Municipality: City of Southport
Position Interested In: District Representative (District 3)
Tell us why you would like to serve in a leadership position at the League. In particular, specify goals you would like to accomplish as an officer or board member and indicate how, if attained, they will help to achieve Vision 2030 – the League’s future vision of how cities and towns will operate in 2030.
I am a native of a small town in Southeastern NC, called Southport, NC. It was my father's home all his life. He was lucky enough to grow up and raise a family in his hometown due to a job with Military Ocean Terminal--Sunny Point. I was also the benefactor of that job when he was able to send me to N.C. State in Raleigh for my education. I lived in Raleigh/Durham until close to his passing when I returned to my hometown where I found that securing sustaining-wage jobs and raising a family were becoming more difficult everyday. Knowing the benefits of a region like RDU and its many job opportunities, I see a great migration happening for NC natives from their rural hometowns to the metropolitan areas due to the need for sustainable income. Our culture as North Carolinians is being eroded because rural areas are not being developed with educational and economic opportunities. This is forcing our educated children to move from their heritage to survive and prosper, leaving our rural areas as places for retirement and migration for people wanting to live a cheaper life.
As this happens, I am seeing NC families being forced to leave their hometowns, while aging parents miss out on watching generations flourish at home. We have to diversify our economy especially around areas where tourism seems the strong attribute for the community. People need sustainable wage w-2 yearly income jobs to buy homes, pay for health-care, and send their young ones on to higher education. Most importantly, we need for those young ones to have a place to land back at home once they have learned new skills.
I would promote strong entrepreneurial skills in rural education to build the Amazon of the future, providing jobs for the ideas of tomorrow. I'm familiar with technology like a Raspberry Pi, which is $45 computer that can teach kids how to build home automation, robots, cameras, and the internet of things. With these cheap tools and the internet, the world opens up to young, curious minds. I would promote children being introduced to this technology when they are young. We have got to spread out our economy throughout NC so all families might enjoy the proverbial "Spot in every pot." For you non-coastal folk, that's an opportunity for all people to enjoy the fruits of life. Rural and urban areas have to exchange ideas and opportunities so that all areas of NC will grow. We need to understand each other's needs so we can work together.
Tell us about your experience as a municipal official. You may want to include information on your service on the municipal governing body, other related boards and special areas of interest.
I was elected as a member of the Southport Board of Aldermen in 2017. I have taken full advantage of every educational opportunity I could possibly participate in both the League of Municipalities and the UNC School of Government. I have attended every yearly meeting, advocacy goals conference, and town hall event. In the School of Government, I've attended economic development classes, and my proudest achievement is being a member of the Advanced Leadership Corp class of 2020. This event inspired me to try to interact more with leaders from around the state. I was encouraged by their tenacity and leadership, and I want to be part of a movement to make public service an honorable endeavor.
My special interests are working with people to build generation wealth through first-time home ownership. As a NC Realtor, I have seen how owning a home brings out responsibility and pride in families. People need something to work for that won't be taken from them. I am also very interested in building a strong mental and substance abuse education program to help people move from dysfunctional lifestyles to a more mainstream productive society. Most importantly, I want to help provide the next generation with the tools to make North Carolina the most productive state in the union.
Tell us about your educational background, professional experience, and/or community or civic activities.
I attended NC State where I studied political science and business management. I have been a real estate broker for 25 years and have continued my education with graphic design, web design, and database management. I attend my hometown church, Southport Baptist, where I serve as a deacon.
In my community, I am on the board of directors of the N.C. Fourth of July Festival as a liaison for our board of aldermen. I am also liaison for the local ABC Board and United States Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point's Land Use Committee.
Privately, I am a founding member of the nonprofit organization, "Southport Cares," which helps victims of crime and tragedy in a time of need. Recently, the group began supporting local restaurants, barbers, and salons who have been without incomes due to the Covid-19 pandemic .
Have You Participated in Any NCLM Events or Committees?
CityVision Annual Conference
Town & State Dinner or Town Hall Days
Advocacy Goals Conference
Please provide any other information you would like the Nominations Committee to consider.
As an alderman in Southport, NC, it is sometimes frustrating that you really can't make a difference in some issues, which are outside of your sphere of influence. I have tried to share my experience with those I meet around the state through different functions, hoping to come to an understanding of where we all are in the big picture. I have seen that these interactions empower me to fight, not only for my community, but also to bring commonality to the struggle of rural NC. I want to try to connect with the urban regions to figure out how we can move forward together. If given the opportunity, I will stand up for the citizens of NC and give 100 percent to them each day.