Barbara Foushee was sworn in to the Carrboro Board of Aldermen on Dec. 5. She was the only new member to be elected this past November. Staff writer Claire Willmschen spoke with Foushee about her past professional experiences and her goals for her upcoming term.
The Daily Tar Heel: Can you tell me about your past experience?
Barbara Foushee: Currently, I serve on the OWASA Board of Directors. I was appointed by the Orange County Commissioners in 2015. I also serve on the Town of Carrboro’s Human Services Advisory Board. I am a Blue Ribbon Mentor. I am a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. I serve as the undergraduate adviser to the Zeta chapter at UNC-Chapel Hill. And I’m also in my third term as the branch secretary for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP.
DTH: So tell me about how you feel this experience makes you qualified for this position?
BF: The board work with OWASA especially is important because we do some things that are similar to what the Board of Aldermen does. The board for OWASA oversees the policies, the budget and other things of that nature. That board will be the one that will be helping me the most.
DTH: What would you say are your greatest strengths?
BF: I’m very organized and I’m very meticulous. I’m an analytical thinker and a lot of that comes from my job. I’ve worked in clinical laboratories, research laboratories my entire career. I’m currently employed as a senior technologist at Lab Corps. I guess you could call me a lab rat, because that’s what I’ve been doing my entire career. I’m also very connected in the community, because of all the different organizations that I work with. I think probably the biggest strength that I have is being connected.
DTH: What are your main goals for Carrboro?
BF: So realize I am one of six votes, but my goals remain the same from when I was campaigning. I campaigned on a platform of affordable housing, economic growth and development and promoting and advocating for justice. A lot of the conversation that I heard during the course of my campaign revolved around the community not being affordable for some folks. Not having enough affordable housing impacts our community, it impacts who we see, it impacts who we don’t see and ultimately it would impact the diversity in the community as folks leave because they can’t afford it. It’s important to me to keep those issues on the forefront and continue to talk about them and continue to be an advocate for the entire community as it relates to those issues.
DTH: What do you think it’ll be like being the only new member on the Board of Aldermen?
BF: You know, I know everybody, and I’ve known everybody on the board for some years. I have had interactions with them and worked with them on some things, like I said I served on one of the town boards. I think, for me, it’ll be a steep learning curve because for everything I do know, there’s probably just as many things that I don’t know.
DTH: What is your biggest worry going forward?
BF: I don’t think I’m really worried per se — I do have concern, I mean affordable housing is a big concern of mine. I’m concerned about being able to find the money and the means to get the type of project that I’d like to see here in Carrboro. As things start to happen at the federal and state level and money dries up or we don’t get as much money as we usually would through grants or other avenues, folks will start to look for local government and we only have so much money to go around for different things. We have the essential services like police, fire, trash — certain things just have to go on on a daily basis in order for the community to be sustainable.
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