Jean is endorsed by Indy Week
“We think the more collaborative approach Hamilton promises could yield greater benefits for county residents.”
I am running for Orange County Commissioner District 1 because I believe commissioners must:
♦ Listen and understand the needs and values of the whole community.
♦ Work respectfully and collaboratively with other elected officials.
♦ Use our financial and natural resources efficiently and effectively.
♦ Be transparent and accountable.
Learn More About Why I am Running for County Commissioner
I’m running for a seat on the Orange County Board of County Commissioners for two reasons: (1) to make long-overdue progress in fixing our crumbling school infrastructure; and (2) to meet our county’s other critical needs while making better, more transparent, and more cost-effective decisions for our county.
- Fixing our Schools
Our school facilities have deteriorated to the point that they negatively affect the health, safety, and learning of our children. Addressing aging schools is an equity issue since poor children are likely to be most affected, an economic development issue since strong public schools attract businesses and employees, and an environmental issue since our older schools are energy inefficient.
The BoCC incumbents have not been willing to engage the Chapel Hill–Carrboro City Schools and Orange County Schools boards in addressing aging school facilities, even though by NC statute, school facilities are their responsibility. For example, last year’s plan for spending sales tax revenue divided the money equally between school facilities and economic development. Given the needs of the schools, the next BOCC should consider re-allocating more of the money to school facilities.
We need to do better for our children, our families, and our teachers.
- Meeting Other Critical Needs – Without Breaking the Budget
Orange County has other critical needs including affordable housing; public transportation; caring for vulnerable residents including those who are elderly, disabled, immigrants, and poor; addressing climate change; and diversifying the tax base through economic development.
In order to meet all these needs and keep tax increases to a minimum, we need commissioners who can make smarter decisions about the budget. We don’t need politicians who will raise taxes (like last year’s climate tax) without having a plan for the projects we’ll fund and how we’ll get the best return on the dollars we invest.
We also need more transparency in spending, with clear and publicly available assessments of the effectiveness of the projects we undertake. When infrastructure improvements like the Buckhorn Mebane sewer and water project are completed, we need to know whether they produced the increase in economic development we wanted and use that information to guide us in our next infrastructure investment.
Right now, it’s hard to tell if our money is being efficiently or effectively used. The $5 million Orange County affordable housing bond is a prime example of the lack of transparency and accountability. How close are we to the 1,000 units we were promised? If we are not on target, what have been the barriers?
Finally, I do not think that commissioners should give themselves a substantial raise when we have so many unmet and unfunded needs.
Why I Can Get the Job Done
As a master’s level social worker, I’m trained and experienced in assessing the needs of vulnerable people, working in partnership with stakeholders, and staying focused on making sure the needs we’ve identified are met. As a PhD economist who did research in labor economics and public health, I know how to look at the evidence, assess all the costs and benefits, and track results. As a school board member, I’ve shown I can use my skills and experience to draft smart budgets, evaluate student performance, and decide what new programs to fund.
I believe the role of the county commissioner is to be a good steward of our county’s resources; to build common ground between community members; and make sure we’re communicating why decisions are made and how taxpayer funds are spent.
Vote for me and together we can plan smarter, spend smarter, and forge a more equitable and sustainable Orange County.