2019 Candidate Questionnaire – COMMISSIONER, TOWN OF PITTSBORO

Lonnie E. West

Posted 10/11/19

Lonnie E. West

Date/place of birth: May 26, 1944; Cleveland, Tennessee

Current occupation: Real Estate Broker, auctioneer, notary public

Campaign website/social media: gowest.com, also on …

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2019 Candidate Questionnaire – COMMISSIONER, TOWN OF PITTSBORO

Lonnie E. West

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Posted

Lonnie E. West

Date/place of birth: May 26, 1944; Cleveland, Tennessee

Current occupation: Real Estate Broker, auctioneer, notary public

Campaign website/social media: gowest.com, also on Facebook

Family: Elianne, wife

Party affiliation: Unaffiliated

Current and previous elected offices held or sought & terms of service: None

Campaign manager (if applicable): None

Campaign treasurer: Jennifer Gordiano

Why are you seeking this office?: I am a former Chatham County employee and chose to live in Pittsboro for the small-town-charm. I know that change is here already and will continue to happen. I also believe that it is important to maintain the character of the community while embracing the new in order to ensure that future generations can enjoy Pittsboro as we do. I have lived is several states and foreign countries and hope to share innovations I have observed and experienced during my careers.

What is your understanding of the responsibilities of the office you seek, and in one sentence, why do you believe you’re qualified to fill that role?: My life has been one of leadership and service to my country, community and workplace therefore working with the other town officials. I believe I can provide helpful input to the decision-making process.

One of the most important decisions that elected officials make is on the annual budget, which includes spending and tax rates. Do you have a budgeting philosophy? What’s more important to you — spending more to allocate resources to needed programs or cutting spending and keeping the tax rate low?: Budgeting is always a balancing act. While low taxes are popular to the citizens, any increase must make sense by justifying the need to create or expand programs and services. However, I do not hold that once-created programs must always remain as created or even grow. The need for the program or services must be examined and adjusted or ended as the need changes.

Give us two goals that are specific, measurable and attainable you would have if elected: 1. Pittsboro needs additional affordable (work force) housing both rentals and ownership units. I would like to see at least 100 new or adapted rentals with monthly rentals under $1,000 per month with the target being those households earning 50 percent of the area median income. 2. Completion and move the Town Administration to the new buildings during this term so that services are available and that a larger hall is available for public meetings.

The Commissioner’s main responsibility is to place votes on issues crucial to the town. What would be your philosophy on choosing whether or not to vote for an item? Do you have an example of a similar decision in the past?: My philosophy is taken directly from the thinking of the Rotary International: Is it fair to all concerned? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Pittsboro is on the edge of a growing area and will soon be growing itself, if projections hold true. How do you think that reality would affect your decision-making as a board member?: In my current profession, I am directly involved and know the impact of growth events. We must respect the past but not deny that change is here so we have to make decisions that will be the best decision we can make with available information and sound projections.

What do you think are Pittsboro’s three best features?: Pittsboro is the town where I chose to purchase a home because it is small enough to not feel out of step. People are generally friendly and helpful — I have great neighbors. People want to do what is best for the community.

What are three areas where Pittsboro can improve?: 1. There are areas and properties that need cleaning up especially along the main streets. 2. Traffic can be heavy, causing drivers to take little-used side streets to go around the traffic circle, thereby increasing traffic in residential areas that usually would have few cars. 3. The Parks Director has a good handle on improving spaces for enjoyment of the citizens and visitors; continue and support those efforts and plans.

If you are not elected, what steps will you take to serve Pittsboro?: I will continue the things I am doing and will support whoever is elected.

Biographical Facts

Political/government hero: Ronald Reagan

Favorite book: “Patton”

Book most recently read: “Goodbye to All That” by Robert Graves

Favorite film: “Wind River”

Hobbies: Woodworking

Church/civic involvement: Rotary Club of Pittsboro founding member and Charter President. Affordable Housing Advisory Committee.

Personal motto or one-line philosophy: “When everyone thinks alike, no one is thinking.”

Strongest childhood ambition: To be a soldier

Most significant life goal you’ve accomplished: Served 26 years in the U.S. Army, retired with Dual Status; Captain, Armor US Army Reserve and Sergeant Major, Regular Army.

Goal you haven’t accomplished yet: Increase affordable housing in my community and county.

West

West

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