CARRBORO — Randee Haven-O’Donnell feels like she knows the community.
“I taught in the school district for 19 years,” she said. “I learned this community through the children and their parents. My former students are now the parents, and I know their children.”
Haven-O’Donnell, 62, is running for re-election to one of three seats on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen. She faces two other incumbents and two newcomers.
“It gives me a vertical view of the community,” Haven-O’Donnell said of her teaching experience. “It’s a fantastic way of looking at the community. I get to see what a hometown means to an individual.”
Before winning election to the board in 2005, she served on Carrboro’s planning board for six years. She taught for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools from 1978 to 1997 before taking a job as a science teacher at Durham Academy, where she continues to work.
Haven-O’Donnell said she’s eager to finish projects she started in the past and excited to work on new ones.
“I believe the goal of an elected representative in her political work is to improve the quality of living for people,” she said.
“I seek to continue my time in office to deepen Carrboro’s vibrancy and ensure her resilience during this most challenging of state political climates and continued economic uncertainty.”
Like other candidates, Haven-O’Donnell said she wants to work on affordable housing. She favors working on a master plan that provides space for diverse affordable housing, increasing the density in some areas and having a dedicated revenue stream to support nonprofit organizations that support affordable housing.
She’d also like explore the idea of allowing auxiliary housing, such as granny flats, and encouraging the building of small homes.
“Last, but not least, I want to keep an eye on inclusionary zoning in Chapel Hill and see how that’s working and see if some type is viable for Carrboro,” she said.
Within Carrboro, there has been some disagreement whether the town should participate in the Jordan Lake Partnership to receive an allocation of water supply from the lake.
The aldermen decided they wanted to work on conserving and protecting the water supply they already have. Haven-O’Donnell said she worries the quality of water in Jordan Lake may be eroded in the future if the state legislature dismantles the Jordan Lake rules.
“I think it’s really important that we maximize water conservation and look at further programs in conservation that we can develop,” Haven-O’Donnell said.
Haven-O’Donnell sees the downtown area as a place to expand its commercial tax base.
“We’re in the position to expand our tax base within our downtown area with arts and entrepreneurial and professional services and a creative-class niche,” she said.
“Carrboro has a very bright horizon for expanding its tax base in the downtown area with the arts district in the broadest sense of the term,” she said.
Haven-O’Donnell said she’s proud of the work she’s done with El Centro Hispano and the day laborers and adding a position for a community specialist to work with those populations.
She said she’s also been a strong advocate for locating a branch of the Orange County library in Carrboro.