Name: Carol Jackson
Party: Nonpartisan
Office: Charleston City Council, District 12

Jackson

1. Why are you running?

I come from a line of dedicated citizens who poured themselves out for their professions of farming, journalism, teaching and small business.  I learned that “all government is local”.  In my career I had always worked with local officials to attain the goals I believed in for our community.  This is the time for me to give back as one who is a two-way communicator and strong voice, representing my District, my Island and my City.  I am honored to currently serve the citizens of District 12.  I do the homework that’s critical to the decisions required of City Council.  

2. What do you expect to accomplish if elected?

I want to bring to fruition the “protect and preserve” goals I’ve been working toward that must be responsive to regional growth, combined with climate change impact conditions we are experiencing on many levels.  In 2017, it was clear that earlier suburban growth patterns were no longer sustainable nor universally desirable.  I want to keep working to make our city livable for the long term through zoning, watershed management, creeks clean up, and better travel and complete streets options.  I enjoy supporting and advising neighborhoods to gain their due as citizens, especially in the face of development or failing infrastructure.

3. What distinguishes your candidacy?

Being from “off”, when I first encountered Charleston as operations director for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, I challenged myself to become a student of the city and its lowcountry region.  That love of learning my city has never waned.  In retirement, I make the time to participate, observe and study the issues and processes and people we authorize to assist the City with taxpayers resources and state law as our guide.  I give my time willingly to develop the relationships and knowledge base I believe elected officials must dedicate ourselves to accomplish ahead of each decision we make.

4. Describe how the impact of climate change in the Charleston area would affect your work if elected.

Funding is still a major hurdle.  More cities are competing for finite funds from State and Federal sources.  Collectively, we must obtain an increase in those critically needed levels of government funding. I am encouraged by how cohesive efforts are setting a foundation for engineering and environmental technologies that will be easier to implement because we now have cross-sectional collaborations between jurisdictions and expert institutions.  I initiated the James Island Creek Water Quality Task Force as a proactive group of stakeholders responsible and interested to control the toxicity in our tidal waterways.  I want to continue those cooperative ventures.

5. Pick an issue you believe has not been adequately addressed by local government. Describe solutions you will pursue if elected.

The City’s ability to control or initiate a broader-based economy. City must balance the tourism economic engine to be only one leg of a solid four-legged economy big table. We’re working on it in pieces, but we need to sponsor an intentional enterprise to lead and direct an action plan. 

6. Pick one urgent issue currently facing the office you are seeking (different from questions 4 and 5) and describe how you would address it. 

We can do better in response to the City Comp Plan that will be adopted this Fall by Council as the guide to zoning that is sensitive to elevations, watersheds and creeks and all the topographical/hydrological land attributes of any one property.  I will be proposing that we follow the advice of the Land and Water Analysis included in the City Plan—low or no density in risky elevation zones, incentivizing development where it is safe and more available to public transit options. 

7. Do you pledge to work with other council members to move forward collaboratively and to reduce partisanized bickering? How will you accomplish this?

Yes, I’ve been chagrined at some of our Council exchanges in public meetings this last two years. We have had polarizing decisions to make, but that must not be a reason to live our civility and respect for others, especially colleagues. I can only control my own words and actions. I do believe I speak with respect, even as I may disagree with a set of comments or reasonings for why members are voting as they are on any one vote. One observation: City Council rarely uses Executive Sessions — we speak our minds in the public realm, so the candor of my colleagues may be less filtered.

8. Please give a 150-word summary of your background.

My family tree history in the United States begins with Great Plains pioneers. My dad was a civil rights era public educator/administrator. I followed his lead and have worked my career in the non-profit community development arena, managing people, projects and stuff for good purpose, as my Resume states.

I’ve had a knowledge and interest on all things land use and real estate, especially as I directed non-profit housing organizations. Council Committees give me the chance to invest my expertise: Real Estate, Traffic and Transportation, and I chair the Human Resources Committee which gives me a seat on the Ad Hoc Annual Budget Committee to recommend the City’s budget each year to the full Council. I am privileged to be the Council liaison member to the City’s Commission on Women. I represent the City to the ReThink Folly Road Steering Committee and helped to form the JI Creek Stakeholders Task Force.