Candidate Questionnaire Allen Thomas, Jr. – Hoke County Commission

Why do you wish to serve or continue to serve in public office?

I wish to continue serving in public office to finish what I started. Keeping promises in government can take time. I am pleased with the progress over the last 4 years, but there is much more to do here in Hoke County. I hear the concerns of people from all walks of life, and I fight for every community.

What are the top three challenges facing your county and how do you propose to address them through your office?

Education, Economic Growth, and Public Safety. Education: In my second term in office, I will work to increase funding to our schools by developing a five-year plan to increase per pupil spending. This plan will include increases in local teacher supplements as well as discretionary funds that the schools can use to continue to improve student achievement.

Economic growth is necessary to reduce the tax burden that our residents face every year. I support marketing campaigns to increase the number of people who relocate to Hoke County. We have been named one of the fastest growing counties in the state multiple years in a row. With the increase of income per capita and population, Hoke County will continue to attract economic growth.

Public Safety continues to be a major priority. Living in a safe environment is essential to attracting growth and businesses. I have worked to increase funding for law enforcement while adding deputies to our roads and schools. School safety has been a major concern in this country over the past year. This year, two additional School Resource Officers will be in our schools to ensure that our children are safe while at school. Hoke County is a safe place to live and work and I will fight to keep that reputation alive.

There is a statewide issue with unmaintained roads in county neighborhoods recently referred to as “orphaned roads.” A bill was introduced in the General Assembly this year but did not move forward. What are your thoughts for solving this problem?

As a County Commissioner, I have received countless complaints where homeowners were left with private roads that were not built to DOT standards that are now in disrepair. The current process that some developers use to cut costs is not in the best interests of the residents who live there. All private roads should be built to DOT standards so that the residents can have the option to seek inclusion into the DOT system in the future. As a member of the Board of Directors for the NC Association of County Commissioners, I can meet with other Commissioners from across the state to hear their opinions regarding this issue. We can develop solutions that are supported by leaders on the local level and coordinate our efforts in Raleigh with likeminded organizations. Together, we can solve this problem.

What NEW ideas or incentives can you suggest to attract business into the region? The county has an economic developer who works to bring new businesses to Hoke County.

The Board of Commissioners can lay out a vision as to which business industry’s are lacking in this area and develop a plan to attract and lure those businesses to Hoke County. 30% of our county is the Fort Bragg Military Reservation so recruiting Defense Contractors would be a start.Utilizing public owned space to serve as incubators for new start-up’s has been gaining traction around the country. We can direct our staff to give us a report on what works and what doesn’t work when looking at new ways to attract businesses.

What steps, if any, would you take to improve your county’s property valuation process in the years ahead? Why do you think these steps are necessary?

I believe making sure that we have the most updated systems in place is essential to a fair and equitable valuation process. As we prepare for the next re-valuation, we will review our current process with stakeholders and develop a plan to ensure that this important process is done fair and efficiently.

 

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