Corey Branch | Candidate Questionnaires - Wake County | Indy Week
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Corey Branch 

Raleigh City Council (District C)

Corey Branch
www.CoreyBranch.com
Occupation: Associate Director - Technology
Phone Number: 919-706-0383
Email Address: corey@coreybranch.com
Years Lived in Raleigh: 39


1) Between gentrification in historic neighborhoods and expensive rentals downtown, Raleigh has struggled with questions of affordable and workforce housing. In June, the city council set a goal of fifty-seven hundred more affordable units over the next decade. With burgeoning growth and rising housing prices, what additional steps should Raleigh take to create more affordable housing?

The city must consider options for housing around the transit plan, public private partnerships, and by working with citizens. The city must leverage property they own to offer incentives to developers. The city must also look at the possibility of tax increment financing, now that we have the possibility of reduced funding from federal government.

2) Related to affordable housing (and affordability in general) is viable public transportation. What steps can the city take to improve mass transit throughout the city? County voters approved a transit referendum last fall that will eventually create a bus rapid transit system and commuter rail line. What more should be done?

The city has increased Sunday service hours due to the referendum passing. Ordering more buses and hiring drivers will increase service and develop a 30 to 15 minute arrival time for busses. The city must continue to support and work with citizens on the Raleigh Transit Authority to develop ideas and a system that is equitable.

3) Given the inflamed racial tensions after the recent events in Charlottesville, what steps should Raleigh take to position itself as a guardian of social justice? How would you characterize city leaders’ relationship with Raleigh’s communities of color, and what should be done to improve that relationship going forward?

Raleigh must be willing to engage in the honest conversations about race as well as income inequalities. We must work to remove policies which are biased and work to ensure we have boards and committees which reflect the makeup of the community. Not all elected officials have the same relationships with all residents; we can overcome this by providing opportunities to build relationships. Everyone must be willing to work and meet with folks with whom they have differences. We need to find areas we have in common and build upon that common ground.

4) Given the recent creation of the community engagement board, what do you believe the role of citizens advisory councils should be? What features and levels of involvement do you want to see incorporated into the new structure?

Citizens Advisory Councils play a vital role in the development of Raleigh and are here to stay. The council will be working with citizens on how we can improve overall communications by improving city services around access to technology. Any new features will be developed with citizen involvement.

5) Thinking about the current direction of Raleigh city government, would you say things are generally on the right course? If not, what specific changes you will advocate if elected?

Things are heading in the right direction after years of under paying staff, not maintaining or making improvements to existing parks, stagnant funding on transportation, and lack of funding dedicated to housing. We are addressing these items through pay increase to employees, dedicated funding for affordable housing, funding for transit services and planning and improvement to existing centers like Biltmore Hills and Walnut Creek Park. As the city works on these items, we must continue to improve infrastructure to ensure safe water and the handling of stormwater.

6) If you are a candidate for a district seat, please identity your priorities for improvements in the district if you’re elected. If you are an at-large or mayoral candidate, please identify the three most pressing issues the city faces and how you will address them.

District C must continue to improve communications between police and citizens, and focus on economic development. We need local grocery stores within 5 minutes or less to address food deserts and improve access to healthy food. Access to transportation to areas such as Rogers Lane and Barwell communities will aid citizens’ access to jobs. Improving availability to affordable housing must also be a priority within our District C.

7) What in your public or professional career shows your ability to be an effective member of the city council? If you’ve identified specific issues above, what in your record has prepared you to deal with them?

My job requires me to give direction and address challenges in which multiple teams must come together. I manage staff in three countries on three continents while supporting networks on six continents, this affords me the experience to work with multiple teams as we must do on city council members. I understand the fact that not everyone may come into a situation with the same knowledge and the importance of collaboration and partnership for solutions.

8) Please give an example of an action by the city council in the past year that went wrong or should have been handled differently. Also, what was the city’s biggest accomplishment during that period?

The vote which impacted the Citizens Advisory Committees (CACs) should not have happened at the time it did. More conversation between CAC leaders, individual citizens, council and city staff should have occurred before a vote was taken. - One of our biggest accomplishments was the pay increase for all full-time city employees. Other than cost of living increases, the overall city compensation package had not been updated in over ten years.

9) How do you identify yourself to others in terms of your political philosophy? For example, do you tell people you’re a conservative, a moderate, a progressive, a libertarian?

I am a democrat whose political philosophy is built around doing what is right for the community and being forward thinking, while ensuring funds are being spent efficiently.

10) Now that the city is moving ahead with plans for the 306-acre Dorothea Dix Park, what are some specific features or focuses you’d work to see as part of final design?

The park needs to have features which are inclusive of all communities and tell their histories.

11) If there are other issues you want to discuss, please do so here.

We have to ensure all of our youth have access to activities wish will stimulate their growth personally and intellectually and prepares them for the future. This includes equipping community centers with computer labs and ensuring they have access to recreational activities.

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