Name as it appears on the ballot: Tom Stevens
Campaign website: www.TomStevensForMayor.com
Occupation & employer: Self-employed as a consultant, founder of Think Leadership Ideas, www.ThinkLeadershipIdeas.com
1. What do you believe are the most important issues facing Hillsborough? If elected, what are your top priorities in addressing those issues?
Our authentic small town character is our most valuable asset. Our number 1 issue continues to be addressing how we grow and thrive as a vibrant community while preserving what is enduring about our town.
In the next five years we will see a big increase in development activity (although much of it will be on projects that have been approved in the last five years, but have been delayed due to the economy). Managing the impact on the town's resources and character is a priority.
2. If you are not currently serving on the Town Commission, what will you bring to the body that it now lacks? If you are an incumbent, what perspective have you brought that the town still needs?
Vocationally I am a professional facilitator and leadership development expert (formerly a clinical social worker and family service executive). I have experience in the non-profit sector, academia, and in private business as well as serving as a public official. In the eight years I have served as Mayor I've used this varied experience and expertise to foster an atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration both within town government and across diverse constituencies. I have championed our strategy map/scorecard process that helps ensure the town is operating efficiently and effectively.
3. In the last four years, what do you feel are the three best accomplishments of Hillsborough town government, and why? Conversely, what are three things you would have done differently?
Our best accomplishments in recent years - the Nash Street Sidewalk; Gold Park (Riverwalk); taking care of infrastructure such as the new wastewater treatment plant and putting our roads on a 15 year replacement schedule, etc.; building a culture of innovation within town staff; community involvement in crafting our new Unified Development Ordinances (UDO); and the community outreach of our police department.
When I look back, I always wish I could have spent more time visiting and staying in touch with folks in their respective Hillsborough neighborhoods, and I would still like to see us improve how we use the internet and technology to communicate, engage, and serve our community.
4. Indy Week's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?
I'm just one of many folks who every day work cultivate a great community that provides opportunity for all, and that serves as an example to inspire others. I hope that helps you guys out.
5. How do you define yourself politically (i.e. conservative, moderate, liberal, third party, hybrid, etc.) and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
I consider myself a practical progressive. I genuinely appreciate conservative and other perspectives. I try to be patient with everyone, but I get really annoyed with ideologues of any persuasion, left, right, or otherwise. If there's anyplace to keep partisan politics out of decision making, it's local government - and I'm pleased that our board (and citizens) do a good job of making decisions based on factual information and considering what is best for our community.
6. Town commissioners continue to pursue completion of the Riverwalk greenway. Do you agree with this and what is your long-term vision for greenspace in Hillsborough?
Riverwalk is perhaps the most significant addition that will define our town in our lifetime. We are fortunate to have acquired a connected greenspace that traverses the entire river, made available to the public by both public and private efforts.
7. With so much development in the town's future, what is your vision for Hillsborough? How do you balance the town's small-town, local charm with the push for growth?
Volumes could be written on this question - I believe the key is in maintaining connectivity, a sense of place, and attention to how new development is woven into the fabric of what is already enduring about our town.
8. Following the approval of a half-cent transit tax last year, regional officials continue to pursue an expanded public transportation network. Do you support this? If so, what are your goals for regional public transit and how can they be accomplished?
Yes - because public transportation is one way to help mitigate the traffic problems inherent in our existing road structure (alas, the town was laid out 250 years ago and not designed for automobiles). We need to cultivate multi-modal transportation alternatives available and attractive for everyone (not just those who can't afford to drive). It will be a significant financial challenge, but I believe it will be beneficial to find a way to expand the circulator route so it becomes a practical way for anyone to get around town.
9. What is there in your record as a public official or other experience that demonstrates your ability to be effective on the Town Board? This might include career or community service; but please be specific about its relevance to this office.
I like to think I have a credible record of public service as Mayor, but I'm under no illusion that the success of Hillsborough comes from the contributions of many, many people. It is a pleasure and honor to represent the town.