Morrisville, 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 Kristen Richardson, running for Morrisville Town Council in District 2.
Why are you running?
My husband and I moved to Morrisville six years ago. It’s been a wonderful place to start our family and I look forward to raising our two kids here. I’ve seen a lot of changes and growth in Morrisville in the last six years. With significant growth comes lots of opportunity along with real challenges. With our location at the heart of the Triangle, we are uniquely situated to capitalize on the growth of our town and region. We need strong leaders who can listen to residents, analyze data and information, and make hard decisions to set us up for success. I want to be part of leading our town into the future as one of the best places to live and work in the Triangle, the state, and the country.
What are your top three priorities and how will you accomplish them?
I will be a strong advocate for our community with the Wake County School Board to ensure we have high-quality public schools available as our population continues to expand. Parkside Elementary and Alston Ridge Middle are great examples of the results of that advocacy. These schools have brought a renewed sense of community to neighborhoods where students were previously scattered to various schools.
With the addition of these community-based schools and improved educational options, residents are encouraged to put down roots and invest in our community. I’d like to build on these recent accomplishments by continuing to work with the School Board on what will be needed next as we continue to grow. This would definitely include further discussions about bringing additional high school options to Morrisville students. Given our land constraints this might require some creativity and I would be excited to work on this.
I’ll work to ensure that we approach our town’s current transportation and infrastructure challenges in a thoughtful and forward-looking way. I believe our town’s current transportation issues come from two main sources:
The most obvious source is new development. It is no surprise that many people want to move to Morrisville. Developers have been more than happy to meet this demand by building new housing. I don’t think stifling development is the right approach. I do believe that we need to take steps now to alleviate traffic congestion including working with developers and making sure additional growth is thoughtful and sustainable.
The second cause of our transportation issues is the high volume of non-resident commuters driving through Morrisville. I would work with my fellow council members to prioritize road projects in the town budget. The more options we can provide to commuters, the less impact residents will see on a daily basis. We need to widen roads, like the current Morrisville Carpenter and Aviation projects; analyze opportunities for future road work needed; and start to investigate and lay the groundwork for other transit options.
- Development of the Town Center
Like me, many Morrisville residents are excited about the new community library coming to Town Hall Drive. Over the years, there’s been a lot of discussion about how to create a unique downtown or Town Center in this area. This could be an excellent site for mixed use development following the example of other nearby communities that have become popular destinations for Morrisville residents. I’m in favor of fully engaging with private developers in order to make the Town Center a reality. However, I’m not in favor of raising taxes in order for the town to take on the burden of development itself.
Give us a brief bio and tell us about your relevant experience
I grew up in Durham and have lived all my life in the Triangle. My husband, Evan, and I have been married for seven years and have two kids. Our oldest just started kindergarten at the brand new Parkside Elementary. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree with honors from Wake Forest University. I went back to school several years ago, while working full time, and received my MBA from Campbell University, graduating summa cum laude. I’ve spent the past 13 years working in business development (sales and proposals) in the pharmaceutical industry. My background includes experience managing budgets, projects, and global teams. I’d like to apply my experience and knowledge to provide insight and perspective for the Town of Morrisville and its citizens. My public service includes currently serving on the Performance Measures Advisory Committee (PMAC) for the Town of Morrisville. The PMAC makes suggestions and recommendations to staff on Town Performance Measures, process improvement projects, and benchmarks.
Read more in the Candidate 2019 series.