2019 Candidate Questionnaire – COMMISSIONER, TOWN OF PITTSBORO

Heather Johnson

Posted 10/11/19

Heather Johnson

Date/place of birth: No answer

Current occupation: Owner, Chatham Business Services; Owner, Carolina Women’s Show; Editor-at-Large, Chatham Magazine

Campaign …

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2019 Candidate Questionnaire – COMMISSIONER, TOWN OF PITTSBORO

Heather Johnson

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Editor's Note: This item has been updated to include answers submitted by the candidate after publication date.

Heather Johnson

Date/place of birth: 9/17/1973; Great Falls, Montana

Current occupation: Owner, Chatham Business Services; Owner, Carolina Women’s Show; Editor-at-Large, Chatham Magazine

Campaign website/social media: facebook.com/HeatherforPittsboro/

Family: Four children

Party affiliation: Republican

Current and previous elected offices held or sought & terms of service: Candidate, Pittsboro Town Board of Commissioners, 2015

Campaign manager (if applicable): Self

Campaign treasurer: Self

Why are you seeking this office?:
I will put my energy, experience, honesty and passion for public service to work and will be a fair and effective voice for all Pittsboro residents. My family chose to move to downtown Pittsboro and I opened Chatham Business Services seven years ago. Owning a business and living here in the heart of Pittsboro, I’ve done my best to be part of the solution to the challenges this town has faced. I’ve served on charitable boards and in community organizations to include the Pittsboro Kiwanis and the Pittsboro Business Association. Currently serving as Board Secretary of Second Bloom.

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?:
The responsibilities of the Town Board include planning for growth and development and approving the Town budget and staff. I believe that I am uniquely qualified to serve as a Commissioner because for many years I have shown my ability to connect businesses, non-profit organizations and citizens with our local government benefit for the benefit of all. 

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?:
My budgeting philosophy includes utilizing line item budgeting based on Board priorities. If there is a recommendation for raising the tax rate, I would advocate for a citizen referendum. 

Give us two goals that are specific, measurable and attainable you would have if elected: 
My first priority as Town Commissioner will be to see that the work and deliberation required to finalize the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) be completed.
To improve our water quality I would work with the Board to adopt the recommendations of CDM Systems and act on a water treatment solution.

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?: 
Listening to our residents is absolutely critical. An example of how I have listened and followed up based on feedback is after our first Holly Days Tree Lighting event. Town leaders and also members of the community expressed their concerns about lack of diversity of the event. I immediately took those concerns to our planning committee. In that committee and in every other group planning our events in town since, we have not just had a discussion about diversity with my fellow committee members, but we had measurable outreach and included diverse programming in the events.

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?: 
I think that growth would bring more voices to the decisions and possibilities that the Town faces.

What do you think are Pittsboro’s three best features?:
The people are surely Pittsboro's finest feature!
While we are working to improve walkability, there is still a lot to offer in terms of getting around town on foot or bicycle.
Our local farms are a tremendous asset to our residents and visitors.

What are three areas where Pittsboro can improve?: 
Water quality is an obvious area requiring improvement, but the solution is not so obvious. The next Board will need to work together to delve into the data and options provided from a variety of sources in order to make the decisions necessary to improve our infrastructure and treat unregulated contaminants in our water supply.
Walkability of our downtown is an area of concern for residents, businesses and visitors. In meeting with DOT, sidewalk improvements are planned for mainstreet revitalization, but will not happen until after we bury our utilities. I look forward to that progress and safe, accessible sidewalks.
Another area of improvement could be an update of our Town website and communications. We require a strategic plan for community outreach on all levels.

If you are not elected, what steps will you take to serve Pittsboro?:
I will continue what I do have for many years, serving and connecting the residents of Pittsboro.

Biographical Facts

Political/government hero: Margaret Thatcher

Favorite book: The Christmas Letters

Book most recently read: The Hours

Favorite film: Fiddler on The Roof

Hobbies: Yoga and enjoying local food

Church/civic involvement: I serve as an area Public Affairs Specialist for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and also Chatham representative for JustServe.org.

Personal motto or one-line philosophy: Stand for something or you'll fall for anything.

Strongest childhood ambition: To be in Public Relations

Most significant life goal you’ve accomplished: Helping my son who is disabled to achieve his greatest potential. There were many years when I didn't know that could be possible. It is absolutely my greatest joy!

Goal you haven’t accomplished yet: Being able to travel.




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