“I want Alamance County to be the place where young people will want to settle, have successful careers, and raise their families!” —Bob Byrd
Bob’s 3-Point Platform
Bob helped lead the county’s first strategic planning initiative since 2003. That plan forms the basis of Bob’s 3-point platform:
Supporting public education is the cornerstone of Bob’s platform. He has been an outspoken advocate and champion for our schools, and as commissioner he cast his votes accordingly. It is the main reason he first ran for office in 2014.
Bob believes our school system needs:
- Great teachers
- Strong teacher supports, including professional development so they can harness the best teaching methods
- Excellent facilities for every child
An excellent school system will provide the foundation required for a strong and prosperous Alamance County. “All our children deserve the best opportunities to succeed,” he says. “When our kids succeed, we all succeed.”
Bob served as a liaison to the Board of Education and was a founding member of the Alamance Achieves Steering Committee to engage the community for public education.
He also was part of the ABSS Vision Plan Committee in 2013 that developed “A Vision For Public Education in Alamance County,” which can be seen here.
Highlights of the Vision include:
- “We envision a public school system that is a national model for its curriculum and community engagement …”
- “We will be recognized as a preferred place to live, raise families and build businesses, specifically because of the quality of our public education system.”
- “Our students will be well-prepared to live, work, lead and govern in our local, national and global communities …”
- “Our school system will be preferred by high quality teachers as a result of our respect for and trust in them, our community and professional support, and competitive compensation.”
- “Our schools and related facilities will be safe and well-maintained …”
The vision was adopted by the Alamance County Board of Education and endorsed by the Alamance County Board of Commissioners, the Alamance County Chamber of Commerce, and many other community organizations.
Bob says achieving the Vision takes a concerted effort by all elected officials, parents, school employees, and the community. He points out that Alamance County, through tax dollars, provides a significant amount of the school system’s budget, including the funds for facilities and teacher pay supplements.
He firmly believes that Alamance County can provide the Alamance Burlington School System the local funding it needs to achieve the vision, while keeping local tax rates reasonable and comparable to similar North Carolina counties.
“How many people, professionals and non-professionals alike, choose not to live here, even though they may work here, because they perceive the school systems in neighboring communities to be better for their children?” Bob asks. The answer, he believes, is a lot. The economic impact of those situations is significant.
“When someone chooses not to live here, they end up paying property taxes somewhere else,” Bob says. “They spend their shopping and dining dollars somewhere else. They are not supporting our local businesses and sales tax revenue goes to another community. We also lose potential role models and talent that would otherwise be engaged in our churches, our schools, and elsewhere in our community.”
Bob will keep the Vision for Public Education before the Commissioners when making funding decisions. He also pledges to continue working to improve collaboration, communication and understanding between the Board of Education and the Board of Commissioners.
“We all need to work together for the desired end-result,” Bob says. “Together, we can make Alamance County a more prosperous community through a stronger public education system.”
Bob will continue to work hard to earn the trust and confidence of our citizens by being open minded, honest, transparent, and collaborative. “That’s how I’ve lived my life, and that’s how I served in my first term as a commissioner,” says Bob.
Being fiscally responsible is key. “Our task is to balance the budget and keep the tax burden reasonable while providing needed resources to move forward,” he says. “We must invest wisely in our future.”
Throughout Bob’s tenure at ARMC, the hospital maintained a fiscally sound financial position with an operating budget twice that of Alamance County’s.
“I know the importance of sound fiscal management and operating within a budget,” Bob says. “I also know that successful growth does not happen without wise investments and good planning.”
Bob wants to make sure that the county’s skilled and loyal staff are doing their jobs professionally and are supported accordingly. He knows that a motivated and engaged staff is the most efficient and effective way to carry out important work.
“At ARMC, we worked hard to create a work environment that attracted and retained the best staff,” Bob says. ARMC received several awards for being a great place to work. “Our local government should be no different,” Bob says.
During his first term as a commissioner, the County made some progress in creating that desired work environment, but there is much work yet to be done.
An important function of county government is to ensure public health and safety. Bob’s distinguished career in health care and his work as a commissioner makes him especially suited to support public health and safety initiatives. As a commissioner, he served on Alamance County’s Board of Health, the board of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare (the mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse authority that covers a 20-county area, including Alamance), and the NC Local Health Department Accreditation Board (for accrediting local health departments across the state).
Bob also chaired the county’s Justice Advisory Council, which oversees the Family Justice Center, focusing on domestic violence, and the Stepping Up Initiative, a national program to reduce the number of persons with mental illness in county detention centers. He was also engaged in finding solutions to the county’s opioid crisis.
Bob is committed to good government.
Bob was active with the NC Association of County Commissioners as a member of the board of directors and leading the Health and Human Services Committee. “Serving with the commissioners association gave me valuable insights on how to govern better,” says Bob. “The challenges we have in Alamance County are not unique. It was great to work closely with other commissioners in solving common problems.”
Bob is also recognized as a “Practitioner” commissioner by the Local Elected Leaders Academy, a program of the UNC School of Government, the NC Association of County Commissioners, and the NC League of Municipalities.
Bob is a supporter of economic incentives to attract and retain high paying jobs. He also knows the value of growing the county’s tax base to keep tax rates in check. “If we want Alamance County to be the place where our young people will want to settle, have successful careers, and raise their families, then we need to invest in our community accordingly,” Bob says.
Attracting and supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses is also important to Bob. “We must find ways for our county to work together with our municipalities, the Chamber, Alamance Community College, and other economic development groups to create incubator spaces and resources that will help grow this important sector of our economy,” Bob says.
Bob knows we must balance industrial growth with protecting our natural and agricultural resources. “Our county is rich with parks, trails, waterways, and farmland that help define who we are,” says Bob. “We need to make sure future generations can enjoy these resources.”
Bob understands the importance of our local farmers to our economy. They’re also essential to our community’s sustainability. Locally produced fruits, vegetables and meats improve everyone’s health.
As commissioner, he was active in the Voluntary Agriculture District Board meetings and voted to provide county funds for the Farm Preservation Program. “Our society is losing farmland at an alarming rate,” says Bob. “Once it is gone, it is gone forever.”
Bob also was active in the formation of the Alamance Food Collaborative, which is part of Healthy Alamance, which Bob co-founded. The Collaborative helps connect local farmers to local consumers, supporting the Alamance County food system “From Farm to Table.”