For the last 15 years of service, education has been one of my main priorities. As a single mother of four, I know first-hand how vital access to quality education is. I have invested in our students, teachers, and facilities.
In 2023, the Board of County Commissioners passed a $188M education budget to improve our school system’s facilities, teachers and staff, and educational tools. These dollars will be critical in hiring and retaining excellent teachers and staff by increasing pay and benefits. This budget demonstrates a commitment to our students by increasing pre-K funding. Additionally, this budget will provide resources to help close the learning gap during COVID-19.
- $550.2M General Obligation Bond Referendum Passed (the largest bond ever placed before Durham County voters)
- $118M Provided in annual funding to Durham Public Schools
Equitable Economic Development
Durham County is thriving. Over the last decade, we have witnessed growth at an unprecedented level. We have seen new rental units downtown, new industries build headquarters here, and new small businesses thrive. While this growth brings excitement and opportunity and shows the results of successful policies and partnerships, it is also critical that we address the challenges and disparities the development has caused.
- Increased by 90% entry-level jobs available in the Innovative District
- Launched a guaranteed income pilot program, DoCo Thrives, which will provide $750 a month to 125 families
Affordable housing is one of my top priorities. It is a multifaceted issue impacting the quality of life of many Durham County residents. The new growth has left many individuals and families displaced or strained financially. I dedicate my energy to advocating and advancing efforts and initiatives that provide housing to our moderate and low-income residents.
I am very proud to be a part of our Durham County leadership that has created a model to leverage County-owned land parcels to build affordable housing units in the East Main Street Corridor for households earning between 30% to 80% of area median income (AMI). We were able to move quickly to garner community support and revise policy to make this significant investment. In addition to providing affordable housing, this project will provide childcare and commercial space in a walkable area close to public transportation.
- 300 East Main Street Project
- 500 East Main Street Project
When out in the community, public safety is the #1 topic of questions and concerns. As your county leader, I have turned the helplessness I felt after losing two sons to senseless gun violence into activism and work to propose and deliver initiatives that contribute to keeping our children, friends, family, and loved ones safer. I work closely with the Durham County Sheriff’s Office on community engagement programs addressing public safety, gun violence, and crime prevention.
- 16% increase in guns either seized or voluntarily surrendered from 2021-2022
- Reestablished a revitalized Crime Cabinet, composed of community contributors with experience in anti-violence and crime prevention, created to develop new ideas for significantly decreasing violent crime in Durham.
I remain committed to enacting policies promoting a more equitable and sustainable future for all. I will continue to be a strong voice for Durham residents serving out my appointment to the Local Government Advisory Committee for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a committee consisting of local government officials and stakeholders who will provide advice and recommendations to the EPA on policies and regulations. I remain steadfast in working on PFAs and its impact on Durham County drinking water.
Secured $1.5M in funding for the NC Energy Burden & Emissions Reduction Program, created to reduce energy burdens, build organizational capacity, and develop clean energy technical skills in rural and urban neighborhoods.
Recognizing Durham County as the connecting county of the Triangle, I will continue taking action and creating policies to solve the public transportation issues we have. As the recently appointed Chair of the GoTriangle Board, I will bring together a new vision for robust local and regional bus services, increasing access to jobs and other opportunities for all residents of the Triangle.
- Ensured that all voices were heard concerning transportation priorities to ensure that Durham County transportation funds are used most efficiently and effectively for our residents.
- Guided the Durham County Transit Plan through an approval process which is the roadmap for using countywide taxes and fees to support public transportation improvements.