Name as it appears on the ballot: Carrie Randa
Party affiliation: Democrat
Campaign website: carrieforhollysprings.com
Occupation & employer: Corporate Counsel, ICON plc
Years lived in Holly Springs: 16
1) In 300 words or less, please give us—and our readers—your elevator pitch: Why are you running? Why should voters entrust you with this position? What are your priorities, and what would you want to see the town council do differently or better over the course of your term?
I am running for Town Council in Holly Springs because I am invested in this town and want to ensure that it remains sustainable and continues to flourish in the future. I want Holly Springs to grow but retain its small-town feel. I am a 16-year resident of Holly Springs, having moved here to attend law school. I have worked here, owned two different houses here, gotten married and had a child here. Holly Springs is my home, and while growth is great, I want to ensure that our growth is sustainable and that the residents are the priority when planning future development and making decisions about how to use our precious resources. Holly Springs has beautiful green space that we need to preserve for generations to come. We have seen incredible growth but with it came infrastructure and transportation challenges. I bring a new perspective to the council, and I believe my legal background and ability to critically think about issues and brainstorm solutions with different stakeholders makes me an excellent candidate and representative of our community.
2) Given the direction of Holly Springs government, would you say things are on the right course? If not, for what specific changes will you advocate if elected?
Holly Springs has only had 3 mayors, and our last mayor served our community for 20 years. Our council as of late hasn’t contained the diversity that the community embodies. While I think the current council and leadership have made great strides and improvements to our beautiful town, I think it is time for a change so that new perspectives and ideas can be discussed. I think it is important to embrace the diversity our town has and ensure that our council is inclusive for all residents.
3) What are three of the most pressing issues the town currently faces? How would you propose to address them? Please be specific.
The three most important issues for Holly Springs that I can identify are affordable housing, infrastructure, and the landfill. Holly Springs is a desirable place to live and lately we have seen the prices of our housing go up to a point where many cannot afford to live here. That includes teachers, first responders and single parents. I would like to see Holly Springs work with developers to identify places where affordable housing can be built, work with Wake County to identify land and properties that can be refurbished or transformed to be affordable and I would like to work with the council to come up with creative ideas to make Holly Springs available to more people, especially those that serve our community but cannot afford to live here. Traffic and infrastructure have become an issue as we have seen quick growth and development and we really need to focus on how to work with state and local partners to study the needs of our residents and ensure we are providing viable options to ease congestion, make Holly Springs more bicycle and pedestrian friendly and make sure our growth is sustainable. We need to investigate pedestrian bridges, added sidewalks, bike lanes and the possibility of new forms of public transportation such as expanded bus routes and shuttles to make sure everyone has the ability to travel safety in and around Holly Springs. We also have a huge issue in the landfill. I know the council is working diligently to come up with solutions in conjunction with the county but more needs to be done to give residents a reprieve from the odor and fumes.
4) What’s the best or most important thing the town council has done in the past year? Alternatively, name a decision you believe the council got wrong or an issue you believe the town should have handled differently. Please explain your answer.
I am very happy that the council recently approved funding to conduct an affordable housing study. I believe it is necessary and will truly give us insight into what we are lacking and who it is affecting. We need to start making some progress on that front as we hear from residents all the time about being shut out of the market so this study is an excellent first step to determine what we can do as a community to be more inclusive. As for an issue the town got wrong, I believe over the years, dating back even before this current council, too much growth and development was approved without ensuring that the infrastructure and school system could handle the growth. Moving forward we must work with the Wake County School Board, DOT and other entities before making huge development decisions to ensure that Holly Springs can handle the growth.
5) What prior experience will make you an effective member of the town council and advocate of the issues listed above? Please note any endorsements you have received that you consider significant.
I have worked in various capacities as an attorney wherein I had to make important decisions with different stakeholders and negotiate important deals that really had a lot on the line. I feel confident in my abilities to work with all types of people to reach good solutions. I am a critical thinker who does extensive research to find the facts that can guide a decision. I do my best to remain neutral and let the facts lead me to the best decision. I am very proud to be endorsed by Equality NC and the Wake County Democratic party.
6) Given the rate of growth in Holly Springs, how will you ensure that growth is well managed and enhances the town rather than detracts from it? Where does density and height fit in in planning decisions, if it does? How do you intend to balance growth with sustainability?
Growth has been exponential in Holly Springs over the past few years, and we anticipate that growth will continue. It is imperative that we balance commercial growth, housing, and greenspace to ensure that we maintain an adequate mix for our residents. Holly Springs is currently looking into new space for community parks and hopes to expand existing amenities to ensure greenspace is maintained. Our Tree Advisory Committee is working on amendments to town ordinances to submit to ensure that we are planting the proper trees and replacing those that have been removed, where possible. I would like to see our town maintain its small town feel and avoid approving developments that would detract from that. I would not like to see high rise buildings or anything that doesn’t fit within our community currently as a part of the overall development scheme. As for density, we all already seeing issues with infrastructure and traffic congestion, so I don’t know that that is a viable solution either. What we really need to be doing is working closely with the wake county school board and DOT to ensure that infrastructure is in place to handle growth before we approve further development and we need to ensure that with all growth we are mixing in green space, parks, and recreation opportunities so that residents can stay in Holly Springs to go to school, play and work.
7) As with most places in the Triangle, Holly Springs is grappling with issues related to affordable housing. How would you like to see the town approach affordability issues over the next few years? Should it promote apartment living, duplexes, and/or triplexes? Encourage density in single family housing? What do you believe the town is doing right? What could it do better?
Affordable housing is an issue throughout the Triangle and especially in Holly Springs where the average house in 2019 cost $350,000 but most houses are selling for $500,000 and above. This is just attainable for many people, especially those that we rely on in our daily lives to provide services. Everyone should have the opportunity to live in this community. The average cost of an apartment in Holly Springs rose 25% over the past year and we are well above fair market value not only in North Carolina but also within the triangle. I would like to see Holly Springs get creative with the ways we deal with this. We need to work with developers to ensure that new development includes affordable options, we need to work with Wake County and the state to see what land we can utilize to possibly build our own and we need to see what property is already developed that can be reimagined to accommodate affordable housing. I would love to see a mix of apartments, townhomes and duplexes and even smaller homes. I would also like to see rent to own options for folks (as we have seen other large cities do) so that people can truly start to accumulate wealth and invest.
8) What infrastructure needs does Holly Springs currently have? How should the city address these needs and pay for them?
Due to our quick growth, Holly Springs has seen increased traffic without matching pedestrian and bicycle paths and sidewalks. I think Holly Springs needs to focus on community transportation options, whether local or in conjunction with other neighboring municipalities, as well as focusing on pedestrian bridges, bicycle lanes, the addition of sidewalks on certain roads that currently have no pedestrian walkways and we need to review our existing traffic lights to ensure that we are providing sound and light cues for those with disabilities or replacing outdated lights. Holly Springs still has money from the 2018 transportation bond that we can utilize to enhance these items and we also need to be working closely with the state to ensure that our lights and roads are up to date and sustainable.
9) Holly Springs has funds left over from a 2018 transportation bond. How should that money be spent? In your view, how can the town improve public transit and alleviate traffic? How can it improve infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians?
As indicated above I would like to see some of the funds from the 2018 used to enhance pedestrian and bicycle walkways to allow our residents to travel throughout the town without having to rely on personal transportation. Because not everyone has reliable personal transportation, I would also like to see Holly Springs study whether a shuttle service around town is a viable option. Morrisville was able to recently start a shuttle that provides service within their municipality for residents for free, and I think that would be incredibly useful for our residents who don’t have transportation, those with disabilities, seniors and youth who need a safe option to get across major thoroughfares. I would like to see Holly Springs investigate pedestrian bridges across the 55 bypass to alleviate the safety concerns with crossing these major 4 lane highways.
10) Holly Springs was one of a handful of Wake County municipalities not to reimplement a mask mandate recently with the resurgence of the COVID-19 Delta variant. Was this the right decision? How do you feel Wake County and Wake School Board officials have handled the COVID-19 pandemic? If you don’t think the pandemic was handled well, what should have been done differently?
I did not agree with this decision by the town council and would have fully supported a mask mandate. Recent research (September of 2021) shows that increased mask usage does show a decrease in transmission of the disease. While some may not believe that masks are helpful, the research shows otherwise. The council is elected to represent the will of the residents, but we also have a duty to protect public health and keep residents and employees safe. I think a mask mandate would have taken pressure off local businesses to make the decisions themselves and would have ensured slower spread through our community. Wake County and the School Board have done a great job of researching the issue and implementing common sense mandates that protect everyone. While a vocal group doesn’t agree with masks, I have found that my elementary aged child has no problem wearing one daily and we have not seen an increase in cases in wake county schools.
11) In what ways should Holly Springs promote economic development? How should the town assist small business owners?
Holly Springs has many programs to assist businesses in our area. Holly Springs recently saw the implementation of a support network that includes training for local entrepreneurs called Launch Holly Springs. This organization, chartered by the Holly Springs Rotary Club, provides support, training, and mentorship to underserved businesses in the area. Holly Springs also has a very active chamber of commerce that has an “angel fund” that can help business that are struggling due to the pandemic. Holly Springs has recently seen major businesses such as Amgen and FujiFilm choose our town for new development, and we have also seen an influx of small business in our thriving downtown area. Holly Springs is the perfect place for this mix, and I would love to see more outreach to small business to expand our small mom and pop options and give residents more than just big box options for shopping. Holly Springs should ensue we have incentive program that not only favor big business but also small business. We can work with local banks to ensure small businesses have access to loans and information about how to work with banks to receive funding if possible. We can also investigate whether we need to expand diversity of business or adopt an ordinance or formula to ensure that we have a mix of business and that small businesses can compete with and don’t get pushed out by big chain businesses.
12) Holly Springs residents love their parks and greenways. How should the town work to preserve, improve, or expand them?
Holly Springs has recently launched various polls and public input initiatives for a new park on the south side of Holly Springs. I think it is imperative that Holly Springs listen to the community and work within regulation and ordinance to ensure this new space has new and innovative amenities that other parks don’t already have. Holly Springs has great greenspace, and we are currently working to complete our greenways to connect with other towns, but we need to ensure we preserve existing parks and space and look to expand recreation opportunities thar residents need. For instance, I have heard from residents that they would like to see more recreation for youth, such as additional basketball courts, playgrounds (especially ones with access for children with disabilities or sensory issues), and even a public swimming pool or water amenity. Apex recently opened a senior center and I think Holly Springs would greatly benefit from something similar.
13) If there is anything else you would like to address please do so here.
Holly Springs is a wonderful place to live, and I want to ensure it stays that way. I think community input is invaluable and I want to be a voice for all residents.
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