Name as it appears on the ballot: Beth Turner
Full legal name, if different: Sarah Beth Turner
Date of birth: February 25, 1969
Home address: #80 Circle Drive, Pittsboro, NC 27312
Campaign website: www.bethforpittsboro.com
Occupation & employer: non-profit field, self-employed
I have lived in Pittsboro for 14 years and have been involved in many community organizations. I served as the volunteer coordinator for Chatham Social Health back when it was known as the HIV/AIDS Council. I have been involved with Girls Rock NC since 2005, co-founded the non-profit, served as interim executive director and currently direct the Chapel Hill location summer camps and facilitate with after school program workshops. Girls Rock NC’s mission is to empower young women to be creative community members through music, feminism and self-expression. It is amazing to see the community and culture that has been created in the Triangle around Girls Rock NC and I love that I have gotten to see girls that I worked with years ago going on to play in bands, lead feminist groups and really be incredible community members and future leaders. I served on the board of directors for the Chatham Marketplace for two years. I completed Leadership Triangle’s Regional Spring 2011 program and am a Goodmon Fellow. I frequently volunteer for ChathamArts and the Abundance Foundation, non-profits located in Pittsboro. I coordinate downtown Pittsboro’s First Sunday Artisan Fair.
I believe that good government includes compromise, consensus building and citizen participation. The Chatham Marketplace board was a board of consensus, it worked really well and I gained a greater understanding of the importance of compromise in a leadership position. I grew up on a farm near Kinston, NC and would say that my parents (democrat dad, republican mom) were fairly progressive for that time. My mom served on our board of elections and I would accompany her to the polls when she worked on election day. Back then, our whole state was more conservative, but I listened to people engage in political discourse in a thoughtful and civilized manner. Local and national politics were often discussed and facts were important to every argument no matter what side you sat on. People often agreed to disagree and everyone could still have a good time at the pig picking. I hope to bring this type of discourse and leadership style to the Pittsboro Town Board.
I would support efforts to bring much needed affordable housing to Pittsboro and there are voters here that oppose this for various reasons. I think their idea of affordable housing is negative and outdated. I would reach out to opponents and let them know why I think affordable housing is valuable to successful communities. I like Houses of Hope model of affordable housing. They are an NC non-profit that develops quality, attractive and affordable homes with an emphasis on green rebuilding and reuse. We have quite a few historic, yet dilapidated homes in Pittsboro that would be ideal for this purpose.
We have unique resources in Pittsboro that already make us a just community. The Pittsboro branch of Central Carolina Community College has unique programs in sustainability. We are the Chatham County seat and are home to our historic courthouse. Our community includes young farmers, artists and musicians. My Leadership Triangle program focused on regionalism and I would use this and other experiences to promote what makes Pittsboro a unique place.
It is an honor to be accepted by the NC Small Town Main Street program. I have been working with town officials and the Pittsboro Business Association since April on the Small Town Main Street program. I see this as a great opportunity towards revitalization of our downtown. Day trippers who visit Pittsboro from various points throughout the Triangle point out that they love the historic, small town feel, which is growing more rare in our area and in our state. I think that the Main Street program can help us preserve that while we are growing though their four point approach of design, promotion, economic restructuring and organization. Our team is researching grants for building reuse and job creation through the NC Rural Center and other entities. We just got started with Main Street on September 15, when we had our kickoff and first public organizational meeting. There is lots of interest and community participation and I am excited to see where we go.
(The plant has closed since you sent the questionnaire). The Chatham County Economic Development Corporation, Congressman Bob Etheridge and many other local citizens are working with the current Townsend property owners to resolve some of the issues surrounding the plant closure. Other counties in North Carolina are starting to develop solar farms and seeing economic boosts from alternative energy job creation. I would like to see our town and county encourage this type of economic development and the Townsend property could be an ideal location for more innovative industry and job creation.
I think that we can build the wastewater treatment plant affordably through collaboration with the county and the city of Sanford.
Pittsboro is poised for major growth. There is a property developer who owns 6,500 acres surrounding Pittsboro, which is about 3 times the size of the town, currently. My hope is that the historic downtown core of Pittsboro will not be lost once this development begins and I will work to see that happen. Affordable housing is very limited in Pittsboro so I think this should be a priority in developing a land use plan.
I think we take clean drinking water for granted. This resource will become more challenging to obtain in the future. A recent Duke University study concluded that hydraulic fracturing had caused methane contamination in shallow drinking water systems in areas where this type of drilling already exists. I do not support technologies that contaminate our water and do not think that big oil and gas companies have our best interests in mind based on their track record.
I think there is a general lack of enthusiasm on the current town board, though some members have worked really hard to bring positive change to Pittsboro. Some citizens feel left out of town process and I hope to encourage more people to get involved and participate in local government.