Name as it appears on the ballot: Andy Cagle
Campaign Website: Facebook@Andy Cagle for commissioner
Phone number: 336-214-0149
Years lived in Orange County: 25
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1. What are the three most important issues facing Orange County? If elected, how would you address those issues? Please be specific. (Environment, Growth and Economy)
We must balance growth with conservation and preservation. First we must control the growth by making sure that we don’t exceed our ability to provide services, in other words preplan our services needs. Make sure we preserve our history to show our contribution to all concerns. Above all we must be conservationist; we must make all efforts to conserve our natural resources.
2. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the Orange County Board of Commissioners? (This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.)
I was born in Morehead City North Carolina and have spent much time there over the years. Morehead City is a very vibrant town with lots of activity, much like Hillsborough, Carrboro and Chapel Hill. In the early seventies my family relocated to a farming community in the mid west, where I spent most of my teenage years learning the values of farm life, hard work, dedication, determination and conservation were the things that I learned early on that provide the substance for the mere existence of the farmer today. In the mid eighty’s I returned to my home state, my roots, Orange County, the birth place of my mother. This shows my relevance to understand the needs of our citizens in a town or rural agriculture environment. I believe it is very important in this position of commissioner, that a person be able to relate with the citizens on a County wide level and understand the culture of our very diverse Community.
Over the years I have wore many different hats. Early on I work in construction as a carpenter, then as an automotive technician/NC emission inspector; at night I worked as a store clerk to help support my wife and our new baby. Ultimately, it seemed my career was predestined to the area of business management. After eight years on the job as an automotive technician I was promoted to assistant manager, this provided the opportunity to engage with customers one on one and know that their requested needs were being fulfilled and the services rendered met their expectations. This experience also give me the structure for quality in service and streamlining budgets without affecting the outcome of the project, the ability to listen to detail which is important when our decisions affects the lives of so many, forward thinking, knowing that the decisions made today will affect future generations.
In nineteen ninety eight, I developed my own company. Over the past seventeen years I have worked in all facets of construction with this company, I understand the planning process to achieve permitting for desired projects and also understand the frustrations of those involved when permitting is requested. I hold a certification as an environmental wastewater contractor. For many years I have worked with environmental health, I understand their needed involvement for onsite wastewater systems and their process. It is my experience and knowledge from being involved in planning, zoning and land use issues, which will aide my ability to make productive decisions for the citizens of Orange County in regard to economic development and affordable housing.
I also have extensive experience as a property manager that spans almost two decades. Over the years this has given me the opportunity to be involved and work with low income families struggling to survive, so I fully understand the need for affordable housing and will work diligently to lessen the complicated procedures that involve affordable house.
I was also very fortunate for more than ten years the opportunity to serve as public relations manager of a highly successful music group. This really opened the door and allowed me access to interact with different cultures all over the United States. I understand and appreciate the diverse cultures we share here in Orange County. I can relate! On the local level our music group was involved with many non profits, art councils and churches. For several years I served as a promoter/event organizer for a local community chest in a neighboring county. All the above gives me insight and knowledge to understand and appreciate music and arts; I know how important it is to support music and arts for the benefit of our community.
For many years my family has been heavily involved with emergency services in Orange County. My son was a Firefighter/EMT and Deputy Sheriff in the County. My son and one daughter were volunteers with Orange County Rescue Squad; my wife was a 911 Dispatcher and is currently a Firefighter/EMT with Orange Grove Fire Company and an EMT with Carolina Air Care. I currently serve with Orange Grove Fire Company as a Firefighter/EMR and Emergency Vehicle Driver. This shows our continued commitment to the citizens of Orange County. When it comes to public safety and emergency services, we make it a priority.
I was recently elected, now serving a two year term with the Firefighters Benevolent Relief Fund. This shows the trust and confidence bestowed upon me by my fellow Firefighters. I am also a current member of the Human Relations Commissioner.
In 2014 I launched a campaign for Sheriff of Orange County. I focused on bringing positive change to Orange County. I was determined to break the communication gap between elected officials and the citizens and improve the overall health of the sheriff’s office. I emphasized the need for a legal advisor within the sheriff’s office, in an effort of protecting Constitutional and Civil Rights of citizens. My patrol plan called for smaller patrol areas which allowed more time for deputies to interact with citizen’s, reduced response times and allowed better coverage for on-scene deputies. My plan included the promotion of a green fleet, propane/autogas in an effort to reduce our carbon footprint and increase efficiency within the budget. In the end we won the battle even though we lost the war. December of 2014 the County Commissioners approved the position of legal adviser to the sheriff and one was hired. One month later in January 2015 my patrol plan was put into to play on the north side of the County. I am also happy to report that my (Green fleet) proposal was adopted by the Sheriff’s Office and several patrol units are set to receive propane autogas conversions. This shows my ability of creative thinking in bringing things to the table that will benefit everyone.
As for my record, it is my extensive experience and knowledge, in all aspects of construction, agriculture, motor pool, music and arts, public safety, emergency services and more than 20 years of problem-solving management skills that will serve you well and help guide us to a successful future.
3. How do you define yourself politically, and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
I believe the following will show my commitment to the environment and the simple approach I taken the over the years that will complement our future.
My family and I live in a southern style farmhouse that dates back to the early 1900’s. I believe it is listed as being built in 1906. This house had long been neglected and was showing signs of near collapse. It was only by chance that were able to purchase this house and with a strong heart and sheer will that we were able to save it from the depths of destruction. For many years now this has been our home, someday it will pass to our children and grandchildren. This in an effort to conserve our natural resources, so future generations can learn from our contributions.
Outside of fulfilling a specific need we don’t often consider the positive impact certain business can have in Orange County. This is in regard to water quality. Since the origination of my company seventeen years ago, we have constructed many farm ponds, also known as stormweater detention ponds, fifteen in the upper Cane Creek watershed alone. I am truly honored to have been allowed the opportunity to enhance the water quality for the residents of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and the greater Orange County. Stormwater detention ponds are designed to hold rain water that has run off the surrounding landscape of lawns, rooftops and roads. This protects downstream areas from erosion and flooding. Most importantly, the primary function of a detention pond is to trap pollutants in runoff such as nutrients, metals, and sediments. This is my plan. We should work hand in hand with the agriculture extension services and water authorities, in an effort to foster new programs that would encourage the implementation of detention ponds with possible incentives to participating residents willing to enhance our water quality.
I have been a long time advocate for (Green Fuel.) My introduction to (Green Fuel) came in the mid 1980’s when I was sixteen years old, at that time my future brother-in-law purchased this Chevy truck and set it up to run on dual fuel, gasoline/propane autogas. He explained the benefits in regard to air quality, extended oil life and cost efficiency. I was truly fascinated with this new fuel prospect. Over the years I have taken the gentle approach to educate other about the values and benefits of propane autogas. On one occasion we made a full conversion, propane autogas to our lake going vessel, all our friends joked with us about how we smelled like a gas grill and every time we passed on the lake they would yell, HEY!!! WHAT’S FOR LUNCH!!!! This however just set the stage for the conversion to happen, values and benefits. Moving on, having made the decision to run for Sheriff of Orange County in 2014 I decided this was the perfect stage to promote (Green Fuel) to a larger audience.
IV. Reducing our Carbon Footprint/ Reducing OCSO Fleet Expenditures
I plan to convert the current Sheriff’s Office fleet to propane auto gas. Fully implemented to the Sheriff’s Office fleet this will save $600,000.00 to $800.000.00 over a period of four years. This in turn extends the vehicle’s oil life reducing oil usage and cost. Propane’s low-emission profile will help the Sheriff’s Office significantly reduce its carbon footprint. Fewer greenhouse gas and CO2 emissions reduce negative health effects from time spent idling at traffic stops, accidents, and crime scenes. “The bottom line is that green is a great thing,” and the best part is, I have found a way to implement this plan at no cost to the citizens of Orange County.
AS I before mentioned, I am happy to report that my (Green Fleet) proposal was adopted by the Sheriff’s Office and other departments as well. The conversions will be paid for in part by grants that have been awarded to Orange County. You can now breathe easy, knowing that a green fuel Patrol Unit could be cruising through your community right now.
In my present campaign I am encouraging the (Green Fuel) alternative and promoting (Stormwater detention ponds).
4. The INDY’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?
First it is important that we are mindful of our County’s wide range of culture differences and that we encourage the acceptance of minorities, to reflect the diverse nature of our communities. We must make sure that everyone has an opportunity to improve their lives. We must be sure that everyone is included; it is our interaction that builds trust and engagement with the community which paves the way for successful public service. In my 2014 campaign for sheriff, I fought the hard fight for a just community and have continued to this day. We have made much progress. Going forward, I will continue to engage citizens though community outreach with assistance from our Sheriff’s Office and Fire Departments. Over the past couple of years it has been a joy to witness the interaction of these departments with certain communities. I commend my follow firefighters for their efforts and I am honored knowing of their efforts from being involved myself. Together we will build a just community.
5. What is your vision for development in Orange County? Do your development ideas include preserving the rural buffer? Do you think it was worthwhile to rezone hundreds of acres in economic development districts to attract businesses?
Let me re-emphasize my answer from question number one and add this, My vision would be to work with Commissioners and local chambers to promote and attract light industrial development along with other environmental friendly businesses using proven tactics though research of other successful operations. With the expected upwards growth of 30,000 new residents in the near future, we must address the growing pains that we will encounter. With this growth we will need funds to expand our public safety services and emergency services. Our new residents will need jobs. It would be in our best interest for our citizens to work close to home. One major benefit from light industrial development, variety stores and restaurants in the County, would be the reduction in greenhouse gases that comes from a long commute to work. This would increase our tax base, fund our public safety needs and help reduce the financial burden to residents for the associated growth. People who live and work local buy local, so this would also boost our sales tax revenue.
In regard to the rural buffer, I believe it should remain as it is in regard to business. Currently light agriculture business is permitted, organic farmers and such. We should focus more on smart growth and utilize our existing vacant structures, suitable for business near the buffer in an effort to preserve our green space.
When it comes to the rezoning of hundreds of acres in the economic development districts to attract businesses, I think it was worthwhile, as I stated above there are many environmental, financial and personal benefits that are associated with local business. Number one being the reduction in greenhouse gases that comes from a long commute to work. Reduced automotive maintenance and reduced fuel consumption for commuters. Less time spent on the road by residents, means more time at home with their families and children. Our future generations will be rewarded by these efforts.
6. After the tragic shooting death of one-year-old Maleah Williams in Chapel Hill on Christmas Day, what can the Orange County Board of Commissioners do to promote respect, safety, and peace in your communities—particularly those beset by crime?
We need to stand with Law Enforcement and support their ongoing efforts of engagement with these communities; it is the interaction that builds trust and the appearance in its self that deters crime. Encourage parents to become more involved with their youth, our young women and men need role models, inform parents of activities that promote parent-child involvement and be sure that everyone is involved, it takes a whole community to raise a child. The actions we take today, will build a safer tomorrow.
7. Do you have interest in waste-disposal alternatives to landfills in Orange County? If so, what ideas appeal to you? Are there cost benefits to the alternatives you favor?
I do have interest in alternative waste-disposal; at the present time there are very few available options that will meet our needs in regard to the environment and cost. My interest is waste to energy incinerators. However, for this to be cost effective we would need to partner with neighboring Counties and be mindful of the location so that we limit our impact of its existence. We must also be mindful of the adverse affects to the environment that comes from a long haul, ultimately finding the right location and funding partners will lead to our future success.
8. Is the current school-funding model working for both districts? Should the board revisit the policy that allocates 48.1 percent of general-fund revenue to education?
I believe the current school-funding model is working for both districts, in regard to needed funds outside of school repairs and as our economy strengthens, we will be able to make up for some of the lost revenue from the recent depression. I fill that this should also apply to the issue of fixing aging schools that’s mentioned in question number nine.
9. Do you support the $125 million bond package to fix aging schools? Even if voters approve it, that’s only one-third of what districts estimate they’ll need. What is your plan for funding the rest?
I like the bond just as it is. However we do need to diversify and expend our tax base to help avoid potential future bonds.
To address the remaining needs I would work with state legislators one on one in an effort to increase our school funding. Upon the successful conclusion of funding from the state, we could then reallocate money from our County school fund to school repairs. One other thing we could do is costing sharing with our two school districts. Money saved from cost sharing could be used on school repairs as well.
10. The issue of bicycle safety is on the minds of many people in Orange County, particularly in rural areas where road sharing can be challenging. What recommendations could you offer to the ongoing conversation about bikes on roads?
First we must follow the rules of the road and show mutual respect to one another. I have seen the arrogance and concerns from both sides of this issue. We must work together creatively to achieve funding for rural bike lanes.
One particular road widening project that comes to mind is Dairyland Road, from Orange Grove to Old NC 86. A few of years ago everyone was excited about the widening of this road, when the project was completed there was no discernible difference. After taking a closer look, I realized that the added pavement was placed only to widen the travel lanes for cars. These wider traffic lanes brought on a new issue. Motorists were traveling much faster than before leaving cyclists vulnerable and at much greater risk to high speed injuries.
Fast forward to a meeting I attended in the spring of 2015 where I learned that Dairyland Rd was once again on the docket to be widened, this time four feet on each side of the traffic lanes. I
Believe the projects are prioritized though ranking need and available funding. We all know the need is evident, so it must be the funding. If I could find a way to reduce cost, maybe the project would get pushed up the docket. So I mention my solution to the group, only to receive blank stares and a one liner from the DOT representative saying, well that’s a thought.
(Here is the problem), a four foot bike lane on each side of the traffic lanes will cost, for example let’s say about $500,000 per mile. When Dairyland was widened a few years ago, I believe four foot was added to the total width of the road. The traffic lanes were widened from ten foot to eleven foot and one foot outside the white line.
(Here is the solution), add four foot of pavement to one side or two foot on each side of the road, then restripe pavement, traffic lanes will now be ten foot wide, bike lanes four wide on both sides. This will reduces the cost of the project by about forty percent or $200,000 per mile. Cyclists and motorist could now travel safely in their own designated lanes. So what recommendations could I offer to the ongoing conversation about bikes on roads? My recommendation would be, pick up the phone, call you’re elected officials and get this pushed up the docket!!
11. Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
It would be in regard to Immigration. I just don’t believe we should punish people through deportation who are here working seeking a better life.