District 2 Incumbent- Democrat Lindy Brown is a clinical social worker and has worked in Wake County’s mental health care system.
Do you remember having a moment when you realized you wanted to serve Wake County in the public arena?
Brown: I do. Before I was elected county commissioner, I worked in developmental disability services. My department mainstreamed people with developmental disabilities, whether it be mental illness or substance abuse problems out in the community. I started seeing the mental health reform cut backs that were being trickled down to the county level. I could not believe the reduction in funds and how they wouldn’t be enough to support high-maintenance patients. I asked myself, “How in the world can you do with less funding and continue to provide a quality of life for people who have high-maintenance disabilities?” That was when I realized I wanted to do something. It comes natural for me to advocate for people who don’t normally have a voice
Where do you stand on impact fees?
Brown: Impact fees are something I will not support. I don’t think that we need to hold the developers and homebuilders responsible for people wanting to relocate here. We can’t promote Wake County as the best place to live, work, and raise a family and then penalize developers with a tax that they will only pass on to the buyer. Sometimes when that tax is passed on it may put some buyers just out of the range of purchasing a home. It also impacts senior citizens who have been in their home for 40 or 50 years and then want to downsize.
If that money will allow us to have better schools and offer better services for the community, shouldn’t we be searching for that money in the community somewhere?
Brown: Yes, I agree with you. But only if the money can be mandated specifically for that. This is the piece- we as county commissioners would have to have an interlocal agreement with the school board that this pot of money will be designated for x, y, and z.
Do you think Wake County is ready for a referendum on the half-cent sales tax increase to fund public transit?
Brown: No, I don’t. Not now. People aren’t pleased with the congestion on the roads. But, I can’t support it because of the economy- and tell you the truth it doesn’t feel like we’re out of a recession, even though the economists say we are.
When do you think Wake County will be ready? 2012?
Brown: That would be the earliest in my opinion. I’m only going to put that referendum on the ballot, when I believe the majority of the citizens are saying go for it.
What do you think the chances are that Wake County ends up with a fully Democratic board of commissioners?
Brown: Well I’ve been in politics 29 years and it surprises me about every ten or twelve years on the national and local level. I have mixed views about a Democratic majority, because we need to hold tight to spending and not just haphazardly spend the funds and erode our AAA rating, which is based on how well we follow our budget. As Tony Gurley said at the UPHA forum, only about 20 counties in the country have that AAA rating and I want to protect that.
Are you worried that a heavily weighted board will…
Brown: …come in and start spending without looking at it from a long-range standpoint? Yes I am.