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  • Writer's pictureTopsail Times

Candidate Questionnaire: Joshua Patti For Holly Ridge Council

1. What are your greatest strengths and skill set that will make you a good elected official?

As an educator, I have acquired skills that I believe would translate well into being an effective elected official. First, communication is paramount in both education and public service. I possess strong interpersonal and public speaking abilities, which are crucial for articulating ideas, listening to constituents, and fostering open dialogue. Additionally, my experience in education has equipped me with exceptional problem-solving skills. This allows me to analyze complex issues, consider diverse perspectives, and develop pragmatic solutions. Patience and adaptability, essential qualities in teaching, have taught me how to navigate challenges with a level-headed approach and adjust strategies as needed. Furthermore, I have a deep commitment to community engagement and fostering inclusivity, which are vital for representing the diverse needs and voices of our community members effectively. Finally, my background in education has instilled a passion for lifelong learning and a genuine desire to contribute to the betterment of my community. These strengths and skills collectively position me to be a dedicated, empathetic, and effective elected official.

Simply, I love Holly Ridge. I am vested in its success as I plan to raise my family here and hope to encourage my children to remain part of this ever-growing community for years to come.

2. Is there a particular issue that motivated you to run for office?

Initially, my desire to run comes from a longstanding wanting to be part of local government. Throughout my life I’ve acquired an interest in government and giving back to the community. With the support of my family, running for office became a reality. Upon the onset of my campaign, I made it my mission to learn as much as I possibly can about Holly Ridge. One issue that stands out and has motivated me further is improving emergency services. When I met with Chief Brandon Longo of HR Fire and Rescue, we discussed possible improvements and areas of concern.

We agreed that improving emergency services in Holly Ridge is a critical concern that directly impacts the safety and well-being of its residents. Timely and efficient emergency response is paramount in saving lives during crises, such as natural disasters, medical emergencies, or accidents. Adequate funding and resources must be allocated to ensure that first responders are wellequipped and trained to handle various situations. Enhancing communication systems is imperative for swift coordination of crucial information during emergencies. This includes modernizing technology and establishing communication networks that can withstand challenging conditions. Moreover, accessibility to emergency services, particularly in remote or underserved areas, needs to be addressed to ensure that every resident has equal access to life-saving assistance. Talking to residents it pains me to hear that ambulance response times can be up to and over an hour. Finally, community education and preparedness initiatives play a vital role in empowering residents to respond effectively in emergency situations, creating a more resilient and selfsufficient community overall. This is why, even before the election takes place, I’ve invited Chief Longo to give a presentation to the members of my neighborhood. His acceptance of this invitation shows a willingness to get to know and inform the community of emergency services and make them stakeholders in suggesting possible improvements.

By prioritizing and continually improving emergency services, Holly Ridge can significantly enhance its ability to protect and support its residents during times of crisis.

3. Do you currently or have you ever held an elected office before, and if so, what office?

No, I have not currently or have ever held an elected office before. However, I have a lot of experience working with elected officials, from school board officials, municipal governments, and state representatives.

4. As an elected official you will have to make decisions regarding zoning. What, if any, is your experience with zoning and how will it benefit the voters if you are elected?

My experience with zoning began in college. I took various courses that dealt with appropriate land use, zoning regulations, and community planning. I gained a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies involved in land-use planning, zoning regulations, and the approval process for development projects. As an educator I had the opportunity to be part of a school district planning advisory committee that made recommendations for land use and renovations within the spectrum of our district. This allowed me to approach zoning decisions with a communitycentric perspective, having been directly involved in discussions and decisions related to local development and land use for schools. I had the opportunity to work with other community members, officials, and experts, gaining valuable collaborative skills. Many of the discussions revolved around the implementation of zoning codes, ordinances, and regulatory frameworks, as the recommendations made needed to fit within the prescribed law.

5. Traffic is a major issue, especially during the tourist season. One concern is the lack of sidewalks and dedicated bike paths. Do you agree this is a concern and if so, what would you like to see changed or added regarding sidewalks and bike paths?

I agree wholeheartedly that traffic is a concern in the Greater Topsail Area. This issue exists because proper planning for roads has not kept up with the rapid growth of the various communities in the area. Sidewalks are crucial to making sure community members have safe access to businesses, government services, and residences around town. I am happy to hear from Town Manager, Heather Reynolds, that the push to create a true downtown in Holly Ridge is in the planning process. If elected, I will make sure the new plan focuses on walking access to town. Building sidewalks around town will not only bring people to surrounding businesses, but it will create a more sense of community. Additionally, the planned Holly Ridge to Surf City walk/bike trail is a great start solving the walkability issue of the area. Imagine, being able to enjoy the beautiful landscape in our area, like Morris Landing, and walking/biking to Surf City. What an experience that would be and it will be in our own backyard.

6. Our area is unique in the fact that we are comprised of several small towns and two counties. Do you feel it is important to work alongside the neighboring towns/counties and are there any specific issues you want addressed or feel needs more work?

It's important for us to work closely with the nearby towns and counties because our area is made up of a bunch of small towns and two counties. When we team up, we can use our resources wisely and make sure everyone gets the services they need. We can also find opportunities to help our local businesses and plan out our neighborhoods in a way that makes sense for everyone. Taking care of our environment, staying safe, and having good roads and public transportation are things we can do better together. Plus, when we all work together, we can build a stronger, more connected community where everyone feels like they belong. If there are specific things we need to focus on, like affordable housing or protecting nature, we'll talk to our neighboring communities and figure it out together. Our goal is to make sure our area is a great place for everyone to live and grow.

7. Hurricanes are a way of life in coastal areas. 1) Do you feel your town is properly prepared to handle a major storm? 2) What improvements, if any, would you like to see take place, regarding communication, shelters, or staff?

Hurricanes are indeed a significant aspect of life in Holly Ridge, and ensuring preparedness is crucial. Regarding the first question, I believe our town has made commendable efforts in preparing for major storms. However, continuous assessment and improvement are essential in the face of evolving challenges. In terms of communication, I would like to see enhanced systems in place, including multiple channels for disseminating critical information to residents. This could involve utilizing social media, text alerts, and community notifications to reach a broader audience. Regarding shelters, it would be beneficial to invest in facilities that are not only robust in terms of safety but also adequately staffed and equipped to accommodate a larger number of residents. In my meeting with Chief Sorg of HRPD, he expressed the need for an emergency response headquarters. I would support this need if elected. Additionally, training and resources for emergency response staff should be consistently updated to ensure a prompt and effective response in the event of a major storm. These improvements are vital to enhancing our town's resilience and safeguarding the well-being of our residents during hurricane events.

8. If elected and a proposal was created regarding term limits, would you support it?

If elected, I would carefully consider any proposal regarding term limits and assess it based on its potential impact on the effectiveness of governance and representation. I would consider various perspectives and consult with constituents to make an informed decision that best serves the interests of the community. It's important to approach such matters thoughtfully and with an open mind, weighing the benefits and potential drawbacks of implementing term limits. For example, with larger municipalities where the potential candidate pool is higher, term limits may allow fresh perspectives to enter the council. In Holly Ridge, where the potential candidate pool is smaller, term limits may make it harder to find future people to run. It is a unique proposal which would need to be vetted properly.

9. As time is always precious, do you agree that as an elected official, it is your responsibility to learn about the topics to be discussed ahead of time to help expedite discussions and decisions during the meetings?

Absolutely, I wholeheartedly agree that as an elected official, it is my paramount responsibility to be wellprepared and knowledgeable about the topics to be discussed ahead of meetings. Time is indeed a precious resource, and by thoroughly understanding the issues at hand in advance, I can contribute to more efficient and productive discussions. This not only helps expedite decision-making but also ensures that every decision is made with a clear understanding of its potential impact on our community. It's a fundamental part of being accountable and effective in representing the interests of the Holly Ridge constituents I serve.

10. If your community has paid parking: What issues do you have regarding the current program and would you work to change or alter the existing program in your community?


11. Tell me something about yourself that may be of interest to the community.

My wife Nicole and I have seven beautiful kids whom we homeschool. As teachers we thought we were up for the challenge, but realized we had a lot to learn. Through the process I learned how to adapt to the needs of each kid. Almost looking at each situation uniquely. I also learned how to take on multiple tasks at once. This is invaluable to making sure the job gets done. One of the most important lessons I learned while homeschooling my children is listening and collaboration. I found myself listening to my kids more and seeing what questions and issues they had, instead of dictating what I thought they needed. At the same time, I collaborated with my wife Nicole to craft a school day that was informative but fun.

When I started this campaign, I soon realized what I’ve learned by homeschooling my kids are skills I can use to be an effective government representative of Holly Ridge. You see, each problem or issue we have in Holly Ridge is unique and warrants special attention. Much like homeschool, there are a multitude of topics I will be dealing with if elected, and I am confident I can multitask effectively through them all. I intend to listen to the people of Holly Ridge and allow them to guide my decisions while collaborating with fellow elected officials, government staff, and townspeople.

My experience with my kids taught me a valuable lesson. Learning never stops and there is always something new to learn in order to make the best decisions possible.


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