Cary, NC – This is an installment in our Candidate 2018 series, in which candidates get to respond in their own words to the same three questions.
We publish the responses in the order we receive them. This questionnaire is submitted by David Blackwelder, running for the Wake County Board of Commissioners, District 6, as the Republican Party nominee.
Why are you running?
As a police officer, father, and former school resource officer, school security is extremely important to me. I believe we should secure our Schools and provide a safe learning environment for our children by following a School Safety Plan, Security School Designs, and Community Programs. Providing a layered security approach, perimeter security, single point entry, guardian programs, and increasing parent communication will lead to a safer school campus and better quality of life. Mental health resources for our children is essential to not only school safety, but for a better quality of life. I strongly advocate for community mentoring programs, counselors, and the National Alliance for Mental Illness (breaking the silence). As a Crisis Intervention Officer, I believe that taking the stigma away from mental illness allows children to request the help they need and allows others to detect the early signs of mental crisis, preventing incidents from occurring.
What are your top three priorities and how will you accomplish them?
If elected, my top three priorities are affordable housing, school security, and reducing property taxes. My first task will be to introduce zero-based budgeting, so we can adequately fund public schools and ensure housing is affordable. The Commissioners have misplaced priorities, which has costed not only the tax payer, but Wake County employees. Teacher Assistants and Detention Officers make less than $15 an hour, while the Commission has continued to increase taxes every year for the past five years, including the recent 3.94 cent increase. There is approximately 1 billion dollars in bonds on the November 6 Ballot, which will further increase taxes. School bonds will also be proposed in 2020 and 2022, further increasing property taxes. Tax increases cause inflation, impact local small business owners, and affects home affordability. Public-private partnerships will allow Wake County to lease educational buildings, which keeps our investments local, reduces maintenance costs, more opportunities for community-based schools, and allows flexibility for county growth.
Further addressing home affordability would consist of revising ordinances and zoning for higher residential density, especially in high-opportunity areas, near or planned future transit. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) provide an option to generate additional housing inventory, with little investment. ADU’s increase property values and provide income for property owners. ADU’s provide an opportunity for housing at different price points and are typically used for rentals or family needs. The need for affordable housing in Wake County is critical and we must pursue incentives, inclusionary zoning, and joint planning with Wake’s municipalities to retain and expand citizens’ housing options.
Give us a brief bio and tell us about your relevant experience
Neither a politician nor political activist, David is a North Carolina native who wants to see Wake County reach its full potential. David strongly believes it is important for citizens to serve their community when they can. Currently, he does so as a Police Officer and he hopes to be blessed with the opportunity to do so as county commissioner.
David was born in Durham, NC, went to Cary High School and grew up playing football and ice hockey. He attended Mount Olive College and Grand Canyon University, where he received degrees in Criminal Justice and Public Administration. He is currently seeking a degree in law at North Carolina Central University.
As a former School Resource Officer, David’s priorities include mentoring youth, providing security for public schools, school threat assessments, and community policing. As a concerned parent and citizen of Wake County, he believes the county should focus on fiscal responsibility, job growth, economic development, government accountability, and community engagement.
If elected, David will fight to secure our schools, work with current School Board members to enact policy changes, bring back fiscal responsibility, advocate for more community programs, and promote community gardens.
Read more in the Candidate 2018 series.