Wake County Commission 4 — Caroline Sullivan (D)
Political Party: Democrat
How long in district:
Campaign website: https://carolineforwake.com/
What do you think is the central issue for this election and how do you plan to address it?
I think making sure that Wake County remains one of the best places to live and work in America and our children can have the opportunities that we have is the central issue. That means putting real solutions and common sense above ideology and partisanship. It means supporting public education and our community college, making prudent investments in our infrastructure and transportation, while keeping our AAA bond rating and protecting our air and our water and the things that contribute greatly to our economy and our quality of life. We need to create and maintain the kind of environment that attracts the best and the brightest people to move to and create jobs in our county.
Why should your constituents elect you?
Like many people in the community, my family chose to make Wake County our home because the community is great and the great quality of life. We didn’t become a great place to work by accident. It took visionary leadership, investments in education and infrastructure and working together. Unfortunately, today I think the leadership today on the Board of Commissioners has been a bit more focused on political agendas than what we need to do to compete economically in the future. I am a strong believer in working together and not putting partisanship and politics in front of the things that we need to do to move our county forward.
How can the County Commission support the school system’s efforts to deal with growth?
We’ve had 20,000 children move into the county since the recession started. To put that into perspective, that’s like the whole school system of Wilson County and maybe a smaller county like Person, dropped into the Wake County public schools with less funding from the state and no more capacity from the county. I see these capacity issues every day.
If I get elected I’ll be the only member of the board of commissioners with kids currently in the public schools and my children’s classes are getting bigger and bigger. For example, my daughter has 35 people in her math class in the 6th grade. And these numbers, it’s getting more difficult for these teachers to teach with these increasingly high numbers. The county is legally obligated to provide space for children in public schools in North Carolina and Wake County. The county is responsible for the actual brick and mortar of the school system. I think the county needs to work with the school board to come up with school bonds that will address our issues with growth right now and as we continue in the future.
Transit has been a hot topic in Wake County this year. What do you think about the future of transit options in Wake County?
Ninety thousand people have moved to Wake County since the beginning of the recession. And we’re going to continue that growth. I think we need a structured approach to transit. It should be one that is studied and one that we can afford and it should be one that is right for our community. But we need to move ahead to deal with our population growth. At some point we’re going to come that place where it’s going to become harder to recruit businesses to come to Wake County due to congestion issues. The 12 mayors of all of the municipalities in the county have asked the board to at least move forward with public hearings on transit and I think we need to move forward with hearings and talk about it as a community to solve our congestion issue now and in the future.
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