City Council District B: Sam Smith

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Sam Smith

District: City Council, District B
Age: 23
Occupation: Real Estate Agent, Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston
Incumbent: No

Why should your constituents elect you?
I have ideas to move Raleigh forward. I also have quite a bit of sincere determination and drive to work for the people. I really want to be a public servant to the people, and also represent people for what they want, not just my ideas, but actually answer the questions of the people and represent the people. So what do they want to happen in Raleigh?

Many issues taken up by the state legislature have a direct impact on Raleigh. How can Councilors work better with the state legislature on those issues?

I believe all public figures or elected officials need to try to work together more often, but as a City Council member you need to actually show up in your representative or your senator’s office. There’s always a phone; pick it up. Email them. I’ve actually spoken with quite a few of the legislators here recently about some of the things in the district, [State] Representative [Yvonne Lewis] Holley and some of the others. But I do think you have an obligation to the people to actually — I guess you could almost say lobby your representatives and senators against or for things that are going to affect the area you live in and represent.

Raleigh continues to grow at a good pace, which affects everything from our water quantity to our infrastructure. How do you feel Raleigh can become more proactive about managing that projected growth?

Proactive is the key word. We actually need to not wait until after the fact to implement plans to replace or repair infrastructure. Currently, as it’s happening, we need to be proactive and say, “Okay, this is our projected growth. What do we need to do for this?” We get more people coming in, there’s more strain on the sewer and water systems, even to traffic. None of the lights in my district are even remotely synchronized, so we need to address that and public transportation. As Raleigh grows, that’s a good way to get a lot of traffic off the streets if it’s a good system, and where I live it’s actually, there’s maybe one or two bus stops over here. We need to expand the current system so more people actually could use it and to help manage our growth a little better. The biggest one is the infrastructure, which we need to start setting some plans in place to repair, and fix issues before they come up.

What do you think are the best and worst decisions made by the Council these last two years?

I don’t support the firing of the city manager. That one is a big one for me. I think that the City Council, they’re kind of getting involved a little too strongly in some of the day-to-day functions, you know the city manager’s office, but worse than that is the sending $25,000 of taxpayer money to Minnesota, to a I guess you could almost say a “talent search” agency to find us a new city manager. If they’re going to fire him, they need to do the work to find a new one. Not send $25,000 of taxpayer money to another city and another state. As far as some of the good things, I mean we’re managing to modernize the city, move into the 21st century, but they’re doing a good job of keeping the historic charm and value of Raleigh. But some of the negatives, like I said, sending taxpayer money to another city and state. I can’t say I support that.

Raleigh voters will decide whether to approve a bond for a transportation plan. Do you support the bond? If so, what would be your priorities?

I’m leaving that one up to the voters. I do support that, because we’re talking about a large sum of money, and I do agree with the voters having a little say. Yes, they elect the representative or Council member to speak up for them, but at the same time on a decision that large it’s great to give to the hands of the voters. Going a little more into my transportation issues, my biggest thing is a five-year plan for hybrid buses. One, let’s make Raleigh a cleaner city for future generations, and not to mention hybrid buses use a lot less fuel and will save the city quite a bit of money on fuel over time. And also a Raleigh rail system at least connecting downtown Raleigh to the airport and even, we are the Triangle area. We need to think outside the box, think larger and also connect some of our other areas like Durham and Chapel Hill to the Raleigh area.

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