During her more than 12 years of public service, Melinda has seen first-hand how economic development, workforce development, education and infrastructure work together to impact quality of life. She will continue to focus on these four major issues to develop innovative solutions for the people of north Mecklenburg and all of North Carolina.
The 2008 recession showed us that the North Carolina economy needs to be diversified in order to be strong. Through her work on the Lake Norman Economic Development Board of Directors and the Centralina Economic Development District Board of Directors, Melinda has been a leader in helping north Mecklenburg develop its advanced manufacturing sector. She knows that it takes excellence in workforce development, education and infrastructure to attract new businesses and support the ones we already have.
Investing in workforce development—from high school through higher ed—is more essential than ever. As co-chair of the Lake Norman Education Collaborative (the education arm of the Lake Norman Chamber), Melinda has worked to connect businesses with public and charter schools. As a state House member she would continue the push to enable high schools, community colleges and universities to partner with business to develop state-of-the-art programs to train the next generation for the jobs of the future. It’s up to the state legislature to facilitate and fund such partnerships.
Melinda envisions the creation of top-quality technical education high schools that each offer career training for students in a specific business sector. To ensure that all students could access the program of their choice, Melinda would work to provide funding for transportation within attendance zones. That could include creative solutions such as allowing more funding flexibility on the local level, or setting aside a small, set percentage of education lottery money for school transportation, for example.
Businesses don’t want to locate, and people don’t want to live, in places with congested, unsafe roads and bridges. Melinda would work to reform the state’s antiquated transportation funding mechanism, which relies too heavily on the unpredictable, inequitable gas tax. As part of funding reform, Melinda would also look for ways to get more infrastructure projects done faster.