Opinion

An exciting time to be running for re-election in Carrboro – Jacquelyn M. Gist

Jacquelyn M. Gist
Jacquelyn M. Gist

On July Fourth I left home early and went to the corner of Weaver and Center streets to decorate Louise for the parade. I have decorated this iconic Carrboro statue every Fourth for almost 20 years. Later in the morning I took part in the People’s Parade.

I have lived here since 1976 and have served on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen since 1989. Although many things have changed during that time the one thing that remains the same is Carrboro's true sense of community. Carrboro is not perfect, we face many challanges. But you can count on our community to come together to find solutions.

That is why I am excited to announce that I am seeking re-election to the Carrboro Board of Aldermen. I am excited because I want to continue helping to lead Carrboro as we move forward while maintaining our identify as a welcoming community where life is lived on a human scale and we care about each other.

This June several important initiatives that have involved years of work by many members of our community came to fruition.

On June 21, ground was broken for the Rogers Road community sewer project, a critical step that will improve the lives of members of our community who for too many years were unjustly forced to live with the landfill.

Last month the board approved the final plans for the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Park. As the board liaison to the Recreation and Parks Commission I helped to lead numerous community conversations on how to best develop a park that reflects Carrboro's commitment to working through our differences and finding solutions that are inclusive.

Also in June the large group of Carrboro citizens who have long advocated for a library in our town had cause for celebration when the Board of Aldermen voted to move forward with plans to build a branch of the Orange County library on the corner of Carr and Greensboro Streets. I initiated the town’s purchase of the lot several years ago when it became available.

In June the Board of Aldermen passed the 2017-18 budget for the town, once again with no tax increase. Included in the budget was a vitally important initiative, funding for a new staff person to manage our new Storm Water Utility. While maybe not as obviously exciting as a park or library this is arguably among the most significantly important actions the board has taken this year.

This is an exciting and challenging time to be serving the citizens of Carrboro. Chief among the challenges are housing affordability and environmental protection. Over my years of service, both before and since I was first elected, I have worked hard to help our community address these critical needs.

During my first term of office, I was appointed as Carrboro's representative on the steering committee, which became the founding board of the Orange Community Housing Corporation, now the Orange County Home Trust. I have served several terms on the board of directors as well. My internship and first job after graduate school was helping to coordinate the IFC Community Homeless Shelter. Affordable housing is an ongoing challenge facing our community that requires constant attention.

Among my first votes as an alderman was support of the creation of the University Lake Watershed Protection ordinance, which remains among the strongest in our region and protects the health of of drinking water. I initiated the first study of the health of Bolin Creek and have remained a strong advocate for its protection. I have supported creek and watershed protection as well as initiatives to lessen our dependency on climate destroying fossil fuels. Environmental protection and housing affordability are not simple problems with easy solutions, I trust our community to remain committed to addressing them both with creativity and hard work.

My feelings of love for Carrboro while watching the Fourth of July parade, my appreciation of our town’s ability to come together to solve complex problems as evidenced by all of initiatives that became realities in June and my belief in our town's commitment to addressing ongoing complex problems such as housing affordability and environmental protection combine to make me excited to announce that I am seeking re-election to the Carrboro Board of Aldermen.

Editor’s note: Candidates in this fall’s elections are invited to submit one letter of 250 words per month and a total of two guest columns of up to 750 words between now and Oct 15.

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