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NAME: Holly Smith Mount
CANDIDATE FOR: Huntington City Council District 6 (The largest geographic council district in the city. It includes portions of the Southside and South Hills area above Ritter Park, Enslow Park, several streets off of Washington Boulevard, sections of Walnut Hills and Beverly Hills, Stamford Park and streets off of Norway Avenue to the city's eastern boundary.)
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Facebook: Elect Holly Smith Mount - Huntington City Council, District 6
HOME CITY: Huntington
HOME COUNTY: Cabell
EDUCATION: Bachelors of Science in Nursing, Masters of Science in Nursing Informatics; Registered Nurse
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Registered Nurse
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Board of Directors - Ronald McDonald House Charities of Huntington; President - Southeast Hills Neighborhood Association; Board of Directors - Neighborhood Institute of Huntington; Board of Directors & Co-Founder - Play it Forward, Inc.
FAMILY: Husband, Jeremy and two children, Caroline and Leo.
PERSONAL STATEMENT: I am a mother of two young children, and my husband and I are both Registered Nurses. We also have a few rescue pups we love to spoil. My interest in city council began as I worked within our Neighborhood Association. What has stood out after connecting with my neighbors is how much we actually have in common. In spite of our differences, we all seem to want the same thing - to live and raise our families in a community that is safe and thriving. My priorities in this journey are simple: Family, Safety, and Progress.
1. What are your suggestions for the long-term financing of Huntington's government?
A month ago my answer would have been different, but in light of the COVID-19 crisis, our focus needs to be on sustaining what we can now and then rebuilding everything we can after. Supporting our families and commerce at a local level should be top priority by providing safety and support in any way possible.
2. What are the most important problems in your district (or city for mayor and at-large council candidates)?
In district 6, our most important priorities are safety and infrastructure.
3. Should the city bring back a curbside recycling program? If so, should it be funded with a levy vote or by expanding the county's program?
Yes, we need curbside recycling. It is 2020; this should be an uninterrupted service provided to our citizens, and it should be funded in the way that is most fiscally responsible.
4. What more needs to be done to encourage new housing construction in the city?
Continue to removed dilapidated houses and focus attention on the development process to make it efficient. We also need efforts to bring in the population to necessitate new housing.
5. How would you continue to fight the opioid epidemic? Do you support the harm reduction program?
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We need intervention for Adverse Childhood Events as well as comprehensive addiction services. I 100% support Harm Reduction. This is a public health issue. As an RN and advocate of science, the data is indisputable. COVID-19 is shining a bright light on the effects of infectious diseases; prevention is key.
6. What more could be done to help tear down dilapidated houses?
Continue to hold accountable the owners of these blighted properties; ensure the process leading to demolishment is efficient. We also need to ramp up code enforcement efforts in any way we can.
7. How will you address Huntington’s dwindling population?
We need jobs and a safe, family-centered environment to attract young people and families to move here and stay here. This is why I have chosen my platform of Family, Safety, and Progress.
8. How will you continue to encourage the decrease in crime throughout the city?
I would provide the support and advocacy for funding/resources as needed. As a nurse, I am a firm believer in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as a basic framework for addressing human behavior and underlying issues.
9. Do you think staffing levels for the city’s police and fire departments are adequate, too low or too high? If you think changes are needed, how would you accomplish those?
Our local police and fire departments do a stellar job; I look to them as experts and the leadership within those departments as far as what they need to get to, or maintain, safe and appropriate levels for our community.
10. The state of WV government recently put all finances and purchases online for the public’s review. Do you support a similar thing happening in Huntington?
I am a huge fan of transparency, but with any information there needs to be supporting data and specific explanations to ensure accurate interpretation and understanding.
NEW GENERAL ELECTION QUESTIONS
11. How would you address the problem of loose trash and litter in your district?
It’s a community effort. If you see trash or drop trash, pick it up. If you know it’s going to be a windy evening, hold off on pulling your trash to the curb. I also enjoyed a local “virtual” trash clean up recently held by the FCWA and would love to see more community-based efforts like that.
12. Do you support rehabilitation housing in your district? Why or why not?
Anyone in need of, and ready for, treatment deserves that opportunity. If the housing is done appropriately, then perhaps, but there needs to be adequate and thorough transparency, regulation, monitoring, and support.
13. What more could be done to encourage businesses to open in the city?
We need to start thinking in progressive and creative ways. We have the perfect size city for new ideas and a community that is willing to support ingenuity; we are drawn to the new and interesting. We also need to incentivize these businesses and make it easier for them to succeed.
14. What more could be done to promote an inclusive environment as part of the city’s “Open to All” campaign?
I think we are on an amazing path for this and would like to see it continue to thrive. Promoting inclusive events, businesses, etc. is key. We also need to work toward cultivating a zero tolerance atmosphere for hate of any kind toward each other.