So many of us in Asheville are struggling to make ends meet as the cost of living rises while unchecked tourism and for-profit development strain our natural resources, burden our infrastructure, and displace our most vulnerable neighbors. It’s a matter of priorities: if we ensure this is a great place to live and work, it will be a great place to visit too.
I’m committed to advancing: Affordability, Public Safety, and Climate & Neighborhood Resiliency which means:
- Investing in creative and cooperative solutions for deeply-affordable housing and keeping neighbors from becoming unhoused;
- Advocating with fellow transit riders and advocates for a more reliable and effective transit system at the intersection of equitable access, economic mobility, and environmental sustainability;
- Securing our food and water systems; and
- Pressing the City to regain our living wage certification so our staff that provides core services can afford to live in the communities they serve.
- Public Safety – Everyone in Asheville deserves to be safe! True safety identifies community needs and utilizes the correct tools. A narrow definition of public safety limits results and creates new problems–and it’s really expensive. Instead, we need a public safety response that works to keep everyone safe, which means:
- Implementing an Office of Community Safety and HEART Program as outlined here, deploying first responders with the right tools and training to calls for service around the opioid/overdose crisis, homelessness response, intimate partner violence, and mental health; and prioritizing living wages and safe working conditions for first responders;
- Acting on recommendations in the National Alliance to End Homelessness report to reduce homelessness by 50%;
- Advancing Complete Streets Policy so all commuters get to their destination safely;
- Tripling the Strategic Partnership Funds for youth advocacy groups because our kids matter to us and we’re invested in a hopeful future; and
- Engaging the Community Health Workers organizing to prevent gun violence and intimate partner violence, facilitating healing for residents, families and their communities.
- Climate & Neighborhood Resiliency:
- Responding appropriately to our stated Climate Emergency;
- Implementing adopted neighborhood plans; aligning Neighborhood Grants to implement our Climate Justice Initiative, including tree canopy maintenance and restoration;
- Demanding water rate parity for residents instead of the steep, bulk discounts for commercial water users the City has allowed;
- Holding the standard for renewable energy in all new residential development; and
- Following through with our commitments to Reparations.
My work with and for Asheville so far:
- Demanding action on our stated climate emergency: leading on Neighborhood Resiliency, including hiring the City’s first Urban Forester and budgeting for an Urban Forest Master Plan; adding Climate Justice to COVID-relief funding; and voting against the Open Space Amendment.
- Accountability for the tourism industry: Saving the Grey Eagle and part of the Southside from the Hotel Overlay Map; bringing the motion to Governance Committee to increase the occupancy tax percentage for local use instead of advertising and leveraging for accountability; and advocating alongside service industry workers, especially for affordable housing and transportation options.
- Prioritizing people & planet over profits: Setting and holding the standard for renewable energy in all new residential development; pressing to lead not lag on living wages; demanding water rate parity for residents while the City continues to offer steep, bulk discounts for commercial water users; voting as a member of the French Broad River MPO to fund next steps in returning passenger rail service to Asheville; leveraging a long list of community benefits to ensure a better deal at our McCormick Field baseball park; and identifying funding for Talbert lot for expanded transit, deeply-affordable housing, and $1.2-million in Reparations funding.
- Boldly advocating for human rights: As Asheville’s first-known openly queer member of City Council, I shared the work locally and statewide to advance LGBTQIA+ inclusive Non-Discrimination Ordinances that also includes protections for veteran status, pregnancy status, and natural hair; I pushed back against SB49 and the “Slate of Hate” legislation by drafting a resolution in support of our LGBTQIA+ community; as liaison to the Human Relations Commission, I supported their recommendation to protect against Source of Income/Funds discrimination that creates barriers to housing access; and I drafted the proclamation to protect access to reproductive healthcare.
- Leading courageously to diversify our public safety response which means deploying first responders with the right tools and training for the task at hand; demanding living wage policy to recruit and retain staff; convening with community members on the National Alliance to End Homelessness plan a for a humane response to the homelessness crisis; continuing the call for 24-7 bathrooms in Downtown; and asking hard questions about our budget, plans, and policy so we can ensure quality, equitable service outcomes that improve quality of life for all of us.
- Advancing an Open Meetings Policy at the Governance Committee that ended the private check-in meetings of Council; demanding accountability; and voting against the identified violation of open meetings law because the difficult conversations we need to have as a community should happen in the sunshine, not behind closed doors. I continue advocating for accessibility of public documents and engagement opportunities; removing barriers to civic participation as outlined in the openmeetingspolicy.com petition; supporting advisory boards; and amplifying community calls for an organizational equity audit.
Our greatest resource is each other, let’s work together to #BeBoutitBeingBetter.
Kim Roney walks, bikes, and rides the bus, and she currently serves on City Council in Asheville, the ancestral land of the Cherokee/Anigiduwagi. A queer, abolitionist, community organizer, small business owner, music educator, and community radio producer, she was a founding member of Friends of Community Radio where she served as Station Manager/ED of 103.3 AshevilleFM from 2012-2015. On Council, Kim serves on the Equity & Engagement, Boards & Commissions, and Policy, Finance, & Human Resources Committees, and liaisons advisory boards including the French Broad River MPO, Alcohol Beverage Control Board; Urban Forestry Commission, Transit Committee, Homelessness Initiative Advisory Committee, Neighborhood Advisory Committee, and Human Relations Commission. She enjoys music, a good story, and the process of growing, cooking, and sharing food with friends & neighbors.