THE ISSUES

"I'm not a politician; I'm a leader.  I want to work for you.  The county's population is expected to double by the year 2040.  Our current commission has not adequately planned for that substantial growth.  The result:  our schools are overcrowded.  Our roads are congested.  The cost of living has skyrocketed and our workforce can no longer afford to live here.  Funding schools, improved infrastructure, and planning for growth strategically are my primary concerns for our county."  
LIST OF ISSUES
Education

Our schools need to be fully funded.  Period.  I'm angry about the overcrowding and the resulting zoning for our district.  I'm shocked that parents receive letters on the first day of school with voluntary fees for children to take classes on the curriculum.  No child should have to pay to take a Chemistry class.  No child should have to eat lunch at 9:45am or take a class in a hallway because there is no space.  PTO's shouldn't be expected to raise millions of dollars for their kids to have supplies.  Our teachers should be able to earn a wage that would allow them to live in our county.  Yet a current commissioner was quoted as saying he was proud of the budget that the WCS' CFO described as "very, very lean" and "very, very tight".  

According to the Census Bureau, Williamson County was ranked the 7th wealthiest county in the US in 2017.  Because we are an affluent county, we receive less funding from the state for education.  Meanwhile, we also have the lowest property tax rate by far from any surrounding county.  Our population is one of the fastest growing.

Even with the budget crunch and overcrowding, Williamson County Schools are ranked #1 in Tennessee.  But our kids are competing for spots at top universities with public school students in other parts of the country where they are provided tablets on the first day of school.

 We need to do better by our students.

Housing

The demand for housing in our county has caused the cost of living to soar.  Folks who have lived here for generations are feeling the squeeze.  Many of our teachers can't afford to live in our county.  Creating and maintaining affordable housing must be a goal for the county.

Williamson Medical Center

For the record, I #StandwithWMC.  A few commissioners keep raising the idea of selling the county-owned Williamson Medical Center in order to offset some of the school costs.  Selling the county's assets is not a smart way to pay for growth.  Furthermore, according to state law, any proceeds from the sale would have to be used for health issues--not education.

Infrastructure

I'm tired of sitting in traffic.  Aren't you?  If Two Farms gets developed as planned, that will add 1,000+ homes in the first phase.  The development is adjacent to District 11.  The flow of traffic needs to be studied and roads widened.  Throughout the county, crumbling roads need to be maintained.  Sidewalk, bike lanes, and/or shoulders need to be added for pedestrian/bike safety.  Greenways should be expanded for recreational use.  

Diversity

I personally believe that every person should have the opportunity to live up to his or her God-given potential.  Each person just needs to be given an opportunity to level the playing field with others who do not face the same obstacles.  Our community will become stronger as it becomes more inclusive.

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© 2018 by Lesley Couch

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