Name: Pablo Carvajal
What office are you running for? Charlotte City Council at-large
Political Experience: - I am a first-time candidate - Campaigned for Jon Huntsman Presidential Campaign in 2012. - Campaigned for Vince Coakley's Congressional Campaign in 2014. - Vice President of the Senior Class at Queens University of Charlotte. - President of Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society.
Work Experience: - Duke Energy 2010-Present: Bi-lingual Specialist, Mid-West Operations Specialist, and Business & Industry Specialist. - US Army, 338th Psychological Operations Company 2005-Present: Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Operations NCO - Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization 2012: Assistant to the Legal Counsel, Office of the Legal Counsel. - City of Charlotte, Mayor's Office 2009: Charlotte International Cabinet (CIC) Intern
1) Why are you running for office?
I am running because I am driven by a strong sense of pride in my country and my city, which results in commitment to give back and to ensure that others have equal or greater opportunities that I have experienced. I have a strong respect for the viewpoints and perspectives of individuals that are different from my own. Learning about and understanding these differences, tests my ideas through their lenses in order to come up with better solutions for Charlotte. I've embarked on a campaign which I truly believe is for "putting people first". In order to put people first, it is important to focus on results-driven solutions, I am committed to working alongside my fellow council members and to contribute to the conversation in order to achieve the best answers for the City.
2) What would be your top priorities if elected?
- Bring Leadership to the table: Charlotte needs a new set of leaders that have the foresight to see beyond the needs of today, who can make wise but bold decisions in the face of adversity or otherwise. We need to elect a person with a proven record of service, who has the drive to step up and make a real difference. - Renew Trust: Bridge the gap between the citizens and our elected officials. The work of government should be done openly, such that its citizens are aware and up to date on actions its Council is considering. I will bridge this gap through hosting town-halls, maintaining a constant flow of communication through my website, newsletters and using social media to connect with Charlotteans and identify their concerns. - Provide a voice for those in our community who are neglected: Charlotte is changing, many come here to find opportunities. To expand opportunities, I will support provisions and programs that produce quality results in our communities and seek to uplift people. - Make City Council work and be effective: As a Council our goal is to come up with the best for Charlotte, we can achieve that by working alongside each other, making sure that we make objective decisions and by fostering a collaborative spirit that works for the common good. - Practice and uphold the principles of fiscal responsibility, self-determination and free enterprise to secure the liberty of all people.
3) Would you support the city's proposed expansion of its non-discrimination ordinance to include the LGBT community, including a provision that would allow transgender residents to use the bathroom of their choice?
I would have voted yes. In good faith I could not vote yes to an ordinance that could potentially be harmful to any citizen’s privacy and that could cause harmful impacts to local businesses. Transgender individuals, however deserve the right to choose the gender they align with and use the gender designated locker room, restroom, shower, and changing facility accordingly. Prior to this issue being considered, it should have been more thoroughly investigated. One of my goals though as a City Council member is to put forth a motion to form a panel to investigate the possible implications of this ordinance. As issues like these are brought into the table, it is important to ensure transparency and that the public is informed prior to decisions being made.
4) Do you support the N.C. DOT's plans to add express toll lanes to Interstate 485 in south Charlotte and U.S. 74? Or would you prefer to widen the highways with general-purpose free lanes?
I oppose the I-77 toll lane project, particularly with regards to the noncompete clause, as well as the state's plan for toll lanes on I-485 and U.S. 74. I think these would disproportionately affect our locals and prove to be burdensome financially and traffic-wise for our citizens.
5) Would you support spending hospitality tax dollars to renovate or rebuild the county owned Memorial Stadium in hopes of the city winning a Major League Soccer franchise?
I support continued renovations and maintenance for the purposes that the Memorial Stadium is currently being used. I would not, however, like to see us spend any City revenues on the "hopes" of winning a franchise.
6) Would you support an increase in the general sales tax to support more transit projects, such as additional miles of streetcar and a commuter train to Lake Norman?
I would work to establish a framework for future growth by building consensus around the best current and future transportation solutions. If supported by research and education, advocate to increase public perception and awareness that mass transit, i.e. expansion of the Light Rail, commuter trains, is the best alternative to address current and future transportation needs. With this type of comprehensive view in mind, we can then move forward with finding the best funding options based on priorities. I do not think the expansion of the street-car is a sound economic investment, and would be opposed to expansion until further review.
7) There has been a significant amount of redevelopment in neighbors close to uptown, with older, sometimes historic buildings being demolished for new apartments. Would you support more restrictions on tear-downs?
I would be opposed to any restrictions that might hinder private property owners, without a comprehensive analysis on short-term and long-term impacts.
8) A goal of the city is to increase affordable housing. In some instances, however, the City Council is asked to approve rezoning requests for low-income apartments, even when an area plan says single-family homes should be built on a site. Should the council follow the area plan recommendations or approve multi-family projects to increase affordability?
There is a need to disperse affordable housing across the City but in doing so we should also consider placing them near mass-transit and employment centers.
9) Should the city change its guidelines for offering Business Investment Grants for companies considering expanding or relocating to Charlotte?
We need to be competitive as a city but we must also be cautious about investments grants, ensuring that the benefits accrue to all of Charlotte and that sufficient contractual provisions are included to ensure that the companies fulfill their obligations. We have to make sure that we are attracting companies to our City that hire from our labor force and encourage apprenticeships, and job training.
10) What makes you the best candidate?
I am product of Charlotte, and I represent the changing diversity of the city while having a desire to represent all of Charlotte. I present a unique opportunity through my background as an immigrant, as a member of the Armed Forces and as a citizen with the desire to be part of the conversation, bringing fresh ideas, energy and new leadership.
11) What else should voters know about you?
I moved to Charlotte in 1997 with my mother and siblings. This country and this city represent so much opportunity for many people. My family and I were no exception to that. I am very proud to be an American citizen and a Charlottean. - I graduated from Harding University High School here in Charlotte. - I received the Presidential Scholarship from Queens University of Charlotte and graduated with Bachelor's; while a student, I served as president or an executive member of various volunteer, social, and honor organizations. Commitment to leadership and service are important personal ideals. In order to contribute to society in a meaningful way, serving my country was the best way to fulfill this vow to my community, I joined the Army during my first semester at Queens. My deployment to the Middle East in 2012 and 2013, resulted in and created respect for myself as a veteran, sharing the sacrifice and dedication with those who fought and currently fight to preserve our freedoms. This November marks ten years of commitment made to serve and protect the country that welcomed my family and I with open arms. Serving in the Army has been an absolute honor; it has been challenging but a rewarding experience. The desire and now this opportunity to serve this great city and its citizens on City Council honors me.