Democratic Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston, who was first elected to the Board of Commissioners in 1992, will seek another term as a commissioner.
Alston, a five-time chairman of the board who held that position four years straight from 2008 to 2012, didn’t seek reelection to the board in 2012 – however, he got the District 8 seat back in April 2017 when the local Democratic party named him to fill the unexpired term of former Commissioner Ray Trapp, who stepped down to take a job at North Carolina A&T State University.
Alston said on Monday, June 24, that two priorities over the next four years will be advancing this area’s economic development and providing “incentives that bring jobs that pay a livable wage.”
Alston said he also wants to help bring the salaries of all Guilford County employees up to a livable wage, help African-American contractors, firms and suppliers get more county business, help approve and pass a school bond referendum and work to reduce recidivism in the county’s two jails.
Alston said he told friends of his decision to run again this weekend at a birthday celebration.
The Board of Commissioners, which is now run by a majority of five Republicans, is a lot different than the Democratic majority board that Alston sat on for much of his career. Despite being in the minority over the last two years, Alston has fought for more county business for black-owned firms as well as for programs such as Cure Violence – a program is meant to reduce violence in cities.
Though many of his initiatives haven’t been implemented by the Republican-run, board, Alston has often been a very vocal advocate for the causes he believes in, and at times he’s gotten some of what he wanted – like a new county director position aimed at hiring minority and women owned firms, as well as, in the 2019-2020 budget just adopted, a new employee for that department.
In 2002, Alston became the first African American to serve as Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners.
In an email, Alston stated his reasons for running again.
“I want to use my 22 years of experience to continue to bring a strong and effective voice for the citizens in District 8,” he wrote. “All politics is local and I want to make sure the citizens in District 8 and throughout Guilford County have a safety net should the Federal and State governments refuse to fund essential services for the most vulnerable and needy in our community, such as cuts in Public Health Services, Social Services, Public Safety and Education.”
Alston added, “Guilford County is a great County, but we can do better than we have been doing in the past few years. Starting in 2020, we have to be leaders and not followers behind Charlotte, Raleigh and Durham. If I am re-elected to serve another four years as a Guilford County Commissioner, I promise to help lead this County to higher levels of accomplishments.”