage people to conserve and compost.
Education is a big driver for me as a father and as a community leader. Quality public education is a huge driver of economic development, much more than incentives in communities without it.
I had the opportunity to host an Education Roundtable with the help of Business Forward. We had a great mix of business leaders, teachers, administrators and elected officials. Out of that I learned a lot about how disenfranchised our teachers feel and the dire need for more resources and support they need to keep educating our children. I have made my voice heard to our legislative leaders and I am continuing to look for ways that we can help teachers feel more respected. I am working on a project to connect teachers and their former students through notes. I’ll keep you informed about our progress with that.
Treating Addiction as a Disease
My brother has fought an addiction for many years. He’s been homeless, sick and unable to care for his own family many times. Because of this, I have seen what addiction can do to a family and how we as a society “treats” this disease. I have also had the opportunity to meet many people with similar personal stories, many who have seen their family members suffering end in the same way we often see our family members succumb to cancer.
Hoping to raise awareness of our policies and attitudes that punish addiction and set up people to be a drain on our society whether as one of the 50% of prison population suffering from some form of addiction or through being homeless or at risk of being homeless, I hosted a Raleigh Plus discussion about it. I invited Chris Budnick of The Healing Place and Christopher Ball of the Converting Hearts Ministries to share their expertise. I hope that you will watch and remember those who suffer so greatly and end up on the street because society can’t be troubled to provide better resources for them.
Image credit, Raleigh Skyline: twbuckner