These are just some of the issues I feel are important locally in Carteret County.
As the mother of three children that currently attend public school in Carteret County, I am dedicated to maintaining the same quality I received here, for all children in the Carteret County Public School System.
Politics do not belong in our County Schools. When the School Board opens up to Partisan elections, the door is left open for extremes on all sides of the political spectrum. Schools should be about the children that they educate, and not the political affiliation of those leading it. Education is a subject near and dear to me. I am the child of a retired educator from the Carteret School System, and spent many years volunteering in local schools. Our focus when it comes to education should be the students and staff. Safety at schools is a top priority. Many students don't feel safe until they get to school, and have a chance to eat a hot meal. We must continue this security that we give students that don't get food or feel safe at home. It's important that we invest in our children, and our educators.
I've been fortunate to live on the coast of NC my entire life. We have beauty from one end of the county to the other. On the Western part of Carteret, we have the Croatan Forest, which contains many plant species, and animals that are found only in the Croatan. Our beaches, with their light colored sands, include maritime forests, and many marine life species, such as turtles found only in our area. Our waters and lands are important to our community, in more ways than most imagine.
Carteret County must say no to offshore drilling. We live in a coastal community that relies heavily on those tides, whether you work in tourism, or you fish in those waters. It is imperative to keep these waters pristine, not only for our economy, but also for the variety of marine life that call the Atlantic home. Seismic blasting and offshore drilling are harmful to these marine animals and plants. Plastics are also quickly becoming a major issue in Carteret County. Single - use plastic shopping bags are harmful to the waters, land, and animals. Banning these items could help lower the amount of plastics found in our Ocean.
We are currently suffering from an Opioid crisis in Carteret County. With the crack down on the Doctors and prescriptions, these addicts have now turned to heroin to fill in the gaps. This crisis has affected every citizen of Carteret, whether it be your child, spouse, neighbor or other. We all know someone who has lost a loved one to this addiction. Foster care numbers have risen due to this epidemic and families have been torn apart.
I believe that Carteret County is in desperate need of an in-County long term addiction and recovery center. Many addicts have no way to get to the closest rehabs, or the money for the services, which enables the addicts to continue their drug abuse. Carteret is also in great need of a large mental health facility. These two issues usually go hand in hand. I do not know a solution to this problem that is tearing the County apart, but I am willing to do whatever I can to help find a solution, working across agencies, law enforcement and otherwise, together.
There is a great need to strengthen our economy in Carteret County. Locally, our School System and Carteret Health Care are the top 2 employers. Out of the top 10 employers in County, are Walmart, Lowes Home and Lowes Food, Food Lion, etc. We need more long term employment with the opportunity for advancement, instead of relying on seasonal work that only pays a livable wage for a few months a year.
One of the hardest things about living in a beautiful, tourism area off the Ocean is the cost of living. According to the latest census bureau statistics, the average cost of rent in Carteret County is a whopping $847 a month. Rent this high, along with utilities, insurances, food, and all of the other things required to live in today's day and age, cannot be paid with minimum wage, or on an income based solely on the seasons. Carteret County needs reasonable housing options for those who cannot find employment that pays the state average, which is currently over $50,000 a year.