Name as it appears on the ballot:
Tommy T McNeill
Campaign website: http://linkedin.com/in/tommy-mcneill-37759a61
Phone number: 336-926-4881
Years lived in Orange County: 12yrs
1. In your view, what are the three most pressing issues facing Orange County? If elected, what will you do to address these issues?
It is my strong desire to be elected so that I may serve others and contribute to our county as we strive to achieve the highest possible quality of life for our citizens. I am proud to be a resident of Orange County and confident that I could be of the greatest value in such a position. I am committed to the following:
* Increase funding for Economic Development Commission
* Increase funding
our school systems
* Explore affordable housing, and
* Maintain Farmland Preservation
It is for these reasons that I am running for elected office.
2. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the Orange County Board of Commissioners? (This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.)
Born into a third-generation farming family in Raeford, N.C.; Air Force Reserves, 1985-2005; Friends of Orange Public Library; alumni member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity; former vice president of the Tuskegee Airmen, Heart of Carolina Chapter; former executive director for Boy Scouts Troop and Pack 144; former member of Toastmasters International; Triangle Healthcare Executives’ Forum of NC, board member and communications chair; former Orange County Planning Board member; active member, Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Bahama.
3. If you are challenging an incumbent, what decisions has the incumbent made that you most disagree with? If you are an incumbent, what in your voting record and experience do you believe entitles you to another term?
Orange County Commissioners are responsible for allocating funding to our parks, senior and library services, economic development, water quality, social and 911 services, and schools. If elected, I will
these services so Orange County can remain attractive to create better job opportunities.
4. How do you define yourself politically, and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
I am a proud graduate
North Carolina Public Schools. I received my Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from North Carolina Central University School of Business and completed Executive Education at Duke University and Center for Creative Leadership. For the last twenty-five years, I worked in the healthcare industry in sales and marketing. These experiences shaped my campaign theme “ Building a better community through collaboration”.
5. What is your view of how Orange County should grow economically? What policies would you like to see implemented to enhance economic development in Orange County?
Orange County is embarking upon a dynamic future of economic development by offering support to
companies who seek to conduct business here. However, Orange County can do better by increasing offerings to businesses in relocation assistance, doubling our efforts to
entrepreneurs and include affordable commercial and industrial space to encourage small business owners to increase their capabilities and scale thus creating jobs and increasing wages.
6. What steps should the county take to address challenges related to growth and development, such as sprawl and transportation? In your opinion, what
been the county’s successes in managing this growth in recent years? What about its failures? What would you do differently?
Orange County Commissioners take a conservative approach to growth and transportation which I agree. The county holds public information meetings to talk with residents and address any issues as soon as possible, as well as updating the county website with any new information. These are actionable items I will fully embrace as an Orange County Commissioner – “Building a better community through collaboration”
7. Similarly, what should be the county’s role in addressing issues of economic inequality? Do you believe the current board is doing enough to prevent current residents from being priced out?
With the approval of 195-acre Hillsborough commercial,
project which could bring could bring 1.2 million square feet of light industrial, manufacturing and research projects to the west side of Old N.C. 86, and roughly 78,540 square feet of retail and up to 183,260 square feet of high-intensity office uses, restaurants and a 200-room hotel to the east side, this economic impact affords Orange County residence opportunities to increase their livable wages, become small business owners and join Orange County thriving economy.
8. How would your experience―in politics or otherwise in your career―make you an asset to the county’s decision-making process? Be specific about how this experience would relate to your prospective office.
Laying a foundation for programs that can increase funding for education, yet not
property owners with taxation.
Bringing representation from the farming community and economic development together to balance growth in a responsible way.
Ensuring the channel of communication is always open
the voice of the people will always be heard and represented.
9. North Carolina is a “Dillon Rule” state, meaning that the only powers municipal and county governments have are the ones granted to them by the legislature. Would you like to see this changed? How would you work with state legislators from Orange County, as well as mayors and council members from the city’s municipalities, to ensure that Orange, its municipalities, and the state are on the same page regarding policies that affect its residents?
Yes, I would support changing “Dillon Rule” instead prefer “Home Rule” In home rule states, local government authority over local matters is delegated in broad terms, and local governments are not generally required to obtain specific authority for particular activities.
10. The replacement bill for HB 2 that passed last year prohibits local governments from passing living-wage or nondiscrimination ordinances until 2020. If you are in office in 2020 when the moratorium expires, what sort of nondiscrimination and/or living-wage policies will you push the county to adopt, if any? Do you favor, for instance, a nondiscrimination ordinance that would apply to public accommodations, like the one
passed in 2016 that led the legislature to pass HB 2? Would you consider raising the county’s minimum wage?
I support nondiscrimination ordinances of any kind, along with supporting local governments to increase living-wages. Also, I fully support raising the county’s minimum wage and teacher’s pay.
11. Give an example of a time, during your political career, when you have changed your position as a result of a discussion with someone who held an opposing view.
Initially, I was not a supporter of building a new jail in light of the fact our schools could benefit from $28M. Since Orange County Commissioners approved funding, I fully support building this project in its entirety which includes Ag Center and Parks Operation Center as suggested by Orange County Manager, Bonnie Hammersley.
12. Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some points with voters.
The merger between Orange County Schools and Chapel Hill – Carrboro Schools.