NCMMC: What is your philosophy or experience that drives your interest in local government issues? Is your interest just in Asheville or in local governments all over?
TM: My interest is solely focused on good government, whether it’s at the local level or the state level or at the federal level. Good government really comes in one flavor for me, and that’s what’s in the fairest outcomes for all of our taxpayers.
NCMMC: So even though you’ve had some Asheville-focused bills, overall you want…
TM: I was born and raised in Asheville, so you know, my experience with local government is Asheville, and when I see local governments not representing what’s in the best interest of all the folks, that’s where I like to involve myself.
NCMMC: You’ve been really busy so far with local government bills, especially around Asheville, are there any other issues you want to tackle next session?
TM: Well if you look at — I guess if you look at my history, only a very small part of it is local. It just so happens that the local things — the folks who don’t like them are rather loud and noisy bunch, but they’re not significant in regards to numbers of people. It’s just a small group of people, and sadly, I would say that a majority of it is predominately political, because there is really no standard of reason to their objections, because the facts outweigh their arguments, and it just really seems to be, you know, petty politics than it does actually what’s in the best interest of the folks.
NCMMC: How do you want the major cities to support you and reach out to you and engage with you on issues that you have?
TM: Well, I think just call me first. You know there’s a lot of comments out there about me, but there’s been very few inquiries that have come from our mayors. Just because I disagree with my mayor on certain issues that seem to be substantive to our area doesn’t mean that I’m a disagreeable person. I’m a very fair person. I’m very open minded, very interested in learning more about every aspect of a particular issues, because I don’t think I have all the answers, but I feel very clear, very convinced in some of the things that I’ve done that I’m on the right side of the policy and the people opposing me are not, and I feel very comfortable with those outcomes.
NCMMC: And what do you think is the cause of your disagreements with the other mayors?
TM: Again, I just think it’s a — I think a lot of our mayors have lost sight of what their responsibilities are. I think a lot of our mayors quite frankly would be better off as presidents of homeowners associations than they would be mayors of our cities and towns. They have a very set a very narrow set of responsibilities in regards to what they should be doing at the local level, and when they step outside those boundaries than those of us in the General Assembly have got — we have the higher responsibility of interceding in those issues when they overstep their boundaries. Up until that point, they have a responsibility to run their cities.