Cary, NC – This is an installment in our Candidate 2017 series, in which candidates get to respond in their own words to the same three questions.
We publish the responses in the order we receive them. This questionnaire is submitted by Ken Presting, running for running for District C on the Cary Town Council.
Why are you running?
The theme of my campaign is “It’s not about me.” I am a leader of the progressive Democrats in Cary District C who have created a new organization for community activity. We have a committee in every precinct. Our goal is to make Cary politics much less dependent on campaign finance and more responsive to individual residents. We are making it easier to vote by distributing vote-by-mail and registration forms door to door with our own neighbors. Our goal in every precinct is that “Everybody Votes”.
Many Cary residents were disappointed that Harold Weinbrecht was unable to sign the Mayor’s Climate Letter after Trump opposed the Paris climate accord. I support the Mayor’s decision to preserve the consensus-oriented operation of the town council, but my objective now is to give the whole Town of Cary a council that agrees better with Harold’s thinking. I believe that few Cary voters in District C will accept they are accurately represented by a climate denier on the Town Council.
What are your top three priorities and how will you accomplish them?
- Mixed-use, walkable, and affordable developments
Projects like the Arboretum on Harrison or North Hills in Raleigh are highly successful and represent the necessary next step in healthier development in Cary. Our dependence on cars to get anywhere not only separates us from each other, it make the whole town less attractive and less affordable. I am willing to consider using redevelopment municipal bonds to help developers with the increased capital demands of underground parking. Parcels developed along these lines can contain more leasable space, command better prices overall, and maximize the value per acre of the property.
I would also support City plans to provide infrastructure such as pedestrian over- or underpasses for ideal developments, as well as bus stops, etc. Ideal developments would provide essential services within walkable or bike-able distances, and enable a car-free or single-car family lifestyle.
- Minimum wage increase, stepped to $15/hr
Part of making housing more affordable is to make the low-wage earners of Cary richer. Job instability and schedule instability also affect the income potential of Cary residents. Municipalities across the country are taking the lead in raising the minimum wage. This makes sense because every business’ workers are another business’ customers. Higher wages mean more customers with more disposable income. Raising wages increase the cash flow of local businesses, and keeps more of Cary residents’ money here in our own town.
- A Planned Parenthood office supported by buffer ordinances
Cary has no provider for elective abortions. The closest facility is just across the border in Raleigh, but it is often subject to picketing with signs and megaphones. Of course this is inappropriate for women making a personal decision. No commercial tenant should have to put up with such an interference in the peaceful use of their lawful space. Of course the topic of abortion is controversial, so I would begin by holding discussions with relevant stakeholders and exploring creative alternatives. I myself am an adopted child yet I strongly support every woman’s right to choose. I believe Cary has a community of exceptional variety and tolerance, and can naturally take the lead in showing our nation a way out of the tensions around this issue.
Give us a brief bio and tell us about your relevant experience
I have lived in Cary since 1999, raised two boys here as a single father, and served in all the typical volunteer roles of modern parenting – soccer coach, Cub and Boy Scout leader, PTA secretary and Vice President. I was born in San Francisco, and my education is a BS in Mathematics and an MA in Philosophy. My career has been consulting as a Software engineer in many different industries from communications and finance to aircraft control and electric power distribution. I have been a volunteer with the Democratic Party since 1976 and recently I have been the lead organizer for all the precincts in Town Council District C.
Facebook: Ken Presting for Cary
Read more in the Candidate 2017 series.