What is your educational background? I went to Duke for undergrad and earned a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical engineering. I then studied medicine at UNC and earned an MD and also a Masters in Public Health. My residencies were in Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine.
What is your professional background? I have served as a pediatrician in North Carolina for over 20years, providing primary care to kids in Orange County for the past 12 years at Chapel Hill Children’s Clinic.
Have you ever held political office? If so, please describe your experience. I currently serve as vice chair of the CHCCS Board of Education. As a board member, I have also served as Policy Committee Chair and liaison to the Health and Safety committee, Mental Health Community Collaboration, Equity Advisory Council, Gifted Parent Advisory Council, the Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Taskforce, and the PreK Parent Council. As a board, we have collaborated with administration to address issues of equity, from rewriting our governing principles to developing a more rehabilitative, less punitive code of Character, Conduct, and Support and creating more culturally relevant curriculum.
Why are you choosing to run for Orange County Commissioner at this point in time? I am running for Orange County Commissioner At-Large seat because I care about the people of Orange County and I care about good governance.
I believe the county needs a plan to address the backlog of over $260 million in unfunded major renovation needs of Orange County public schools in both districts. We also need to work to expand PreK, which is one of the most effective means of addressing the opportunity gap. Additionally, we need to focus on transportation that serves all the residents of Orange County, and we need to continue working on economic development to help address our needs without overburdening tax payers. Finally, we also need to do our part to address climate change by aligning all county obligations with environmentally sustainable practices.
What are some of the challenges that you see facing Orange County in the coming years that you’ll have to take on if elected? I believe the county needs a plan to address the backlog of unfunded major renovation needs in both school districts. This will be a major challenge, but every day we delay in addressing this problem will cost taxpayers more in the future. We need to start by increasing funding for ongoing maintenance to maintain our existing school infrastructure. Then we need to look at what are the highest priority projects in both districts and start working through the list. Overall we need to focus on needs vs wants in Orange County to be mindful of the cost to our taxpayers.
We also need to focus on transportation that serves the people of Orange County, starting with a North South Bus Rapid Transit with future extension to Hillsborough and Chatham County, and expanding routes in northern Orange County and providing on demand services for rural Orange County. We also need to consider Bus Rapid Transit for the Chapel Hill Durham corridor.
Climate change is a major concern that needs to be addressed at every level of government. As a county, we can work to reduce our footprint by maximizing the energy efficiency of school and county buildings as they are built or renovated. We can also replace aging buses with electric and solar powered buses. We can educate citizens to reduce their use of plastics. We should also continue to evaluate and improve our recycling and solid waste processes and promote composting throughout the county.
Please describe briefly your vision for Orange County: My vision for Orange County is one that respects its history and maintains its beauty as a vibrant, complementary combination of rural and urban. Maintaining a rural buffer protects our water supply, provides areas for recreation, allows for locally sourced produce, and maintains trees that help sequester carbon. Meanwhile our towns provide hubs for our residents to live, work, shop, study, and attend cultural and sporting events. We must be strategic and intentional as we grow.
Why should voters vote for you in the March 3 Spring Primary? As a pediatrician and Board of Education member, I am qualified and experienced in both individual and community level problem solving. I’m a data driven decision maker and believe in setting goals and measuring outcomes. I study relevant data and research, value community input, and collaborate with other board members in making the best decisions for our community. I care deeply about Orange County and want to work for real