Robert Finch—Wake County Board of Commissioners, District 5 (Democratic Primary) | Candidate Questionnaires - Wake County | Indy Week
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Robert Finch—Wake County Board of Commissioners, District 5 (Democratic Primary) 

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1. In your view, what are the three most pressing issues facing Wake County? If elected, what will you do to address these issues?

Housing, Growth, Jobs! If elected I would take these issues head-on. These are the main three issues that plaguing districts five at this present time. I would send out a survey asking the citizens of Wake County to fill out the survey and return it as soon as possible, so that the county could collect and use the data for collective input on how to help solve these three problems!

2. If you are challenging an incumbent, what decisions has the incumbent made that you most disagree with? If you are an incumbent, what in your voting record and experience do you believe entitles you to another term?

Some of the decisions that the incumbent has made that I mostly disagree with are: The incumbent allowed district five to be short changed in the budget, by not allocating enough funding, from the county’s budget to make a difference in the district five communities. Not paying attention to the library system in district five. Not paying enough attention to district five plights, projects to prevent homelessness, joblessness which untimely leads to the pipe line to prison.

3. The county is by most accounts prospering and growing. What do you think Wake County has done effectively? What policies would you like to see put in place to ensure growth going forward?

I think that Wake County has done an effective job in preparing the County in the area of transportation, when it comes to the challenges it faced from the rapid growth of it county. I would like to put a policy in place, which would allow the transportation department to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the rapid population explosion.

4. With that rapid growth, of course, comes challenges related to suburban sprawl, transportation, and affordable housing, among other things. In your opinion, what have been the county’s successes in managing this growth in recent years? What about its failures? What would you do differently?

I am unaware of the successes that the county may have had in managing growth, other than in the area of transportation. The county has failed in the areas of housing, gentrification, homelessness and jobs! If elected, I would ask the board can us collectively come together so that we can solve and address these issues Asap!

5. What should be the county’s role in addressing issues of economic inequality, such as gentrification and affordable housing? Do you believe the current board is doing enough to help its municipalities manage Wake County’s growth in order to prevent current residents from being priced out?

The roll that the county can play when it comes to addressing issues of economic inequality, such as gentrification and affordable housing should be one of the utmost urgency! Families are moving into the county at a rate of 69 per day. The county has no time to lose, when it comes to getting on the ball with these issues. I believe that the current board is not doing enough to help its municipalities manage Wake County’s growth in order to prevent current residents from being priced out. One of the problems is that there is no consideration, for individuals who only make minimum wage salaries and the low income population.

6. How would your experience―in politics or otherwise in your career―make you an asset to the county’s decision-making process? Be specific about how this experience would relate to your prospective office.
I would be an asset to the county’s decision-making process because, I was appointed to the advisory board of OSAPAC a little under four years now! That board has the responsibility of advising the current county board members of all things pertaining to the purchase of open space land that is up for sale in Wake County. Also, we advise the county board on all county-owned parks in all aspects of cost and up keeping of the parks. We also, handle all aspects of purchasing and providing trails and greenways! This gives me some experience into the prospective office.

7. Last year saw some tension between the county commission and the school board over school system funding. Ultimately, the county gave the school system less than half of the new funding it asked for. But from the county’s perspective, it has raised property several times in recent years to benefit the school system. Do you believe Wake County needs to commit more funds to its schools? If so, would you be willing to ask taxpayers for more money?

Yes, I believe Wake County needs to give more money to the Wake County school system. Our kids are our future. We must invest in the future of Wake County, because our kids are our future. I am a tax paying homeowner who gladly will pay more taxes when it comes down to our kids! Yes, I will ask taxpayers for more money.

8. Wake County has raised property taxes four times in the last four years. Currently the county is considering three potential bond referenda in November: one for school construction, another for parks and greenways, and a third for Wake Tech. Together, these, too, would likely require a property tax increase. Do you believe the citizens of Wake County are paying too much in taxes?

Yes, I believe that the citizens of Wake County are paying too many taxes. We as a County must collectively look closely at our spending habits, and the County board must look for ways to cut back on spending. The new board will have to pay close attention to these bond referendums.

9. The embezzlement scandal at the Register of Deeds office highlighted the fact that the county does not scrutinize the offices of elected officials, such as the Register of Deeds and the Sheriff’s Office, in the way it does other county agencies. Do you believe there are steps the county could have taken—or could implement now—that could catch theft or fraud earlier?

Yes, I believe there are steps the county could have taken-or could implement now-that could catch theft or fraud earlier. I feel that the board can hire an independent watchdog agency that would monitor both of those agencies, and report directly to the county board with all of its findings. Or, look at other county models and implement the best model that is working outstanding for their agency.

10. North Carolina is a “Dillon Rule” state, meaning that the only powers municipal and county governments have are the ones granted to them by the legislature. Would you like to see this changed? How would you work with state legislators from Wake County, as well as mayors and council members from the city’s municipalities, to ensure that Wake County, its municipalities, and the state are on the same page regarding policies that affect residents of Wake?

Yes! I would review existing policies that are currently in place, to see if they can be amended to better suit the residents of Wake County. I will also, enlist the help and support of the rest of the board member to ensure that we are all on the same page!

11. The replacement bill for HB 2 that passed last year prohibits local governments from passing living-wage or nondiscrimination ordinances until 2020. If you are in office in 2020 when the moratorium expires, what sort of nondiscrimination and/or living-wage policies will you push the county to adopt, if any? Do you favor, for instance, a nondiscrimination ordinance that would apply to public accommodations, like the one Charlotte passed in 2016 that led the legislature to pass HB 2? Would you consider raising the county’s minimum wage?

The nondiscrimination and/ or living-wage policies that were originally adopted would be re-visited so that the residents of Wake County will again be given the option for adoption of the policies! Yes, I would be in favor, for instance, a nondiscrimination ordinance that would apply to public accommodations! Yes, I am in favor of considering raising the county’s minimum wage.

12. Give an example of a time, during your political career, when you have changed your position as a result of a discussion with someone who held an opposing view.

I have never held a political office, therefore I am unable to answer this question.

13. Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some points with voters.

One principal stand that I would take is, to raise the minimum wage. This might cost me some points with voters because some voters feel that there is no need to raise the minimum wage!

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