Morrisville Election

Candidate Questionnaire: Donna Fender

Morrisville, NC –This is an installment in our Candidate 2019 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 Donna Fender, running for Morrisville Town Council in District 2.

Why are you running?

I am running, because I love Morrisville. My son and I have lived here seven years, and I love Morrisville’s small-town feel, its excellent location, and its parks and greenways that connect our community. Yet, Morrisville is at a crossroads, and the decisions we make today will impact the town for years to come. I want to ensure that the town’s development does not destroy the very qualities that make Morrisville a beautiful place to live.

What are your top three priorities and how will you accomplish them?

First, Morrisville’s greenways and parks are one of our greatest assets. Yet, our greenspace is in danger of being lost to development. We must continue investing in parks and greenways providing opportunities for nature walks, running, and biking. I support modifying to the Unified Development Ordinance to require more setbacks and developments to retain a larger percentage of trees. I will invest in our parks and greenways to further connect our community, and I support funding the Crabtree Creek Nature Park project.

Second, Morrisville is infamous for its traffic congestion, and I know the frustration of being stuck in traffic while taking my son to school and being late to work. Therefore, we must aggressively push forward road widening projects while also looking at public transportation options, adding bike lanes, and connecting our sidewalks. I support widening Hwy 54/Chapel Hill Road and the extension of Airport Blvd.

Lastly, as a mom, I know the importance of having good schools within a short bus ride away. Our town has recently made positive strides in this area, yet we still do not have a middle school or high school within the town limits. I will work with the Wake County School Board to advocate for additional schools in Morrisville as our town continues to grow. I will work with town staff to allocate land where a possible school can be located.

Give us a brief bio and tell us about your relevant experience

I grew up in Virginia and in the foothills of North Carolina where I spent much of my time outdoors. Growing up in a lower middle-class family, the importance of a college education was drilled into me by my parents from an early age. I was the first in my family to graduate from college and obtained a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology graduating with highest honors. I obtained Pell Grants, scholarships, and student loans and participated in Tech’s cooperative program to pay for my college education.

I now have 25 years of experience as an engineer and a project manager solving problems and collaborating with teams. This is the type of real-world experience that is needed on the town council. As a project manager, I estimate costs, manage budgets and project schedules, allocate resources, develop plans, and monitor progress. This gives me the knowledge and the experience to ask the right questions of town staff, consultants and engineers, and construction contractors.

When I’m not working, I am outdoors: hiking, kayaking, or gardening. I believe the natural environment is our greatest asset and as such, we have a responsibility to treat it with respect and preserve its resources.

Website: www.donnafender.com

Facebook: Donna Fender 4 Morrisville


Read more in the Candidate 2019 series.

2 replies
  1. Lindsey Chester
    Lindsey Chester says:

    I applaud the issues that you stand for Donna and look forward to hearing from you at a candidate forum soon. But I have one comment regarding schools in Morrisville. With limited land, it is very unlikely that a High School or Middle School will ever be physically located inside the Morrisville town limits. Towns are not allowed to dictate where schools go or when they are built. That is not only a Wake County Board of Ed decision, but the funds come from the County Commissioners. A typical high school requires 100 acres to include sports fields (and eventually trailer or modular unit locations) plus the needed parking and carpool lanes for all the cars of the students and parents. At this time, I do not believe there is enough open land anywhere within Morrisville to accommodate that need. Developers have bought most of the land for offices and shopping centers, or housing. And our state statutes prevent them from setting aside land for schools- you can ask Cary Town Council how that went when they required Carpenter Park to set land aside for Carpenter Elementary… (the town got sued)
    If a private school wishes to set up shop, they may not have the same requirements.
    With 2 high schools serving the town, the needs of residents have been more than adequately met as Panther Creek and Green Hope continue to be the highest-rated high schools not only in our county but for the entire state. While neither is called “Morrisville” (they aren’t called “Cary” either) both are an easy drive for most Morrisville residents.

    Reply
    • Gabe Talton
      Gabe Talton says:

      I was thinking the same thing. There is simply not enough vacant land left in Morrisville to build a middle or high school. But I understand that people from up north who had township based school systems don’t understand why there is no ‘Morrisville’ school.

      Reply

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