Economic Opportunity

John Burns: Wake County Commissioner

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Let’s be honest. Most parts of our state and country would be happy to have the economic challenges Wake County faces. Due to decisions made by foresighted leaders decades ago, we are blessed with a diversified economy, a highly educated workforce, and a reputation as a place to grow a business and succeed. All of that must be maintained.

But we do have challenges. While Wake County gathers attention as a boom town, it also has been identified as one of the places in America where people have the most difficulty improving their economic lot. We need to put more emphasis on recruiting and retaining jobs that provide a stable middle-class salary and room for career advancement. There are too many people in Wake County who are working jobs which provide no pathway for advancement. We cannot be a world-class community if we have a few doing very well, and most struggling to keep up.

As important, we cannot let our success price people out of our community. We face real issues with affordable housing, transportation, and worker retraining. Since taking office as your County Commissioner, John has worked with municipal and business leaders to recruit businesses to the Triangle. He has met with representatives from other countries who have or are considering moving businesses to the area. And the County is developing a strategy to work with our municipalities to ensure a supply of safe and sustainable affordable housing for the teachers, police, manufacturing workers and county employees who want to live in the area they serve.

John firmly believes that one key to making our future success match our past growth is to ensure that Wake County and the Triangle embrace new technologies. Our region is among the world leaders in Cleantech – the industries that have grown up around renewable energy, battery technology and modern power grids. Thousands of our fellow citizens now have jobs in fields and for companies that did not exist even ten years ago. The future is wide open for clean jobs and John wants to make sure that more Wake County citizens can benefit from this trend. We must work with the Public Schools and the Community College system to provide people the training they will need to take advantage of these new opportunities.

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