By Mickayla McCann
Jim Crawford is running for reelection to the Chatham County Board of Commissioners in order to help Chatham realize its fullest potential.
“I’d say that I am a pragmatic progressive who thinks that America’s liberal tradition accounts for the values, productivity, equality before the law, and collective determination that makes our republic the envy of the world,” Crawford told Indy Week.
Crawford’s upbringing shaped his Democratic beliefs, as well as his education-centered platform. He grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, where his father worked as a farmer and factory worker. When Crawford was just 15, his father passed away after a heart attack, leaving Crawford and his siblings to rely on government services to survive. Propelled by a will to understand government and the democratic institutions that support it, Crawford became the first member of his family to attend college, eventually graduating from the Pennsylvania State University. Later, he put himself through graduate school at UNC-Chapel Hill by working as a carpenter in Chatham County.
Crawford taught history at Elon College, UNC-Greensboro and North Carolina A&T. He also volunteered with the Chatham Council on Aging and served on the Chatham County Recreation Advisory Committee and the Planning Board. He recently launched a new business, Chatham Cider Works, located in Pittsboro.
Elected to the Chatham County Board of Commissioners in 2014, he chaired the Board until December 2017. Under his leadership, the Board approved county-wide zoning and created a Comprehensive Land Use Plan to ensure managed growth for the benefit of all Chatham residents. Crawford has also supported a moratorium on fracking to protect the natural beauty and quality of life in Chatham County. A champion of affordable housing, he built an affordable housing trust fund into the 2019 county budget.
Crawford also helped secure options on mega-sites in Moncure and Siler City to promote jobs, and created other strategic initiatives for economic development. He led the effort to establish Chatham Promise, which guarantees two years of free tuition at Central Carolina Community College for Chatham high school graduates. A proponent of public education, he believes in cooperating with the school board and investing in public schools and community colleges.
If re-elected as Commissioner, he intends to focus on smart growth, environmental protections, affordable housing, jobs, and building community.
“I am proud of my service on behalf of the people of Chatham County,” Crawford said. “I want to extend my record into another term. Much remains to be done with regard to job training, affordable housing, smart growth, and improved public schools. Chatham is the hottest county in the state, and I look forward to helping it realize its fullest potential.”
For more information on Jim Crawford’s campaign, check out his website at https://www.crawford4chatham.com.
Maureen Ahmad, Introduction of Commissioner Crawford, Chatham Cider Works, June 10, 2018.