District 4 Commissioner Mark Jerrell

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

As a member of the BOCC, I have been intentional about ensuring that our LGBTQ+ community are included in decision-making and has representation on advisory boards and commissions. I am also a strong advocate for measures related to diversity and inclusion, in addition to advocating for education and collaboration to ensure the issues experienced by the LGBTQ+ community are substantively addressed. I will continue to work to establish a culture of acceptance and respect (within the County) and hold organizations that want to do business with Mecklenburg County accountable to the same standard. Finally, I will continue to encourage and support policies and initiatives that address the needs of the LGBTQ+ community.

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 am very concerned about the current efforts to address the rising cases of HIV/AIDS within Mecklenburg County. To date, I would have to say that our efforts have limited effectiveness and are producing below average results. Communities of color and socio-economically disadvantaged residents have been hit the hardest and continue to bear the impact in a disproportionate way. On balance, there are multiple factors that contribute to this rating and include elements such as available resources, prevention programs, education, access to care, testing and treatment. I emphatically support the "getting to zero" initiative and believe it is imperative that we increase collaboration with community partners, marketing efforts and investments in all the areas outlined if we are going to change our current trajectory.

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? 

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?

Access to parks and green spaces play an important role in ensuring a high quality of life for all residents. For too long access has not been equitable and many communities did not enjoy the benefits that are provided from our parks and open spaces. We are all aware of not only the physical benefits but have learned that there are mental health and economic benefits that result from access to these critical areas. I am proud of the work that has been done to provide equitable access. I currently serve on the Environmental Stewardship committee and had the opportunity to provide feedback on the Environmental Leadership Action Plan (ELAP) developed by the County which focuses on our environment and includes and environmental justice component which is a critical focus for historically under-served communities. I have also supported the increase in land acquisition dollars moving from $6m/year to now $50m/year. The dollars allocated go directly to the acquisition of land for parks and open space. 

Affordable Housing has been and will continue to be a top priority for me personally. In an effort to ensure that affordable housing is accessible I support the following (but not limited to):
Leverage County owned land and funds to provide accessibility to units in high opportunity areas.
Establish partnerships with developers and non-profit organizations to increase the supply of affordable housing units.
Provide financial incentives and tax breaks for developers who include affordable housing in their projects.
Advocate for inclusionary zoning policies to require a certain percentage of new housing developments to be affordable (at the state level)
Expand opportunities for mixed-income housing developments to foster diverse and inclusive communities.
Work with local organizations to provide financial assistance and counseling to residents seeking affordable housing.
Advocate to the General Assembly to implement inclusionary zoning policies to require a certain percentage of new housing developments to be affordable.

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 a strong track record of supporting livable wages for residents and resources for minority owned businesses. Our community has a major focus on economic mobility and opportunity. One of the primary ways to ensure access to economic mobility is through access to livable wages. I am also an advocate for promoting and implementing policies that prohibit discrimination in hiring and promoting diverse candidates, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic background. I also believe that it is imperative to increase education and training opportunities by investing in programs that provide vocational training, internships, and apprenticeships, particularly in underserved communities. With respect to minority owned businesses, I am proud of the efforts that we have created to provide access to capital through our “Meck Lending” program and the efforts to provide technical training to help grow and support existing businesses through our “Get Up & Grow” program. Last year was the 1st time in the history of the County where we fully funded public education. These critical investments are needed to help address the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities experienced by marginalized communities. In addition, I am an advocate for partnering with organizations that can provide students with the necessary resources to enhance their educational experiences.

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.

I have been a vocal and passionate advocate for addressing racial inequities within Mecklenburg County. I currently sit on the Equity Investments committee, where we are focused on finding unique solutions to close the wealth and equity gap experienced by communities of color. In addition, my colleague (Laura Meier) and myself ordered a report on the history of systemic racism in Mecklenburg County, which clearly outlined the disparate impact of racist policies and practices on communities of color and Black people in Mecklenburg County. In addition, I was the sponsor for the “Racism as a Public Health Crisis” resolution. I have been a strong advocate for changes in our Minority Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) policy which is designed to provide access to opportunity to small and minority owned businesses. Finally, in my District (which lies in the crescent), we have been able to obtain unprecedented investments in much needed resources to include greenway access, park improvements, training programs, access to healthcare providers, affordable housing, education and strengthened alliances with community organizations.

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

Please see a list of some accomplishments:

Equity Investments Initiative
Championed the HOMES program - Assistance with property taxes
Supported initiative to increase funding for land acquisition ($50m)
Supported efforts to establish the small business loan fund
Supported ARPA funding for grassroots and minority organizations ($99m)
Chair of the Inter-Governmental Relations Committee
Championed program for expansion of grants to grassroots community organizations
Organized the Black Men United March for Racial & Social Justice
District Park & Rec Improvements - (Mason Wallace, Albemarle Rd, Pearl St, Grier Heights, Independence Park)
Accelerated Greenway Projects (District) - Briar Creek, McAlpine Creek
Sponsored "Racism as a Public Health Crisis" resolution
Chair of the 1st Inter-Governmental Committee meeting between the County and City
Championed joint City/County resolution on multi modal transportation
Hosted 1st East Charlotte Inter-Governmental Priority summit Hosted and facilitated seminar to address Black Men and mental health
Increased support for immigrant and refugee communities
Hosts community workshops for seniors to ensure they had visibility to available County resources
Championed efforts to ensure grassroots organizations were supported during COVID
Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Community Giveback Event