The following are answers to rrspin.com questions for the Halifax County Board of Commissioners race:
Why are you seeking this office and what makes you qualified to hold it when elected?
The pandemic of 2020 was definitely life-changing.
For me, the pandemic gave me time to focus on my family, spread positivity throughout my community, and ignited a desire to become more involved politically.
Now as the world starts to reopen, we find ourselves adapting to a “new normal.”
To be successful in this new normal we will have to bring new voices and new ideas to the table. What has worked for Halifax County in the past may not be enough for our county to grow and prosper in the future.
My new voice will bring creative ideas that will grow our communities in the areas of public health, recreation, education, and economics.
I am qualified to serve in this office because I am the average Halifax County resident. According to the 2020 census report, the average citizen of Halifax County NC is 44 years old, minority, and female. That’s me. I am 47 years old, a proud member of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, a mom of two, a wife, a community builder, a 26-year veteran educator and administrator.
I firmly believe for our local government and leadership to effectively govern citizens, the government must be representative of the people.
I will be the equal voice that will lead to equal representation.
My formal education and experience have prepared me to hold the position of county commissioner, as well.
I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1996 earning a BA in Elementary Education and in 2002, I earned a Masters in School Supervision and Administration from East Carolina University. As a school administrator, district level program coordinator and director, I enhance my leadership skills to include organization management, public relations, budget management, staff development/training, program and staff evaluations. All these experiences are needed to be an effective county commissioner.
Would you support a tax increase to support critical capital needs or critical recurring expenses? Please explain why or why not?
No one likes the idea of paying higher taxes, however, positive change and improvement will require funding.
I will do everything within my power as a commissioner to seek grants and other alternative funding for pay increases, projects and initiatives.
However, if it is determined that a tax increase is needed, I will make sure that citizens are informed well in advance and given time to voice their opinions and thoughts to implement the smallest increase possible.
Where do you stand on the issue of school merger?
The merger of the three school districts in Halifax County is not an issue for the county commissioners to decide alone.
I feel the primary job of the board of commissioners is to equitably fund all school systems in Halifax County.
As your county commissioners, it is our duty to ensure that each child in our public schools has access to 21st Century learning in safe and secure buildings.
As your commissioner, I would support collaborative efforts between all three school boards to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers.
I would also support developing an educational advisory council that contained students, parents, teachers, administrators, and school board members from all three districts to discuss issues, share solutions, and promote unique learning opportunities for all students.
Commissioners have passed proposed dog-hunting regulations onto state lawmakers and thus far there has been no action on the matter. Do you support changes in dog-hunting regulations or do you support different enforcement measures?
These questions caused me to reflect on my childhood.
I remember the great joy my granddaddy had during hunting season.
I don’t recall him ever bringing home a great “kill,” but I do remember the smiles he displayed when he was with his hunting buddies.
Many don’t realize the impact hunting has on our local economy.
Many people travel from our state's urban areas to our land rich county to hunt.
While here they pay “land rent” to local farmers so that they can hunt on their land, or get a quick bite to eat from the local grill or store.
Before saying yes to the proposed regulations, I would have to spend some time reading the proposed dog-hunting regulations that the current commissioners have passed to our state lawmakers.
At this time, I would support our county’s game warden to enforce the current regulations fairly for all hunters who visit.
To gain movement on the proposed regulations or future dog-hunting regulations, I would form a committee of hunters, game wardens, farmers/landowners, and state lawmakers to write hunting regulations that protect the interest of all stakeholders.
How would you go about recruiting economic development projects to locate in Halifax County?
To recruit economic development to locate in Halifax County I would travel to the major communities and townships to conduct with residents an SWOT analysis or a brainstorming session with residents to identify our county’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. I would continue to work with residents and the chamber of commerce to develop economic goals for Halifax County and later develop plans for reaching each economic goal.
I would also work with the small business centers of the community college to develop business plans, and contact local media to keep the public informed.
In the last stage of my business recruiting plan, I will actively market our county to potential investors and businesses by offering approved tax cuts, permit cuts, or employee benefits and discounts. Lastly, I would factor in time to reflect and implement needed changes, and adjust the county’s goals.
Do you support construction of a new detention center, expansion of the existing facility or entering into a regional jail agreement? Please defend your answer?
It is the responsibility of the board of commissioners to ensure all county-owned buildings are well-maintained, meet safety standards, and humane conditions for occupancy.
If our current correctional facilities are not meeting these standards, and have been fined because of deficiencies and inhumane conditions, then a plan of renovation must be implemented to fix it.
As your commissioner, I will work with fellow commissioners and leaders from our law enforcement agencies to develop a “Correctional Improvement Plan” for our facilities to support humane living conditions for inmates and safety of our valued correctional officers.
This task force would also develop long range plans to build new correctional facilities and identify funding opportunities.
Do you identify as a conservative, liberal, or moderate?
As a veteran educator, I don’t believe in labels.
I will just simply say I am a citizen of Halifax County that will work hard to bring about positive change to Halifax County. I want Halifax County to be its very best.
Do you support the continuance of Zoom remote meetings?
Yes, it is a great way to keep more of our citizens informed about issues and events affecting our county.
What is the biggest issue facing Halifax County and how would you address it when elected?
As your commissioner it will be my top priority to expand high speed internet to the rural communities of Halifax County.
This expansion of broadband will enhance our educational system, strengthen our local economy, aid in accessibility of health care, and quicken the response of law enforcement and emergency response agencies.
My long-range goal will be to expand public sewage to our rural communities.
Extending public sewage will enable our citizens to build on their land, thus increasing available housing for our citizens.
A public sewage expansion will provide the necessary infrastructure needed to attract larger businesses to the rural communities like Hollister, Hobgood, Enfield, and Scotland Neck.
Do you support raises for all county employees and do you go about sustaining those increases?
Yes, if funding is available. I would support a reasonable pay increase for county employees. I would work with our county manager, financial director, and economic developer to form a realistic and sustainable plan for employee compensation that could involve a mixture of performance based increases, benefits, or bonuses.
Who has been your biggest influence in your career?
My husband is my biggest influence. After living with a diagnosis of stage 3 pancreatic cancer for the last six years he has never given up the fight. He continues to be a blessing and inspiration to all that know him.
Please provide a brief summation on what the board of commissioners would be like under your leadership.
As a member of Halifax County Board of Commissioners, I will bring a new voice, a new perspective, and new ideas to the table.
I will bring recognition and give voice to our rural communities who have been neglected and left out of the conversation.
As your commissioner, I will be willing to leave the table of the boardroom and bring the discussion to the major communities and townships within Halifax County.
I will work to revamp the current committees and advisory councils under the leadership of the board of Commissioners to encourage more citizens to volunteer.
This will encourage sharing of ideas that will make Halifax County grow.