Name as it appears on the ballot: John B. Adcock
Campaign website: www.voteadcock.com
Phone number: 919-616-0527
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Years lived in Wake County: I am a native of Wake County, born in the old Rex Hospital on St. Mary’s Street. I did live outside of Wake County while attending Appalachian State University, while I worked for approximately a year in Brunswick County in the early 1990’s; while I worked for approximately 5 years in Washington, DC; and while I attended law school at the University of Memphis, Memphis Tennessee. My wife and I moved back to Wake County from Memphis 16 years ago. I have two children that attend public schools. My great grandfather moved to Southern Wake County in the 1890’s and my family has been part of this community since.
1. What are the three most important issues facing Wake County? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?
Transportation, Education and Fiscal Responsibility.
Transportation: Many of the issues facing Wake County revolve around the impact of growth, especially transportation. Mass transit has a future in Wake County, but we cannot ignore the critical needs of today in planning for tomorrow. The board of commissioners is prioritizing the transit plan over real issues we currently face, including funding for school construction and renovation and the overburdened road network in this county. All of the citizens and business will pay for the transit plan, yet the benefits are speculative and certain to be limited. If the plan is approved before I’m elected, I will seek to revise the plan for more services for all of the residents of the county and allocating the costs of the transit plan to those that benefit the most. Wake County needs a “Transportation Plan” to implement, not just a transit plan.
Education: Education is the key to our future. Policies and funding should first focus on the interaction between the student and the teacher. Teachers should be compensated in line with national standards and there should be incentives for teachers to seek advanced degrees and certification. Teachers deal with too much red tape, they need to be freed up to do what they do best, teach our children. I’m a graduate of the Wake County Public School System and currently have two children enrolled therein, however I support performing charter schools as an alternative to the public school system. There are public schools that have been overlooked in regards to renovations and construction. It will be a point of emphasis to see that the communities served by those schools get what they deserve, quality school facilities.
Fiscal Responsibility: One of the most important duties of our elected officials is prudent stewardship of the tax payers’ dollars. Paying taxes is a sacrifice for the good of all. I will be a strong advocate for the taxpayers, prioritizing spending based on the essential services of government. Growth costs, but operating expenses of government should not require increases in taxes.
2. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the Wake County Board of Commissioners? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.
This is the first time I have run for a political office. However I have extensive experience in government, previously working at each level, local, county, state and federal. Also as an attorney I have represented municipal planning boards, boards of adjustment, and citizens, businesses and churches in regards to governmental regulations. I have an extensive background in land use/urban planning that will be a valuable asset for evaluating and creating policies directed at the opportunities and challenges presented by growth. Last year I chaired “Fuquay-Varina Future Now” a bond referendum committee that supported the Town of Fuquay-Varina’s transportation bond vote. I have attached a biographical summary of my education and experience for more information.
3. How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
I define myself as a fresh and positive conservative voice for the citizens of Wake County. For good reasons, citizens are displeased with politics. Citizens want things to get done. It is the responsibility of elected officials to give determined and absolute effort to getting things done for the betterment of the people they serve. As an attorney I face adversarial issues on a daily basis. I always strive to create positive open dialogue, seeking solutions and not unproductive disputes. I will apply these same principles to the issues that face our county.
4. In a split decision last summer, the county commission voted in favor of a 3.65-cent-per-$100 increase in the property-tax rate to help fund the school system. The tax hike raised an additional $44.6 million, most of it going toward teacher pay. Do you agree with the board’s decision?
As stated above, I am a strong proponent for raising teachers’ salaries to national standards and for providing incentives for teachers to seek advanced degrees and certification. Salaries are an operating expense and I believe that, as with any business, need to be built into a budget that can support itself. The Wake County School System’s budget is funded 2/3 by the state and 1/3 by the county. Last year that equated to $383 million paid by the county to the school system. I believe the school system needs to do a better job of funding the “student – teacher” interaction and that this can be accomplished without a tax increase. Growth does cost, but I believe tax increases should be a last resort. I will emphasizes to the school system the need to reduce its central administration costs and re-direct to the teachers and schools.
5. This spring, the commission is expected to approve a plan for an expanded transit system with bus and, eventually, rail components. The board will vote on whether to put a referendum for a half-cent sales tax increase on the ballot in November. Do you support the transit plan and the half-cent sales tax increase to pay for expanded transit? Why or why not? Do you believe the plan should have included a commuter rail line that connects to RTP, as some proposed?
No, I do not support the current transit plan and I do not support a tax increase to fund it. As stated above, the current board is overlooking critical issues of today, putting too much emphasis on the transit plan. Mass transit has a future in Wake County, but we have crucial needs today. A transit plan should have phases, not complete implementation at this time.
6. The commissioners recently allocated more than $100,000 in next year’s budget to hire more investigators to fight drug trafficking, which, as the county grows, is increasingly becoming a problem. What other steps do you believe the county should take?
I have the upmost confidence in Sheriff Donnie Harrison and his staff. I would ask the Sheriff what he needs and work hard to seek it out for his department. Illegal drugs not only affect the user, but also create other levels of crime. It is a growing problem and I believe Sheriff Harrison and his staff are the best source of information on how to deal with the issue.
7. Wake County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the country. Thinking proactively, name three things the county should be doing now—or doing better—to prepare for this growth.
Stop putting the transit plan above pressing transportation needs. We need a “Transportation Plan” not just a transit plan.
Utilize the expertise of the Wake County Planning Department to assist with better coordination between the municipalities of Wake County with their land use plans.
Evaluate and implement performance based standards for land use planning. Move away from stringent zoning classifications that leave little if any room for flexibility.
8. The commission recently voted to provide all of its employees with a living wage. What steps do you believe the county should be taking to address the broader issue of inequality within Wake County?
Promoting economic development that produces quality employment opportunities is the first step in addressing the broader issue of inequality with Wake County. Policies directed at stimulating economic growth, should take into consideration the unique perspective of entrepreneurs looking to start or grow small businesses. Small businesses are a fundamental part of our economy and for the success of our economic future.
9. The General Assembly in recent years has redrawn electoral districts for both the county commission and the school board, controversial measures that are now the subject of lawsuits. What do you think is the current state of Wake’s relationship with the legislature? If elected, what would you do to improve it?
Elected officials from the state and county should work to build a more productive and cooperative relationship. Wake County is the home of state government and we should set a good example of positive relationships. We must recognize that the citizens want things to get done. That requires constructive and open dialogue. Joint meetings amongst the county’s legislative representatives with the board of commissioners would be a great start, seeking to prioritize the issues and solutions thereto.
10. Identify a principled stance you would be willing to take if elected, even if it cost you popularity points with voters.
If elected, I will represent District B. One of the reasons I decided to run for this seat, was the opportunity it presented to represent the citizens of District B. The towns and communities of District B need an effective voice on the board of commissioners. At each campaign stop, I hear from the citizens of District B that they feel left out in the legislative process. I will be strong advocate for the citizens, businesses and towns of District B.