Stand on Issues

Her Perspective: I will continue to be a champion for safe neighborhoods, sustainable development, sound educational programs, and accountable user friendly government.”Ellen Reckhow

We have accomplished a great deal in the last four years. Our downtown and overall economy are booming and we continue to earn national accolades. Now we need to assure that this success improves the lives of all our citizens.

Much of our development success has been driven by public-private partnerships. As we address our major challenges, I believe we need to leverage the creativity of our citizens and seek partnerships to move Durham to a new level. 

  • While we continue to grow our economic base, we need to diversify the companies that we attract so that we have a range of good paying jobs. I am proud that we have created a public-private partnership in East Durham to develop an industrial park that will provide good jobs for people with a high school diploma even as we continue to attract high tech jobs for people with college degrees.
  • One of our major challenges is the continuing opportunity gap in Durham. Too many of our children and families are in poverty and cannot find a pathway toward upward mobility.  We need to better prepare our citizens, particularly our young people, for the wonderful new jobs coming to Durham. Over the years, we have developed myriad programs; now we need to stitch them together into a supportive continuum. This will require a focus on early literacy – including universal pre-kindergarten and an emphasis on reading competency in the early grades.
  • Another major issue is keeping pace with our growth. Our population and jobs are expected to grow by more than 50% in the next 25 years. We need to expand mobility options including enhanced transit, more bikeways and sidewalks, along with expansion of our roadway network. At the same time, we need to protect our drinking water supplies and preserve open space.
  • While the City traditionally takes the lead role on affordable housing, the County has committed to helping, particularly near transit stations. We should use some of the surface parking that we own downtown and work with the private sector to build parking decks with retail on the ground floor and affordable housing above.
  • We need to divert our mentally ill from the jail and work to create a mental health court along with support services. This will not only provide more appropriate services for the mentally ill, it will save the county money in jail costs.
  • Finally, through the County Manager’s focus on Managing for Results and our Open Data initiative, we need to continue to make county government more transparent, accessible, efficient and effective.