Statement From Brownie NewmanBy
I want to thank all of my friends and supporters in Asheville for the opportunity to serve on Asheville City Council for the past seven and a half years. Serving on City Council has been a great honor. I am proud of the many accomplishments we have made together as a community. Many of the members of Asheville City Council and the staff with the city are people I now count as my closest friends.
Over the past seven years, we have accomplished a great deal together. I am especially proud of our work to establish Asheville as a national leader for energy independence. Asheville’s commitment to reduce its fossil fuel emissions by 80%, including an additional 20% over just the next five years, is arguably the most ambitious plan undertaken by any city in the United States to reduce its global warming emissions. We are proving that it is possible to achieve energy independence is a cost-effective manner over a surprisingly short period of time. Asheville is setting a practical example that can be followed at all levels of government and the private sector.
I am also proud to have served on a City Council that has been both progressive and fiscally responsible. Through eight budget cycles, we have never raised our property tax rate. We have invested more than $35 million to repair our long neglected water infrastructure. We have reformed our land use policies to encourage in-fill development as an alternative to sprawl, and to encourage green building practices and the creation of attractive, affordable homes. We have adopted policies to make it clear that Asheville stands for equal rights for all our citizens and to be a welcoming, inclusive community.
Three years ago, I became a partner with FLS Energy, where I now serve as Vice-President and Project Finance Director. Since joining FLS Energy, our company has grown from 7 employees to more than 75, and we are planning for major growth over the next several years. I feel fortunate and excited to be a partner with such a dynamic, homegrown business. I believe that the development of clean, renewable energy on a large scale is the single most important calling of our time, and I want to be able to fully focus on my work with FLS Energy.
I continue to see local government as a place where people can make a real difference in their community. I look forward to working with my colleagues on Council for the remainder of 2011 and congratulate the Council members who have chosen to run for re-election, as well as the other citizens who will stand for election this fall.
I want to again thank all the people who have supported me in my work on City Council. From the people who helped knock on doors for me in my first campaign to those who have helped me learn about the many issues facing our community, I am indebted. Asheville is a unique and beautiful community. My family is grateful to call this place home. I look forward to continuing to working with my fellow citizens to help Asheville and western North Carolina realize its full potential.