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TONI STEWART: Cumberland County Board of Commissioners candidate

'We need people at the table who are able to effectively communicate the cares and concerns of our citizens'


Office sought: Cumberland County Commissioners, District 2

Party affiliation: Democrat

Previous office held: Cumberland County Commissioner

Lives: Hope Mills

Age: 52

Works: True Vine Ministries - Special Project Manager

What’s your motivation for seeking office? My motivation has always been my belief that 1. we need people at the table who also have their boots on the ground 2. We need people at the table who are able to effectively communicate the cares and concerns of our citizens and 3. We need people at the table that are not removed from the issues that plague the everyday citizen. I’m also motivated by my obligation to serve.

What uniquely qualifies you to serve? I have worked relentlessly for our underserved community before being elected into office. Serving for many years as Executive Director of a women’s shelter, a Guardian Ad Litem for children in foster care and attending for the care of an aging parent gives me a different perspective to add to a health and human services board. During my first term as a commissioner, I have served as Vice Chairwoman twice and Chairwoman once. I also served as the Vice Chairwoman of the Department of Social Services and currently the Chairwoman. I’ve serviced as Vice Chair of the Fayetteville Cumberland County (exceeded word count).

Fill in the blank: The top three issues in my municipality/district are ____, ____ and ____; and I would promote positive change by _____. The top three issues in my district are contaminated water, homelessness and affordable housing; and I would promote positive change by continuing to advocate for clean water in the Gray’s Creek area and beyond with PWC and others to do what we can to bring clean water to these areas. Our unsheltered community continue to be plague with mental health concerns, lack of beds, and accessibility to resources needed to change their living environment. Effective change in our unsheltered community can only take place when we begin the address the cause of the individual’s circumstance. We undoubtedly need to do more financially regarding mental health, creating additional beds and other services that are essential to change the living environment for the unsheltered. I have been a leading advocate for the county’s shelter that will parter with FTC and CFV that will assist in this endeavor. Affordable housing is crucial for our unsheltered as well as those that are a part of the working poor community and for every other person in between. There have been funds set aside in both the city and the county, now we need to move forward and build truly affordable homes.

What new policies or practices would you bring to your municipality/district that do not already exist? Transportation has been an issue in our county for sometimes. I would really like to see county wide transportation, especially in the Hope Mills area. As with any change, collaboration is key and possible.

For more: 910-476-4444