Valencia “Val” Applewhite
Office Sought: Mayor, City of Fayetteville
What endorsements have you received to date?
Democratic Municipal Officials (National and State of North Carolina). Nominated as first National “Blue Star” Candidate
North Carolina AFL-CIO
Greater Sandhills Central Labor Council
If offered, would you accept contributions from political action committees affiliated with the real estate industry? (RPAC, Buildpac etc.)
Decisions to accept PAC money will be made on a case-by case basis.
With crime being the #1 City Council priority, what solutions would you bring to the table and how would you fund them?
Any comprehensive solution to crime reduction must address the social issues that plaque cities. Poverty, un/underemployment, drug use, and neighborhood revitalization and investments are key factors that must be addressed. These issues require long and short term solutions and must be accomplished in a comprehensive and systematic approach across multiple agencies and levels of government.
As a first step, I would establish a Fayetteville/Cumberland County Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative. Initially mobilizing collective resources in our community to include businesses, academia, non-profit, philanthropic, faith-based and local, state and federal governments to develop an initial strategy and funding.
Long term, this plan would require youth violence prevention and reduction efforts be embedded in every relevant city department’s mission and reflected in its budget, programs, and outcomes. This would include reprioritization of resources to fund evidence based programs and for some departments, it will mean defunding programs that are not effective.
The Parks and Recreation Department would provide long-term management and oversight of this initiative. If the City Council moves forward with a Parks and Recreation Bond, additional funding could be included to support this collaborative. Most important, it would be a living document that reflects diverse community needs, with community ownership and participation with the goal of being sustained by future City Councils.
What ideas do you have to make it easier to open and maintain a new business in Fayetteville?
While serving on the Fayetteville City Council I advocated for resources to support small local and minority owned businesses via the Hire Fayetteville First: Job Creation Policy. Fully funding that initiative would be a priority. My efforts also contributed to the establishment of the Economic and Business Development Department in the City. I believe it is important to fully staff and fund this department and ensure there are concrete measurable goals and outcomes that support our business community.
Building strong relationships with Fayetteville State University’s SBTDC and Veterans Business Outreach Center, Fayetteville Technical Community College’s Small Business Center, and the Center for Economic Empowerment and Development with City resources and programs would be of great benefit to the initial and long term success of those willing to make a business investment in our community.
What are your solutions for homelessness?
The 2014 Analysis and Needs Assessment, Cumberland County Community Development Department, Continuum of Care on Homelessness provided by Karen Dash Consulting provides a gap analysis in our community.
The report made many recommendations. I believe the City could be immediately impactful by assisting the Continuum of Care through the establishment of a Day Resource Center or One Stop Shop for basic or wrap around services and referrals. The project would require a central case manager to support homeless people in progressing forward through services. Partnering with a nonprofit by providing real estate and other grant opportunities could make this critical need a reality.
The 10 year Plan to End Homelessness identified the lack of jobs and economic opportunity along with lack of affordable housing as key factors that contribute to homelessness in our community. Each of these issues require long term collaborative solutions to impact the issue of homelessness.
Would you like the City of Fayetteville’s seal changed?
As one of the most diverse cities in the country, we have the opportunity to show real leadership in how we deal with issues regarding race and history. As an African American woman, I understand the painful legacy of slavery. While we cannot erase our history, we certainly don’t have to use a symbol such as the Market House that divides so many in our community as our seal. A great alternative could be to have the community work together on a collaborative effort to create a seal that reflects who we are – a diverse all America City that embraces and is respectful of each other’s pasts.
What new ideas/concepts can you bring to the office you are seeking?
Fayetteville is at a crossroads, if we are ever to become a community of choice, we need transformational leadership that will forge a new direction with a bold vision that brings everyone together and begins to create a real community of choice.
While I served as the City Council Representative to the Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization I became increasing interested in the possibility of light and commuter rail for our region. The Rail Element of the Metropolitan Transportation Plan 2040 outlines that possibility. Still in need of additional funding, I believe it is an opportunity that is worth additional research. Light and/or commuter rail could be the economic game changer for our region. I think it’s worth exploring.