James Bradford for Rolesville Mayor
I am a transplant to Rolesville after spending more than 40 years of my life living in metro Washington, DC. However, my value system is rooted in my southern values of being friendly and helpful, as I was born and raised in Tennessee.
After high school, I attended college on a vocal music scholarship majoring in math with an emphasis on engineering. From college, I joined the Air Force where I was a cryptographic specialist (I encrypted and decrypted classified messages). Most of my military career was spent in the Strategic Air Command (SAC) and the first word of that command exemplifies my future approach to problem solving, strategic.
My last assignment in the Air Force took me to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland outside Washington, DC. While stationed at Andrews, I studied computer programming and eventually took a part-time job working as a programmer. I adapted to the nuances of programming well and ultimately decided to take a full-time job and leave the Air Force.
I quickly advanced from the role of programmer to analyst which proved to be my forte because I enjoyed gathering information about how things were done and developing an approach to make things work better. Ultimately, I landed roles as Project and Program manager of projects for various federal government agencies. My focus was principally on analysis and design. I embraced the role of going into an environment and learning the roles of everyone involved in a system. In fact, I learned the system front to back and knew more about how it worked than the employees. Using that knowledge, I was able to design a system that was more efficient but was strategically able to adjust to changing influences such as agency or congressional rules.
My career was mostly about software analysis, design, and development but when I announced my intent to retire, I was offered an opportunity to get involved with the development of a cloud environment at the General Services Administration (GSA). I pointed out to my boss that I had no background in hardware, servers, and the other aspects of infrastructure. My boss pointed out to me that what I brought to the table was the ability to manage resources (people and money) and projects. He felt that the rest could be taught and besides, I would have the staff of people with those relevant skills. The thought did intrigue me, so I moved over to the infrastructure side and helped GSA in designing and developing a cloud environment using Amazon Web Services (AWS).
I did this for two years and thoroughly enjoyed the experience but the call to have the freedom to jump on my motorcycle and travel the country proved stronger than the desire to continue working.
So, I searched for a suitable location for my retirement which ultimately led me to Rolesville where I got to meet some extraordinary people. In the meantime, I involved myself in various community activities including working on the town’s Economic Development committee. While doing so, my instinct of analyzing conditions helped me to see that there might be a more efficient way to bring this historic town forward. I evaluated the growth, listened to many people, and realized that my strategic skills could be used to help the town migrate through the complexities of smart growth.
As a member of the community, I believe we should have a choice in who our elected officials are, I believe in a Citizen Engagement Model, and I believe communities should be Actionably working toward designing and building Age-Friendly environments. Below I break those beliefs down:
CHOICE – One candidate is not a choice. Citizens should be given options of who their elected officials are. Without choice, elected officials are forced upon voters. With choice, citizens get a voice.
THE CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT MODEL – This model involves speaking and listening to citizens.
It is an ongoing process where town leadership identifies a challenge that impacts the town
Deliberates with the community
Town leaders and citizens should act, generating stronger results while creating trust (this approach eliminates the possibility that some action is taken within the town that has no citizen involvement)
Impact is shown with real results and both citizens and town leaders can celebrate success which theoretically fuels further citizen engagement
ACTIVELY WORKING TOWARD BUILDING COMMUNITIES FOR ALL AGES – From AARP, “A truly livable community has a range of housing options, at various price points, from apartments to single-family dwellings. A truly livable community allows different types of housing arrangements, including cohousing, home-sharing and accessory dwelling units (e.g., in-law suites, backyard bungalows). A truly livable community has services that help people live independently and care for their homes. A truly livable community should and can be a lifelong home.” Going from place to place without a car is possible when housing, work and transportation needs are planned and placed together.
Community leaders and citizens work together to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the age-friendliness of the community
Develop a 3-year community-wide action plan based on the assessment findings
Implement the Plan
Use identified indicators to monitor progress against the Plan
Analyze, Adapt, Update, Repeat
Throughout my adult working life, I have always taken a strategic approach to problem solving. That approach includes listening and engaging stakeholders, preparing a set of requirements, testing the requirements, developing the system in manageable stages, testing each stage against the previous stage, then implementing. This approach works irrespective of what the problem may be. It helps ensure minimal mistakes and includes the flexibility to make adjustments without negatively impacting the long term plans.