Cary, NC – This is an installment in our Candidate 2019 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 Ken George, running for the District D seat in Cary.
Why are you running?
In short, I love Cary and want to serve its citizens, helping to make it a place that my grandchildren and their children will be proud of. As a life-long Wake County Resident, graduate of Cary High and NCSU, I’ve got deep roots in the community, with an understanding of issues facing us. I’ve lived in my Council District D for over 30 years, taking advantage of the first greenway in Cary to walk first with my children, and now my grandchildren.
What are your top three priorities and how will you accomplish them?
- We MUST pay careful attention to the aging infrastructure in Cary. It grew so fast from 1970-2000, that some neighborhoods have been left behind. Storm water issues plague many mature neighborhoods because the newer rules were not in place back then to protect them. Roads have been over-paved without grinding down the old pavement, leaving not only ugly curb lines, but shallow water troughs allowing runoff into yards and driveways. Curbs and sidewalks have deteriorated and need repair. I first tackled the over-paving and layering of pavement on my Neighborhood Streets in Scottish Hills. Brookgreen has two extra layers in places, and in those places, the curb cannot contain heavy rains, but allows water to flow into yards, washing out mulch and creating flooding problem for a few residents. Compare that road work to the recent work done on Lochcarron Lane and the difference is clear. Lochcarron’s top layer of asphalt was removed, and a smooth, level road and curb are perfectly aligned, protecting the look and function of the curb. The storm water issue is more difficult. However, I am supporting the expansion of the pilot program that has been cleaning out storm drains and culverts to allow the free flow of water out of the streets. I support, along with my fellow council members, the holistic approach to storm water we are now taking, reviewing plans for capturing runoff as an overall water quality issue, NOT just a flooding issue.
- Redevelopment of Cary Towne Center in the right manner has already been a high priority and will continue to be so. The dying mall has 5000 surface parking spaces and a nearly 100% impervious surface throughout. I had numerous meetings with the previous owners, but the vision of what could be there didn’t take shape until it was sold to the current group that has tackled similar projects other places. Their vision to mix office, retail, hotel and residential will breathe new life into those nearly 90 acres. The mall can be redeveloped in a GREEN manner, working to reduce the impervious surfaces, adding trees and green-scape to more interior areas of the mall, reducing runoff. Using the best LEED principles, its redevelopment can be a regional GEM, an example to be emulated.
- Helping to guide the direction of the private investment is critical to Cary’s Downtown. The Downtown Park Phase II, the redevelopment of the old library site, the new rooftops coming to downtown need creative and critical guidance so that generations to come will enjoy downtown Cary. I intend to continue my involvement, encouraging the “vibrant downtown life” that Cary has never known before. I support both bonds on the October ballot, which will enable us to build the not just the downtown park, but others as well.
Give us a brief bio and tell us about your relevant experience
I was born in the old Rex Hospital and grew up between Cary and Raleigh on Jones Franklin Road, attending Cary Elementary and Cary High School. Marching in the Cary High Band, representing Cary in the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Kentucky Derby, Presidential Inauguration, Bicentennial Parade in Allentown, PA and Geneva, Switzerland gave me a sense of home-town pride that is hard to describe. While attending NCSU I met and fell in love with Karen Miller on our first date! We were married less than a year later and before our 10th anniversary had 6 children. Being involved in their schools as a volunteer was high on my priorities. I drove activity buses for band, chorus and baseball teams. Karen and I were CO-PTA Presidents at CHS. We now have 15 grandchildren with two more on the way. Cary helped raise my children, all of whom graduated from Cary High and went on to get degrees, four from NC State, one from UNC Charlotte and one from UNC Chapel Hill. I don’t measure success from having a 25-year-old business in Cary, but from having grandchildren who are learning what giving to the community means from their parents.
My resume of relevant leadership and volunteer experience includes President of Cary Central Rotary Club, Chairman of the CHS 100th Anniversary Parade, West Raleigh Baseball Commissioner, President Sister Cities Association of Cary, Chairman of the Sister Cities Commission, Band Booster and full-time missionary in the Dominican Republic for two years. Having served for these past four years on the council with six great representatives, I’ve learned a lot about working together. To have wide support from my colleagues for my re-election means a great deal to me. I’m so happy to have Mayor Weinbrecht “strongly support” my re-election as well as support from Council Members Smith, Robinson, Frantz and Yerha. That’s a total of 87 years of Cary Town Council experience supporting me. I take seriously the trust that the voters of Cary have placed in me by electing me in 2015, and I’d love to continue representing them for four more years. It’s an honor and a privilege to be their voice on the council.
Read more in the Candidate 2019 series.