Commissioner At- Large Leigh Altman

What steps will you take (or have you taken) to ensure LGBTQ+ people are included in decision-making, including on advisory boards and commissions?

We desperately need to people to step forward and offer themselves for service on our advisory boards and commissions. This is the link to apply: 

It would be wonderful of LGBTQ+ Dems can help us disseminate this link and encourage members of the LGBTQ+ community to apply! 

How would you rate the County's efforts in addressing rising cases of HIV/AIDS in Mecklenburg County? Please provide a rating of "Very Poor", "Below Average", "Average", "Above Average" or "Excellent", and why you provided this rating.
Do you support expanding the"Getting to Zero" Campaign for Mecklenburg County?

I would give Mecklenburg County a strong rating for the following reasons: 

1) We have expanded access to PrEP and do a lot of work to make sure people are retained in treatment which is a critical prevention strategy. 

2) We have robust community-based outreach, education and testing. 

3) Our investments have continued to increase over time to the PreP budget so people who don't have insurance can still access PrEP without finances as a barrier. 

4) We've reorganized HIV/STD program to add staffing. 

5) We have more money for PrEP than we have spent in the last two years. This means we still have capacity to support the health needs of more people.

6) We run an HIV case management program which is going well. In this program we have social workers who support people living with HIV to navigate the system. 

7) However, there continue to issues around social determinants of health that have a role to play impacting outcomes for people living with HIV, e.g. housing grants, rental assistance. In that regard, we have significant challenges which remain for us to overcome.

8) I'm glad that with the mpox outbreak, Public Health did a lot of intentional outreach and strengthened partnerships in with grassroots LGBTQ+ service organizations in Mecklenburg County to provide service to the community.

9) I support ensuring our "Getting to Zero" program has the resources it needs to work as effectively and efficiently as possible. 

What actions do you support (or have you supported) to ensure people have equitable access (including transportation and housing) to jobs that provide a living wage, including supporting minority-owned businesses? How are you addressing the Leandro ruling to ensure equitable access to education? 

High-quality, good paying jobs has been my primary focus from Day One. I believe we have a tremendous opportunity to better connect our residents who are unemployed or underemployed with the job training they need for our region's employers. I am proud that the Board agreed with my advocacy to make Workforce Development a top priority and we will be rolling our new initiatives in a few months. We should work to target these efforts in communities experiencing more barriers to economic mobility.

Regarding transportation, as Chair of the MTC, I am pushing hard to expand mass transit options. A well functioning public transit system is necessary to give equitable access to opportunity, protect our quality of life, attract new economic development, and preserve the environment.

In reference to the Leandro ruling, Mecklenburg BOCC allocates nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars to CMS. It is the single biggest line item in our budget and I'm proud of that commitment. Our public schools must also implement effective strategic plans to improve student outcomes and closely monitor progress in reducing acute academic disparities.

As a CMS parent, a product of public schools, and a lifelong Democrat, I strongly support public school funding while mindful of our obligation to balance many costly priorities we have such as affordable housing, the environment, and public health. 

What will you do (or have you done) to maintain equitable access to green spaces and parks in Mecklenburg County? What plans do you have to ensure affordable housing is accessible to Mecklenburg County residents?

The County’s Environmental Leadership Action Plan and the Meck Playbook master plan for Park and Recreation, both adopted in 2021, underscore the need to acquire land to increase access to public open space and protect natural resources. It can be found at this link:  

Meck Playbook specifically sets forth the criteria that will govern decisionmaking to ensure equity which I support:

Prior to 2018, Mecklenburg County did not actively participate in the provision of affordable housing because this was under the responsibility of the City of Charlotte, which has a Housing Trust Fund funded by taxpayer-approved bonds. However, notwithstanding the pressing financial obligations of County responsibilities, the County Commission added addressing the affordable housing crisis to its goals going forward. Since that time, the County had devoted millions of dollars to preserving naturally-occurring affordable housing, adding new units of affordable housing, and helping residents stay in their homes with need-based property tax grants and assistance with critical home repair. 

I have voted in favor of all of these programs and will continue to do so.

What actions do you
support (or have you supported) to ensure people have equitable access to jobs that provide a living wage, including supporting minority-owned businesses? How are you addressing racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities to ensure equitable outcomes for students in our public schools, including through adequate funding?

I have championed Workforce Development as a Board priority since I joined the BOCC in 2020. I believe that there is so much more we can do to prepare our residents for and connect them to the jobs of the future. This work needs to be done in recognition of acute racial and ethnic disparities in income, household wealth, and other social determinants of health with the urgency of reducing those disparities. 

Regarding education, in this past budget, I voted in favor of a $596 million operating budget for CMS. Since I joined the BOCC, I have voted in favor of increases totaling $87 million increases to CMS's baseline operating budget. In addition, I voted in favor of the landmark $2.5 billion school construction bond. 

In 2020, the County Commission declared racism a public health crisis. What steps do you support (or have you supported) to address the racial inequities that exist in Mecklenburg County? These include but are not limited to environmental racism, overpolicing, and healthcare access.

On the BOCC, we have adopted reducing racial disparities as a cross-cutting priority that governs all our work. We employ a racial justice lens to every decision and allocation of taxpayer dollars. I have voted in favor of all these initiatives and expenditures. 

There are many examples that illustrate where disparities can arise such as we saw during COVID with inequitable access to testing and the vaccine. We learned lessons around not adequately anticipating how social determinants of health would manifest in the pandemic and we acted to ensure we are working against them. 

This was done by devoting additional resources for intentional outreach in communities experiencing disproportionality, infusing extra resources in Spanish-language media and other immigrant communities, and placing more resources in parts of town and in communities where access to healthcare was less available. These are some of the many lessons we carry forward and apply to all arenas.

Note: policing is a City function and does not fall under the aegis of County. 

Any other accomplishments or priorities you'd like our Scorecard Committee to consider?

I am proud to have championed the comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance for Mecklenburg County.