Hendersonville City Council
What are your views about land conservation and growth in this area?
Jennifer Hensley: I am an active member of the County Parks and Rec Board. I have participated in several trail projects and value our land and conserving it. I also understand growth is inevitable. I hope to be a good steward of our protected land and encourage more to be moved into protection. I also understand industry creates jobs and more affordable housing for communities. A balance is necessary for healthy communities.
Lyndsey Simpson: Hendersonville is a wonderful place to live and we are seeing more & more growth in our area. In order to ensure that we retain our small town charm and the natural environment that attracted us to the area, it will be ever important that we keep land conservation in the forefront of our minds when preparing for future growth. This means, being conscious of every detail involved in developments that want to come into Hendersonville - we cannot just develop for development’s sake. As more people move into our area, we will certainly need housing & other opportunities for them, but that doesn't mean that it has to come solely at the expense of our local wildlife and green spaces.
We need to be more selective about the type of development that happens in our area and we need to make sure that the developments we are approving are not setting dangerous zoning standards that will threaten the sustainability of our city. By working closely with developers, local environmental organizations and local officials, we can grow a community that will not only accommodate our expanding population, but one that will remain a lush, natural landscape.
The agricultural and support sectors of Henderson County rely heavily on immigrant and seasonal workers, do you believe that your role would include consideration of this issue? Why? How?
Jennifer Hensley: As a City Council prospect, and a compassionate resident of a community that relies heavily on immigrant and seasonal workers, I must say, We are blessed to have such hard working, honest people living and supporting our community. While the City Councils’ legislative ability falls short on this topic, I also feel as a strong female leader of this community, leading by example is a very effective tool in influencing others. I hope to be given this wonderful opportunity to lead our community with respect and compassion for all our residents.
Lyndsey Simpson: As a member of City Council, we represent all that live in our community - this includes immigrants and seasonal workers. I see community as family and believe it is important that we are all there for one another. This means advocating and working for all residents. For many of us, we will never know what immigrants and seasonal workers go through and we will not know the hardships that are plaguing a significant percentage of residents in our community. With that being said, I am dedicated to educating myself about issues affecting immigrants and seasonal workers because I want to work effectively for everyone who lives in our small town. I am committed to working hard to make sure all of us feel respected and supported. We need to do more to make life here better for all of us - because, above all, we’re in this together.
What are your three top priorities, if elected?
Jennifer Hensley: I aim to explore options to diversify the city’s income revenue. I will to be a good steward of tax money, ask appropriate questions, and be responsible with tax payers money. Infrastructure is a very important issue. Anyone driving through town on a daily basis sees the needs for our roads and sidewalks to see maintenance. Traffic on the roads, and safe driving surfaces also impede our ability to grow, and be desirable for industry which creates jobs and more affordable housing options. Water and sewer are the veins and arteries of our city and we must maintain clean water, and our stormwater systems to prevent flooding and property damage. I will continue supporting our public safety, we have the kindest most amazing firefighters, ems, and law enforcement in Hendersonville and they need adequate resources to provide the high quality of life saving services to keep us safe. I also plan to take my experience from serving on Henderson County Parks and Recreation Board and the Greenway Expansion Committee to continue advocating for greenways. I believe creating health lifestyle opportunities, tourism, and alternative forms of transportation are valuable for both income and growth. I will also work to build bridges with our county’s elected officials, as we are much stronger and better working together for the better of our community.
Lyndsey Simpson: As a candidate for Hendersonville City Council, I want to: 1) Preserve our small-town feel while preparing for growth; 2) Move Hendersonville toward sustainability; and 3) Strengthen our economy & bolster local businesses through workforce housing.
As well all know Hendersonville is growing because it is such an amazing place to live. Through thoughtful & proactive planning, we can ensure that we preserve our small town charm while being able to expand to accommodate our newest residents. That is why I am committed to establishing & maintaining good relationships with our county & state officials, so that we can work together on solutions that will be the best for our community.
As we evolve, it will be important that the decisions we make will move Hendersonville toward sustainability. We could do this by placing solar panels on city buildings, switching city vehicles to hybrid or fully electric and making sure that we are replacing bulbs & appliances throughout the city to be high efficiency. Not only will investing in these solutions be the right thing to do for the environment, but it will save the city money in the long run.
Lastly, I believe that workforce housing is an important building block to a strong economy. Not only will it help bolster local businesses by providing additional patronage, but it will assist business owners in being able to find adequate staffing. Whether you live in workforce housing or not, our lack of affordable rentals and properties for sale is going to have a ripple effect throughout our community.
Is housing in your town/city adequate for all economic groups? How will you ensure enough affordable housing?
Jennifer Hensley: Affordable housing has been an issue here since I moved here in 2003. As a matter of fact, I lived with family for several years, and then rented with roommates until I had saved enough money for a meager down payment. I remember friends from Ohio telling me I should find a small little bungalow like what they bought for $75,000. I laughed at them, and explained that was NOT a possibility. I hope to continue advocating through my role as a member of the Partnership for Economic Development for newer industries coming here to help subsidize employees living, garner developments to set aside workforce housing, and advocate with our State for down payment assistance programs.
Lyndsey Simpson: Workforce housing is the foundation of a strong economy and community, and currently, we have a significant shortage in our area. There is a 0% vacancy rate on affordable rentals and approximately only a two month supply of houses under $300,000. Meaning, if no additional houses were listed for sale at that price point, we would sell out of them in two months. A majority of jobs in our area are service industry, healthcare or public safety related and currently, there is just not a sufficient amount of affordable housing for those residents. This lack of housing options is causing some of our local businesses and agencies to have trouble finding sufficient staffing. And, it isn’t just limited to those that work in those industries - whether you are on a fixed income or not - the lack of workforce housing effects all of us. Most of us live in this area because of the great lifestyle Hendersonville provides and we cannot sustain that lifestyle if we do not have residents working in the restaurants, hotels, shops, hospitals, schools, public safety sectors and so on.
In order to ensure we have enough workforce housing, we need to be more particular about the types of developments that come into our area. The current Council did a wonderful job working with the developer of the Grey Hosiery Mill to make sure they included some affordable rentals. However, those are just a drop in the bucket. By being more selective with new development, working closely with the developers and hearing from our community, we can ensure that Hendersonville continues to be a great place to live for every one, no matter what stage of life they are in.
What is the role of the town/city in the climate crisis? If any steps or actions are necessary, what are they?
Jennifer Hensley: I served on the Environmental Sustainability Board for the City of Hendersonville and will continue to support their efforts in sustainability and reducing waste. I am also a very active and engaged supporter of Greenways. I served our Greenway Expansion Committee, where we worked very hard to have the Greenway Expansion Plan adopted by our county commissioners. They are excellent ways of protecting trees, streams, waterways, reducing carbon footprint from cars, and traffic on the roads.
Lyndsey Simpson: One of my priorities on City Council would be to move our city further toward sustainability and make sure that we are doing our part to help combat climate change in our area. Specific efforts we could take include: expanding our recycling & composting efforts, adding solar panels to city buildings & structures, using high efficiency appliances & lighting where applicable, switching city vehicles to be hybrid or fully electric, adding bike lanes, expanding public transportation options, increasing the city’s walkability and encouraging green space be included in new developments.
Each action individually may not seem like a lot, but every small step we take to increase our sustainability efforts will make an impact. I would love to see Hendersonville be an example for other municipalities in our area and beyond when it comes to environmental efforts and sustainable planning.
Please add any comments you wish, to a maximum of 250 words.
Jennifer Hensley: When I moved here 16 years ago upon graduating from college, I had over $200,000 in student loans, lived in my aunt's basement, started my business during the day, and waited tables at night. Over the years, I have been able to build a business, hire employees, give to my community, and start a family. I am proud of my commitment to this community and I LOVE raising a family here. I also have aging family members in this community that I am committed to protecting as well. I know my experience in life has taught me many things. I have grown enormously and have also been humbled by my struggles.
I will represent this community with compassion and understanding. I will lead with a great business sense, and thoughtful approach.
Please allow me to earn your support on November 5th!!!
Lyndsey Simpson: I love Hendersonville and I want nothing more than for our community to succeed. While I wasn’t fortunate enough to be born here, I got here as soon as I could and my family & I are so thankful to call Hendersonville home. I am committed to our residents and will be here to listen to their joys and concerns no matter what. I’m not afraid to have tough conversations and believe that we are all in this together to make Hendersonville a wonderful place to live for everyone. I believe each resident deserves to feel respected and supported by our community. I want to help achieve that by providing a voice for those who feel unrepresented and by bringing balance with a fresh perspective to our City Council. If anyone has any questions, I am always available to chat via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 828-513-8667. Residents can alsostay up-to-date with the campaign on the Facebook page @Simpson4HVLCouncil. I look forward to seeing everyone at the polls on November 5th!
(The Progressive Alliance of Henderson County's individual members have their own opinions and positions on many varied, important issues. We respect and appreciate fact-based opinions and encourage open-minded critical analysis. As an entity, we endorse no specific political candidates.)