NC Deep Dive

Chris Deshazor: Running for the 4 Year Seat for the Holly Springs Board of Commissioners aka Town Council

September 23, 2023 Amanda Lunn
NC Deep Dive
Chris Deshazor: Running for the 4 Year Seat for the Holly Springs Board of Commissioners aka Town Council
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

How often does one get a chance to delve into the mind of a potential future leader? We got exactly that chance when Chris Deshazor, a candidate for the four-year seat on the Holly Springs Town Council, sat down with us for a thought-provoking discussion. Chris, a devoted community member and leader at a software company, shared his perspectives on democracy, community involvement, transparent leadership, and the need for community input. He navigates us through the complex realm of affordable housing, sensible growth, and the balance between developers and the town.

Chris' professional experiences, especially his role on the Planning Board, have given him a unique perspective on these issues. Chris believes in the power of service and the importance of voting, and he emphasizes this throughout the conversation. So here's an invitation to be a part of this illuminating discussion with Chris Deshazor. You don't want to miss it!

Website | For Town Council (chris4hs.com)
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Email | Chris4HollySprings@gmail.com
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Now, let's dive in!

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Hello friends, you are listening to the Holly Springs Deep Dive Podcast, soon to be called the NC Deep Dive. I am your host, Amanda Benbow Lunn, and today I am honored to be speaking with Chris Deshazor as part of our candidate segment for the 2023 Municipal Election for Holly Springs. Chris is running for the four-year seat on the board of commissioners for Holly Springs, also known as Town Council. He will be running up against Staci Almquist, Brian Dennis, Danielle Hewetson, and Jack Turnwald. You will be eligible to vote for up to two of these candidates for this seat on your ballot for the municipal election. As with all the candidate podcasts, I am taking their introductions directly from their website as an effort to be as fair and non-biased as possible. Chris and his family moved to Holly Springs in 2007. He and his wife have raised their two boys in this beautiful town, and their sons attended Wake County Public Schools. Chris was appointed to the Holly Springs Planning Board in 2017 and served as the chair of the planning board for the past two years. In addition to the planning board, he has also been a member of the Land Use Advisory Committee, Housing Affordability Study Committee, as well as a member of the Tree Advisory Committee. Chris has coached baseball with the town's Parks and Recreation Department since 2007, as well as coached in other leagues in and around Holly Springs. Though both of his sons have graduated, he still enjoys coaching to help teach baseball, the game that he loves and played growing up in nearby Danville, Virginia. Professionally, Chris leads the talent and organizational development function for a software company. Chris is a crucial conversations and situational leadership certified trainer and will complete his MBA at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in October of 2023. Chris is in the process of building organizations and leaders. Without further ado, friends, let's dive in. All right. What does democracy mean to you?

Chris Deshazor:

Democracy right into it. Democracy for me. Amanda, first, thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here. Democracy means giving people an opportunity to have a voice. Democracy means every person has a voice, and a fair voice. What's really interesting is I think that it's funny that I'll go here with this, but Hamilton was a great, great play, and I was listening to that soundtrack the other day again, and there's a piece in there. They say you're not going to take away my shots. And democracy to me means that all people have the ability to feel free, to be able to do things within reason, like you can't go into I can't walk into the middle of a restaurant and yell fire, I get that, but giving people the opportunity to have their freedoms and to be who they want to be, and giving us a chance to just be people. I live by a thing of just humanizing people and, at the end of the day, if we learn to humanize people, I think we would, as all together could be really good. And so democracy is really about the people and giving people a chance to be who they want to be, but giving them a fair chance. Every person should have a vote. Every person should have a chance to make their statement and if your candidate wins, great if your candidate doesn't. But we also have the chance to do something, like I am doing running for office to make a change. So we should have that opportunity and I love the fact that I am able to do this. In a lot of places, people aren't able to do what I'm doing, so I am very privileged and I am honored to be able to be here and do something to run.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

How long have you lived in the area?

Chris Deshazor:

Wow, great, I've lived here for almost 17 years. So a few years ago and I say that a little tongue in cheek 16 years ago, I had an opportunity to move to North Carolina for a company that I was working with at the time, and what's really funny is my wife at the time. At the time we had a seven year old and a three year old. Well, he was really six and a half, he had just turned seven and at two and a half year old it was about to turn three. We were living in the DC area and it was 2007. And the opportunity came up to move to North Carolina. My wife found Holly Springs and she calls me one day and said I found this place where we could build a house we could get away from. We were living in the DC area and we could move away from the traffic and we came down, we looked around and we found the house that we built and we were a little nervous. This was right before the bust of 2008,. But we sold our house in Northern Virginia and we moved and both of my boys have grown up here. I was talking to my oldest the other day, who's now 23. And I said you know, would you ever move back to the DC area? He says, dad, I don't really know that area? He said I was a kid. My youngest, the only thing he knows is North Carolina. You know, he knows North Carolina. He knows Holly Springs. This is where both of my kids went to elementary, middle and high school and have graduated. My oldest graduated from UNC. My youngest is a sophomore at UNC, Charlotte right now. They are North Carolina kids and so I've been here 17 years. One of the most interesting things about me is because my kids we always wanted our kids to be active. So one of the things that I really liked when I first moved to Holly Springs. You're driving around and we found Womble Park and I'm a baseball guy, I love baseball and the first thing I saw was an adult men's league practicing at Womble Park. We got the oldest at the time enrolled in the Parks and Rec program and one of my dearest friends today she asked me. She said would you help, coach, if my husband helps you coach? And I said no, I'm not doing that, and my wife says yeah, he'll help.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

You got volunt old.

Chris Deshazor:

But you know, what's really interesting is I look back at that 2007, that little team, and since then I have coached so many kids in Holly Springs because coaching is one of the things that I love to do. I love the game. I coach baseball because, not for me, it's all about. I think we can teach kids. It's a great game. There's so many things that kids learn from the game about discipline. They learn about failure, success, how to win, how to lose, how to be a leader, how to be a follower, how to be a part of a team. There's so many things that are important. I love teaching it and so we had a successful rundown here coaching baseball and watching the kids grow and seeing some really good baseball in this area. I mean there's a lot of kids from this area that are now playing at higher levels college, couple in the pros, several in the pros that I can personally say I know these kids, I have seen them before, a couple of them that I've coached at one point in their career. They didn't get there because of me. Just let's make that clear. There's nothing about me, but it's really. It's a thing of. These are some great kids, and so we've been here along the answer 17 years. This is home. This is where we have really made our roots. I love this area. It's kind of fun. What's really interesting little fact we moved in and we decided to build a house. Coming from Northern Virginia had never we've never done that before. So the Walmart in Holly Springs was starting to be built at the same time. Guess which one was finished the first? Walmart, of course. So you know, when we first moved in, Heather would, Heather's, my wife, Heather, would get up in the mornings and go to Fuquay to shop, to get groceries to bring back home to beat the rush where now we do our shopping right here in Holly Springs. We don't have to go to Fuquay or Apex to shop. That's a beautiful thing. So we love it here. We've been here 17 years and plan on being here for a while.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Yeah, I moved to North Carolina in 2006, but not to Holly Springs until 2008. So for me, that Walmart was there. So I find it amusing when I'm talking to people like how long have you been here? Well, what was here when you came? And that tells a little bit of a story.

Chris Deshazor:

Well, what's also interesting, now that you know we've been here and these are our roots, you know we've lived here. I remember when the Target came; I'm not a shopper, you know. I mean, I'll tell you, I'm not the one that's like everyday, like I need to go and shop, but I have this thing. I like going in the Target because the people I won't say they're mean in other places, but in Target they have the Starbucks and I'm not a big coffee drinker but I think the Starbucks is a very social drink, so I'll go in, I'll grab a cup of coffee and you never know who you see. The last time I was in there I saw like five people that I hadn't seen in a while like, hey, how are you doing? It's good to catch up with people. I used to do this thing in Walmart and it's kind of funny. There's a friend of mine who's mom, who's she's now passed, but at the time she was here and she would be in Walmart. So I would see her and I would go and I would grab something from a shelf and stick it in her basket and I would walk away and then I would walk around and I'd do it again and I would see her looking like I didn't put that in my basket, but after a few times she wouldn't notice this to me. So after I've done that a couple of times, she'd always know that I was somewhere by. That's what I love about Holly Springs is, you know, we can see the people. This is a community. You see the people that you work with, you see the people that you coach with, that you live near, and we're just a little community that I like, that. I want to keep that feel about Holly Springs and I really really, really like that.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

That is really the charm of Holly Springs. I love that too. Yes, why have you decided to run for our town council?

Chris Deshazor:

That's a good one. I've been on the planning board for six years. That all started because the old town manager, who I knew through baseball, had reached out to me and said hey, there's a seat open on the planning board. Would you have you ever thought about that? And I said, Chuck, I don't know anything about the planning board. What is this? And he said the planning board makes recommendations. They review projects and they make recommendations to the town council. The planning board is the body that is citizens, but they're appointed by the town council and they make recommendations. I said that sounds pretty cool in my brain. This is our way of handling the traffic, because by then traffic was getting a little crazy. Now I'm going to backtrack a little bit. I came from Northern Virginia living right there 395, 495, right there in the Springfield mixing bowl in Northern Virginia. Anybody listening to this that's ever been there when you're taking 95 North, you'll know that's a traffic nightmare. So we moved from there here and when we first moved here people would say, oh my goodness, traffic is so bad and I look at my wife and she'd look at me and we go. They have no idea. Well, as people started growing in, this town really exploded. Traffic started getting a little tighter, so I joined the planning board, thinking ooh, I'll be able to take care of traffic. I had to learn a lot, because I did learn a lot in those six years and it really was the first two years I learned a lot about the unified development ordinance, we call it the UDO. We learned about how we plan to build, about what the developers bring to us. So, as I had been a part of this planning board I'm always one that likes to serve I thought it was a really good idea for me to run for town council to help us grow. My platform is about responsible growth. It's about engaged leadership. It's about focusing on the future and unifying this community. All of those things for me, are the things that are really important to keep that charm that I was speaking of of Holly Springs. We're a great community and we're a community that sometimes we want leaders that can listen. We want leaders that can understand what others are saying. We don't always have to agree, that's okay, but we learn from each other sitting on the planning board. I've been the chair of the planning board for the last two years and I can tell you that, probably over the last year, we've had some really tough things that have come before us and we've, as a board there are nine of us and on that board we've had some really fantastic discussions, to the point that after those discussions, after the meeting, we'll say, man, that was a good meeting and town staff is there and town staff will advise. But we're saying that was a really good meeting and we make recommendations to the town council. Now I really want to help drive some of those things that I've been recommending, and I won't say I that we have been recommending. I want to help to drive those things. We have a great town and we just need to keep driving it. Jim Collins's book Good to Great. I want to keep us from good and move us to great. That's what I want.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Awesome, let's say you win your election as a member of the town council, do you feel your job to make important decisions should be based solely on your own thoughts, your political party's thoughts or as representative as possible of every single one of your constituents and why?

Chris Deshazor:

Transparent leadership. It should be of the people. I just went out. I went out today to canvas a little bit, and this is a very diverse community. I've met people from all, from literally multiple walks of life. Today only talked to probably 20 people. Everyone's different. So I have the saying that I say frequently and throughout this campaign. People will hear me say this more and more often your view of the stage depends on your seat in the audience. Where you're sitting will change your view. Sometimes it's hard to sit in someone else's seat to understand their view, so we may have to ask them hey man, what does that look like to you? And so for me, as an elected official, I am elected to truthfully represent all people. And so, as we are elected to represent all people, we have to listen. And my wife said something the other day we were talking. She says and I love this analogy we were talking and we were talking about people disagreeing. And she said you have two feet. She said so when we agree we're together. If both of my feet agree, they're going to go at the same time. That means I'm going to hop and I may not be able to get there as fast as I want to. However, when I have my two feet that are doing two polar opposite things, they may not agree. They may go in unison. But now we can move forward. It's okay to not agree. It's okay to have differences. We try to try to understand. There have been several things that I've learned. I told you when I joined the planning board I thought that I was going to be Mr Traffic Guy. Well, I had to learn and I had to dig in and learn and I had to listen to people and listen to neighbors, listen to folks, change our views. That's how we grow. There's a really good book out there called Mindset by Dr Carol Dweck, and I'm a reader. But I'll tell you this I'm a reader professionally, I should say professionally. I lead talent development for a software company. So I train managers, I train employees, I lead people. My job is to make people do their jobs better, in a sense. But really, how do my managers lead better. Growth Mindset is one of those things that I truly live by. I was given the book about four years ago and I started the book with a lot of skepticism. Here's another one of these quack books that someone's giving me to read. Yeah, I will read it, but when I actually dug into it, growth mindset, saying it's a change, it's saying can I change, can I adjust? Is my glass half full? How do I see things? So when we talk to people, just because we don't, you know, everyone doesn't agree that's OK. When we think about things of the town, I was just driving out on 55, just coming back and I was like, oh my God, this traffic is a little crazy today. Everybody has an opinion on it, but what can we do to help everyone with that? And if I were to run right now and say I am going to fix the traffic in Holly Springs, I'd be telling a lie. But I have to listen to people, and if you listen, people will give you some really, really good ideas. So for me, as a person that's running for the town, I have to represent all people. That's why I like the fact that this is a nonpartisan election, because it should be. When we're talking about responsible growth, that's not partisan. When we're talking about unifying this community, that's not partisan. When we're talking about engaged leadership, that's not partisan. When we're talking about the future for my children and everyone's children, that's not partisan. So we have to do these things for everybody. So that's where I would go with that.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Perfect. How do you intend to gather input from the community before casting important decisions?

Chris Deshazor:

First you have to ask. If that's questions, I think that's number one. You have to have availability and flexibility to give people a chance. One of the things that I've learned with this campaign is it's hard to get information. A lot of people aren't thinking about it. We can have formats, we can have forms, we can have lots of different ways, but one of the things is just being out, being human, being real, talk to people and when you ask questions, instead of already having your mind made up, listen. So I'll give you a really good example, something I did with my campaign and it's also something that I did when I very first started with my job. I was hired as the director of talent development and they had not had my position before. I was hired to build their talent development and their organizational development division. So I had been doing a job very similar to that for the past five years. I have much experience, lots of experience. However, I did something there and my first month I told my hiring manager, I told my VP. I said I need a listening campaign. I want to listen. I'm not going to offer suggestions. I'm not going to tell people that this is what I'm going to do or this is what we should do. We're going to listen. I met every executive. I met most of our leaders. I met a lot of our frontline managers and I met a lot of our employees and I just asked questions and I still have those notes. I took a lot of notes listening. When I started this campaign, my first month of the campaign, I announced and, as you know, everybody's excited hey, Chris is running, we're excited, let's do this. Pause. My first thing that's on my Facebook. I said I'm doing a listening campaign, I'm listening to people. I want to hear what you're saying. I want to hear what's important to you. So I had my platform, but I actually tweaked my platform a little bit based on the needs of this community, because it's not about me. There were councilmen before me. There will be councilmen after me. There's mayors before me. I'm not going for mayor, that's not in my purview, but there's going to be mayors after this mayor. There's going to be people before us and after. So we have to listen and live in the now and help make decisions that are really focusing on right now and that propel us into the future. So I really think that it's important to listen. I've said this to a lot of kids when I coach little little kids in baseball hey, buddy, you've got one mouth and two ears, so you got more of which one. Let's listen. So I kind of take that to heart for myself, in which I try and listen a little bit more.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

What do you believe are Holly Springs's strengths?

Chris Deshazor:

We're cool. We're better than Apex, we're better than Fuquay. Okay, I'm just kidding. Seriously, what I think are our strengths are that we actually have a lot of really good things going on. We have some really good parks. Right now we need more, but we have some good parks. We have really a lot of people that are moving into the area we are now getting businesses in. Our tax base is now getting a little bit more aligned to where we think it should be. There are lots of places where we can go out and eat. I can live where I work, so I can work in this community now and live here. I think that those are some of the strengths, but, truthfully, the biggest strength of Holly Springs are the people. Are the folks that live here, are the folks that are walking down the streets. I tell you what I love. So spring is a lot of people's favorite time of the year, because we've been bundled up in the house all winter long and we're just not talking. We made Facebook or something, but you're not seeing anybody. But it's like that first 50 degree day and people are walking their puppies, they're talking to folks. The people are what make this town special.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

What do you feel are the town's weaknesses?

Chris Deshazor:

We need to have some affordable housing options. That's a tough conversation for a lot of people, because when you start to say affordable housing, people will say, okay, so what does affordable housing mean? So to me, affordable housing means having the ability to have housing for my first responders, my teachers, my police officers fall into that, first responders, kids that are graduating college that want to come and live in this great town and start their family and be able to. Yesterday, we were driving. We saw a new townhouse that's for sale and that townhouse was going for $400 with fees and everything, and the average approximate mortgage on that was $2,700 a month for a young family. That's a lot. So having options I think that's one of the things that we need to do is making sure that we have an option for families to be able to move in here, and that doesn't mean when we say affordable housing, that doesn't mean that we're going to have all of these houses in one spot. We need affordable housing options throughout the town so that people can build it. For a lot of folks, their house is their biggest investment. So giving them a chance to be able to get in here and give back to this community, that's I think that's for me. That's one of those things where we need to put a little focus. We did have the affordable housing study. Planning board voted seven to zero and we agreed on that affordable housing study. The town council tabled it. I thought we missed an opportunity there because the affordable housing study wasn't saying this is what affordable housing is. Well, it did say that, but it didn't say this is what we have to do. But it gave options and one of the things I actually sat on that committee very purposeful. At the time I didn't know I was running, but affordable housing is very important to me. When I sat on that committee, one of the things that I learned because I had the same question well, I don't want to offer, I don't want to raise people's taxes, I don't want to come in and say, okay, everybody needs to. If everybody comes in and pays X amount of dollars more, we can offer these affordable housing options. But what I learned during that and that was about a year that that committee ran was that there are programs out there. There are many. There are several programs. There are many different vendors and different folks that are willing to offer and help with affordable housing so that we can have these options and a lot of times when we say affordable housing options, people say, oh well, that means, like you know, multifamily units, which brings more traffic. Affordable housing actually could mean that we're all having options. What happens if a developer decides and I'll use very easy numbers developer says okay, team, we're going to build 100 homes and we are going to have a program where people have to apply and they can get these houses at X price. That's an affordable price. As a part of the agreement, they need to stay in the house for so many years I'm making this up as I go, but you know, use so many years. And how do we, how does the developer make out on that? Because the town says we'll give you an incentive that will reduce the price on a water hook up or something like that. For me, we have to think outside of the box. Affordable housing is one of the things I think we're lacking. The other thing that we need to do is we need to, we need to be able to do something to help with the actual traffic and the traffic problems here. That's a very complex issue because we're waiting on 540. It's coming. The transition period is tough. However, when Fuji and Amgen came in, there was a question that was asked on the Planning Board and I asked this question. I said will you, as a company, adjust your times that people start working so some come in at seven, eight, nine, so if everybody doesn't have to come in at eight o'clock we can stagger the times that helps. The other thing that I did ask of them I said will you offer incentives for people that will ride public transportation? Now I do think that that's something else. We could do a better job trying to entice public transportation. But if I can get a certain amount of folks that are working in some of these places to have public transportation to and from work, now that takes cars off road. Another one that we just saw on the Planning Board, a company that's building a biopharma in the middle, but on the sides they' re building residence. If those houses are affordable, where people can live now people can live where they were and they do not have to drive from everywhere else to get to work. That also takes cars off the road. It also helps with the traffic. There is not a solution that we're going to snap our fingers, but these are some grassroots things that we can do and think outside of the box and work together. That's for the betterment of all people.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Perfect, I'll go ahead and ask this question. We've answered a little bit of it, but you can expand as you'd like. Many voters seem to be unhappy with the influx of growth in the area and its ramifications, like traffic and a lack of prepared infrastructure.

Chris Deshazor:

Sensible growth, responsible growth. We have to work with the developers. So one of the things that I've learned on the Planning Board, sometimes a developer will come in and they will say, hey, we want to do this and okay, let's go, let's go. So I'll give you a really good example, every development that comes in, they have to do a traffic impact study, a TIA, so the traffic impact study is done. And when they do this traffic impact study, they do it in a mile radius, and of that mile radius, they will come back and say to us we're going to do a frontage in and a front, a right in and a right out on a frontage. I think that we, as a town, one of the things that we have to do as a town is take a macro level look at everything that's coming in and the timing, and the town does that to an extent. But I am thinking that we want to do this just a little bit better, because when we look at this from a macro level and we see how this affects everyone, we need to be able to say, ok, let's change this a little bit and change this a little bit, Because the two developers are not talking, they're just trying to do their thing and make their money, but we need to be able to have the town staff be the go between. A really good example of this is the Planning Board, couple of months back we had two projects on the same night. One project is in town and it's a mixed use development. That mixed use development is coming into town, going to be a series of condos and on the bottom there were going to be some stores and things like that. So that's on the bottom, and so they were talking about the traffic we talked about that. They actually do have a cute little dog park coming there. So I thought that was important. Just saying, well, coming right down the street, right behind Holly Springs School, which is about a half mile away from that, we have another mixed use development. I voted no on both of those on Planning Board, and I voted no for one reason and one reason only. I love both of the projects. I thought both of the projects were necessary for the town. I thought both of the projects would bring business. I thought it would bring some new housing options and a variety of housing options. But the reason that I voted no was because both of those are coming on Main Street and where they're coming on Main Street and Holly Springs. Neither of those were talking to each other. So the amount of cars that we were adding there. I voted no and in the notes from the town I said I would like for the town, council and staff to look at a way of coordinating this. If we can coordinate this and make it better, then it's a great project. Otherwise we're going to have a problem. And I said that because personally I can't get out of my neighborhood at five o'clock in the afternoon. I can't, and that's not fair to a mother or father or a parent I should say that's trying to get their child up to Womble Park to baseball practice at six o'clock. Yeah, you've got to leave at five. So let's just imagine this. Now, I've lived this one. You've been in the office all day. You get off, you get at 5:15. You left a little bit early. You get your child, you make sure they have a quick snack to get to the baseball practice. Children are always excited about baseball or soccer practice. You get them in the car, you have your other kid and you're hoping that you've got to get them to dance or something like that, and then you've got to sit in traffic. If I've got to sit in traffic for 40 minutes to go less than a mile and a half, that's a problem. It's a huge problem. The fact that we have parks and rec programs is fantastic. The fact that our kids can play right here in this town, that's fantastic. But the fact that it's taking me sometimes 30 minutes to get a mile, mile and a half, that is problematic. So responsible growth means let's say, let's have conversations before we are building these things in. Now I will say this. I don't think any other candidate will talk about this. The town actually has a really, really good process. Before a project comes in, it comes to the land use advisory committee. Land use advisory committee is made up of a Planning Board representative, Town Council representative and staff, and a developer will come in and say we're thinking about doing this and we'll give them ideas. I sat on that committee for several years. We'll give them ideas. Once that goes through and staff works with them and does all of their things, then it comes to the Planning Board. Planning Board makes their recommendations. Then, it goes to Town Council. So there is a process, and our town staff wonderful. I will tell you, they are fantastic. However, we have to just be able to tie these things together, and I think it's important that we do.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Yeah, I do think that sometimes we get stuck. I'm going to use the word narrow-minded, but not necessarily in that negative context. We just we have the tunnel vision on because we're focused on whatever is right in front of us. Sometimes we need that bigger picture, the overall everything, so that we can see how some things work together and how some things might come into conflict, that if we just make a few little tweaks, we can alleviate that conflict.

Chris Deshazor:

Agreed, agreed, and sometimes you know I mean it's really talking. It's talking, it's working, it's working together. One of the things that I really enjoy about my professional job is I get teams to work together. I have a program that I facilitate called Building Effective Teams, and how do I make sure that I accelerate them to be effective together so that they can work with other teams? And what a lot of the teams that come. They think that it means just their team working together. It's like our little team, it's my little team and we're going to work together. That's part of it. But how do you work with your counterparts? How do you work with your vendors? How do my engineers work with my sales team? And they work with the marketing team and they work with the HR team to create a fantastic product. That's the same thing that we have to do in the town, and it's not easy. I'm going to be honest with you. It's not easy, but sometimes it's a matter of saying back to what I said before, just going to listen a little bit and listen to other folks and say have we thought about this? And working together we can get there. The town is doing a good job. We're going to do a great job.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

You have mentioned some of this, but what are ways you have served the town and its people?

Chris Deshazor:

I've coached baseball, I've coached basketball. I actually coach soccer once because they didn't have a soccer coach. Now I'm going to say this one for the folks that are ever listening to this you don't want Chris Deshazor coaching your soccer team because I don't know soccer. However, I learned something that year. I learned something really, really, really important. I signed up to coach that team because we needed a coach and they weren't going to be able to have a team that year. At that time, my youngest son was like seven years old. It's a rec soccer team but I found someone in the neighborhood who was a soccer guy, who loved soccer, and Jason was the guy who helped me. And I told the parents hey, listen, I will be the guy that's sending you emails. This guy's going to coach your kids and Jason, he would come to my house and go okay, today we're going to do this and you put your foot this way. You don't have to be the actor, you don't have to be the expert, you don't have to know everything, but you have to surround yourself with people that are willing to learn and willing to teach you. That's the same thing for Town Council. So when you ask some of the things that I've done. I've coached. I've coached a lot. I've actually I've served on the Planning Board and as a part of the Planning Board, I was a member of the Land Use Advisory Committee. I've been a member of multiple committees, but the one committee that I've just been appointed to or volunteered for is the Tree Advisory Committee. So I'll be honest with the people out here. What you see is what you get, folks. I was appointed to the Tree Advisory Committee I'm not ap pointed, I volunteered, I should say, for the Tree Advisory Committee. I was thinking okay, folks, what am I going to talk about a tree? I know nothing about a tree. Councilman Hewetson is on there with me and we have. We share this view. We really truly do. We both were sitting there. We learned a lot about trees, but it's about making this town a Tree City, USA. Does everybody know that we're a Tree City? Does everybody know that now, when, when developers are developing houses not for like an Amgen, but when they're developing houses you can't just clear cut, and so now that saves our environment. Our environment is so important for us. So you can get a tree in your neighborhood if your street tree is dying. My neighbor street tree is dying and to replace that is quite expensive. But the town has a program that will help replace those street trees. People don't know those things.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

I did not know that.

Chris Deshazor:

So those are the types of things that we have to do. We have to communicate those things out to folks. So when you ask, what have I done? I've always served and you will probably hear the story at some point. For me, when I was a little boy, I grew up in Danville, Virginia. Danville is right across the border in Virginia, about an hour and a half from here. My mother never worked. My mother was always the volunteer. She did Girl Scouts, she did this, she did that. But the one of the things that I remember and she laughed at me when I was home a couple weeks back and I told her about this the Red Cross. She volunteered for the American Red Cross and on Thursdays my mom would drive the Red Cross van and they would deliver food to people in need. I remember that. I don't know why that stuck with me, but I remember being probably seven years old and I was a little kid that would take these boxes of food to these people that needed and they would aw, who is this cute kid. Yes, I think I was cute. I don't know, they would say that I was just some little kid with no hair but still don't have hair. But I would go and I would hand these boxes to people. For me, watching my mom who served her entire life, she served and so for me it's important to serve. I don't look at this as a political position. I look at this as a way of serving the community. I look at this as a way of listening to the people and doing the things that help them make their lives simple. People shouldn't have to think about Town Council every single day. You should be able to come home and say, hey, I need to go over to Tzatziki's and get something to eat and be happy with that. Or go to Target and pick up what you need, or Walmart or whatever. So for me it's about serving and I've always served. When I coached baseball, it's a friend of mine and I that started the travel team that we started here. We started the travel team with a particular goal. We wanted to prepare young men at the time because it was all boys. We wanted to prepare them to play middle and high school baseball and I remember John and I being very excited that very first team that we had and all of our boys made the middle school team. That was a big thing. All of the boys made the middle school teams, their respective middle school teams. We did it, not for us, but it was because we were helping the kids. He knew baseball really well. I think I knew baseball and the guys that I coached with all the time, we knew the games who were always giving back. Here's a really good story: A couple of years ago my neighbor he knew that I coached a little bit and I coached both of my boys and my youngest son was playing high school ball at the time and he says yeah, Deshazor, we're looking for someone to coach and I'm going to coach. Will you help me out? I was like, but Jim was like you know, I don't really know a lot, but you know played when I was a kid, I'll coach it. He says really, so I'll coach it. He said you don't have any kids, I'll coach it. Got it Called up my buddy, Dan Dan. I didn't have to get the words out of my mouth about coaching. Dan was like yep, I'm there. We coached those little boys. We had no kids on the team. My son and one of his friends that played for me, that actually graduated from Holly Springs High School this past spring, coached with us and we coached those little boys and had fun for no reason, but just we wanted to give back to the kids. We love the game. Serving is in my blood. It's what I do and honestly I've done Planning Board. I, hopefully, will be elected as a Town Council representative. I'll serve there, but I will always serve. Until the day I leave. I will always serve. That's important to me. You have to give back. I teach my sons that you have to give. You have to give more than you receive. You always just do so. That's why. That's why I serve.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Have you been a consistent voter in town elections?

Chris Deshazor:

Yeah, now, this one's important to me then. So I will tell you this one, and voting is one of the most important things for me ever. I started voting when I was 18. So I turned 18 in May. I voted that fall by absentee ballot because I was a freshman at Virginia Tech and I was two and a half hours away and I wasn't driving home. You know you can't drive home on a random Tuesday. I've always voted in every election. Now it's easier to vote because I can do the research and I tell people all the time to do your research. So there's a site online and someone posted all of the candidates voting records. Mine was the most robust. I vote in every single election Municipal, Midterm, Presidential. I always vote and I do my research. I research everything. I think it's super important, but there's a reason why. Amanda Benbow Lunn (Host): What's that? Chris Deshazor (Guest): My ancestors we're not able to vote. They had to fight to vote. My ancestor s did not have the opportunity to cast their vote and make their voices heard. So I have an obligation to those that came before me to cast my vote and to cast my vote so that those that come after me can cast their vote. Yes, it's on a Tuesday before we had early voting, I made a way to vote, and if that meant that that morning I couldn't go workout or something and I had to be up and at the poll early before I went to work always and I stressed that to my sons that is a right. That's why this country was built so that we would have that right, and so for me, voting is extremely important. People will say, oh, my vote doesn't count. You can't count what you don't cast.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

That's true.

Chris Deshazor:

And nowadays it's so easy to find information. It's just Google someone. I've learned that in this election. I've posted all kinds of stuff about me, my platform, things that are important to me, but people will talk to you. People will ask where do you stand, what do you believe? And so I believe it's important to vote. I believe it's important for every person to have the right to vote, and I believe that for me, it's one of those things that I will always say. That's another thing I will always vote. There's not a reason that I'm not going to vote. I will always vote. I look forward to it every year, actually. I think it's fun.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

With great privilege comes great responsibility, and that is one of the biggest responsibilities I feel we have as citizens in this country, because it did not just formulate by itself. Our freedoms were not just given. Chris Deshazor (Guest): That is a very true statement. Amanda Benbow Lunn (Host): We have to be assertive and make sure that we are doing our part, and Democracy is a team sport, and if we're not all playing, then we're not reaching our greatest potential.

Chris Deshazor:

You know it's something that you asked earlier. You asked about democracy. The beauty of voting is, if the person or the platform or the process that you want did not get voted for, it was voted against. We have an opportunity. We can still run. Yet I can't run for president right now, sorry, I don't have that kind of money, those kind of funds and that's not really don't want to do that. But there are a lot of things in a local election. Think about the things that the local town council handle. They handle the development in this town. They handle the budget in this town. They handle the town taxes, all of these things that directly affect your and my bottom line. And if you think about the average family, if you ran every family kind of like a business, you've got a bottom line, you've got your budget, you've got your what you can do and you can't do' s but your bottom line. There are certain things they used to say this when I was a kid there's certain things you're gonna do in life. You're gonna pay taxes and you're gonna die. They say that. So with the paying taxes the Town Council helps with. They set those groundwork of what those taxes are locally. So those are some of the things we we and when we look at the budget,

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Absolutely. So you have mentioned a little bit, but what are your areas of focus for your campaign?

Chris Deshazor:

My true area of focus is responsible growth now I say responsible growth because it's more of an umbrella and that umbrella narrows down to a couple of different things. We start talking about responsible growth, we can talk about affordable housing. When we talk about responsible growth, we can talk about a little bit of traffic. But how do we grow these developments? One of the things that want to make sure that I am clear about is I think that the current Town Council and the council before it did some really good jobs of bringing in some businesses. Mayor Sears did a good job with this, think Ma yefskie's doing a decent job with this. The mayors, the towns they are trying to bring in businesses. We need to make sure that we continue to bring in businesses that can level the tax base so that the tax burden does not fall on us as much. We'll always have to pay some taxes, but if we can have a tax base and the businesses can help with that, now we have people that can work these businesses as well as give tax revenue to the town, that helps us out, helps us out a lot. So my focus is truly responsible growth.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Okay. When making important decisions, sometimes you have to make compromises or choose the least sucky thing. In the following scenarios, which would you choose? Decreasing lot sizes of homes in order to allow a greater number of homes to be available at a lower price point. Or increasing lot sizes to decrease the number of homes

Chris Deshazor:

Ooh, tough one, but I would have to choose option a. I choose option a because we have many homes in Holly Springs right now where the average. So we had a thing with the town the other night and they said the median house price is $375. And I smiled I think it was $375 or $345 and they said, oh, but that's taken off of the tax assessment. Remember, the tax assessment was taken four years ago because we have a new tax assessment coming this year, so that number was really off. If you look at it, the average house price right now is $525. So my answer to that would be we would offer smaller lot sizes, smaller houses, which adds a little bit of density, which people want to move here. Yet what we also need to do at the same time is if we can have people that can work at some of these businesses and not have to travel at entry ways to route one and add different entry and exit exchanges on one and 540 and add other amenities such as I would love to see us have a swim bubble here. You know something like a swim bubble and things like that were people don't have to travel out so far and they can do their things right here. That's the best of both worlds for us. That's an absolute best solution for us and, at the same time, one of the things that we need to do as we are doing that. One of the things that is really cool is really great that the current UDO, Unified Development Ordinance. It requires that all houses have plugs for EV chargers. Okay, so now more people can buy electronic vehicles fantastic. However, what if we have more and better charging infrastructure throughout the town? What if we have better and more solar options throughout the town? What if some of those smaller houses are built with solar options so they're using less energy from Duke energy and more energy from natural sunlight? That's what I mean by thinking outside of the box. It's not written that we have to go this way and it's the worst of the worst. We can build this so that it is effective for all people and beneficial. We just have to, sometimes, to your words compromise, think a little bit. And again, I don't have to be the expert, because I'm not, but we can learn from the experts, the engineers and the stormwater engineers. I've learned so much about stormwater, stormwater engineers in my past few years and I was like, really, this is, and it's actually really interesting, but I'm not the expert, but I have the folks that are the experts. I will tell you this. A couple weeks back there was a lot of research going around about the town is going to run out of water. "We don't have enough water. Fortunate I am privileged enough. I would say I'm fortunate. I won't say privileged; I'm fortunate to have the relationship with the town staff that I reached out and asked a question and I met with some of the planners that explained it to me and they explained to me what we were using. So if every project that's on the books were to be completed today we're not maxing out the water consumption, we may be close. It may be a little scary but we're not. However, the town staff is already working on other options because on other options on where we can connect to for water, getting the pipes larger so that consumption can hit to eight millions of gallon of water per day, which currently today we're using two and a half. So we have that team working on that. They have a long term plan. A lot of people don't know that, we don't understand that and one of the things that I like is that the staff is willing to talk about that. A couple weeks later in the Southern Living magazine they explained some of that and for folks that read it was like okay, doesn't still mean that we can go willy nilly and just use all the water in the sun, because water is a resource. However, there is a plan. So when I answered that original question, you know what do you do. We have to have that long term plan. The other question that I would probably toss back if that was to ever come up, is how does that fit into the long term plan of Holly Springs? Holly Springs does have a long term plan. How does that fit into the long term plan and does that meet the needs? As we are expecting to hit 65,000 people by 2030, does that meet the needs of this long term plan? And so those are the questions, and that's a tough question, but it's a question that should be discussed and it's a question that it can be answered.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Okay, the next scenario would you choose having fewer amenities and knowing many constituents may not be able to participate in those amenities because there's not enough space, in order to avoid raising the town's taxes, or would you be more prone to thinking ahead and feel it might be better to raise the town's taxes to a certain point in order to be reasonably proactive with the growing population? And by amenity I do include public safety, law enforcement, fire department, along with parks and recs.

Chris Deshazor:

That's an interesting one, because the more people you bring in the tax, they will pay taxes for that. So in a sense, the way that I see that I see this question is the more people that come in. You have to have so many people per light. Law enforcement and law enforcement has grown. Police and fire has grown. There's a chart that the town manager has that shows the growth over time and it shows the amount of employees over time and that chart actually shows, when you truly look at it very closely, it shows that they are lagging a little bit. It really does, based on the chart that I saw. Now I think that as a town, when we raise taxes on something like that, the easier answer for that is we need to make sure that we have businesses, because when you think about it, we didn't have a lot of major businesses here in 2007. It was mostly retail and other things. So if we can bring in some major industrial not industrial, but major businesses that are employers, that are here and they can help the tax rate, then we're not going to have that burden of a tax rate, because one of the things that's important to note is that an Amgen, Fuji and all these come in. There are pieces around parks and recs and making this a walkable community that they have to comply with as well. So many greenery trees and walkable pathways and things like that. So I don't think that that, for me, that question is not as much if that burden is on the town, as much as can we do the right thing and bring in businesses so that that business tax rate is here. So we're 70/ 30, we're 70% town and 30% business, which means that we're still lots of lots of people, but as we grow, let's continue to grow the businesses along with that that helps the tax rate. That tax rate helps to make sure that we actually have the amenities for the town.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Could you go a little further into like? I own a house, I own property. I understand that when I'm paying town taxes it's coming from property taxes. So when you are talking about the taxes that businesses pay, is that because they own the land and it's the property tax for that, or there are other avenues of the tax?

Chris Deshazor:

That and there's other avenues. So a good example is when Fuji comes in, there are incentives that were given in the town and they may get a tax break for the first five years. Maybe, let's just say they do so. The amount that they're paying back into that may be new the first five years, but after that that money is paid back into the town. That adds into the coffers and the town does these things like that to entice these businesses in, because these businesses can go anywhere, adding a hospital right here, super important. That hospital is a business and employs people and will add back to the tax base. So, yes, my taxes will pay Wake County taxes and my local tax. But as a home owner let's say the easiest way to say this we need to pay 100 bucks. In a perfect world if we need to pay a hundred dollar tax bill, the residents paying 70% and the businesses are paying 30. Today I think it's more like the residents are paying like 82% and it's like 28% or whatever that number is. I'm not mathing really right this minute. But the business are paying less. But as we bring in more businesses, they add more to the tax base, which makes the burden from the actual residents less. So the actual residents will always pay taxes, we will, but we need to bring in businesses to help with that tax base. The best way that the analogy that I'll give here is that if I am paying the taxes in my house in and I'm paying let's say I'm paying $10 a year I'm going to make this very easy and a business is paying $3 a year and the town needs $13 a year. Let's say the town needs $15 a year and I'm paying $11 a year and all the businesses are paying their four. But if we get more businesses in and those businesses are paying five and I'm paying 10, that helps me out. So as I add more things and more people come, I'm still paying $10, but now we have more amenities, we have more things. We have a swim bubble. We now have the ice skating rink that is actually coming. We actually have dog parks. We actually have the skateboarding parks. We have all of these things that are available for our people and one of the actually I think that we are focusing on as well having amenities for our seniors. Haven't talked about those, haven't talked about those at all but having amenities for the seniors and things for them to do. So those are the things that we have to be able to build out and and, Amanda, I think this is one of those things in which we have to really think about it and we have to work at it and it's not easy and have difficult conversations, but making sure that it is a part of, and working with that long range plan.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Okay, and then the last scenario would you choose: allowing commercial property owners their rights to remove trees on their property or trying to maintain tree buffers to lay environmental concerns, aesthetics and cleaning the air, especially because of the landfill odors that we sometimes experience?

Chris Deshazor:

That's very simple. That was not. You should have led with that one. That's an easy one. They need to come in and they need to have tree buffers. We need to have tree buffers. We need to have trees. The landfill odor. Where I live and you work right here at Arbor Creek so you can definitely smell the landfill. We need to have those tree buffers. About two years ago, Heather and I get up one morning and we smelled gas in the house so we called the gas department because you know we're a little nervous about that. And they came over and the guy starts laughing. He goes that's not gas, buddy, that's the landfill. The landfill is just that bad. We have to have tree buffers, we have to have natural tree buffers. I like the fact that we are a Tree City USA. I mentioned that earlier. I really like that fact. I like the fact that developers cannot cut trees just for the sake of cutting trees and clear cut. One of the real interesting pieces is when we get developments. Have seen this a lot on the Planning Board. When we get developers that come in, developers will give us there's, there are many of them that will say you're asking for us to maintain 20%, we're maintaining 30% of the trees and they're planting trees and because it's hard to cut all the trees down, then plant little ones, because it takes so many years, let's leave some of this natural buffers. Let's leave some of these natural trees and let's add this one. It's prettier too. It's much better for the environment and that probably should be number one and number three. It just helps everybody and these developers want to be here. So because they want to be here, they will do the right things. Sitting on the Planning Board for six years, I've not had a developer that's come through and say, well, we're going to balk at this and we really need to cut these trees down. Never heard that. They're always like, yeah, we're going to actually leave more, we want to leave more. Interesting, it's really really important.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Is there a limit to what you feel may be reasonable if a situation warrants increasing taxes during your term?

Chris Deshazor:

What do you mean? Like for how much we should raise taxes?

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Yes, like would you come in and say we're going to raise taxes $10 million to do this? Like, do you have some sort of limit?

Chris Deshazor:

Well, there's always a limit. The answer there is you have to listen to the people. You have to listen to the people. You have some people that will say it doesn't matter, raise the taxes, I'll pay it. You have some people that say I can't do this now and I don't want to raise this anymore and I want to stay here, but I do not want to be taxed out of my own town. So the number one answer there for me is to listen to the people. The second thing is you raise taxes only when necessary. We don't raise taxes for just for the sake of raising taxes, and sometimes we have to look at something and say is this necessary right now? The answer that you always get well, if you don't do this now, you know it's just going to be more expensive a year down the road, chris, that may be true, but there may be other alternatives. We never know what the economy is going to do. We never know. We don't know those things. However, we should not just raise taxes just because it seems great. What's great for me is not great for someone else. As I said earlier, my view of the stage depends on my seat in the audience. So my seat in the audience as a person that is retired and living on a fixed income, versus, and so I'll give you a couple of different scenarios: Person that's retired, living on a fixed income and the person that I talked to today. They were so cute. They were a young couple. They had two little twin girls I think they were, and they were probably two, and they had an infant and I was like, ooh, you got it bad right now, just kidding. Seriously, when you really think about it, they have three little ones raising the taxes on them, trying to pay daycare and buying food, and for them it's different versus someone who is working a job and your kids are out of college or you have kids in college. There're all these different views of the stage. My job as a Councilman is to be able to listen to each person in each seat and understand their viewpoint and see how this is going to affect them and find out the best way to make something happen that has the least amount of impact on everybody. That's my job and that's not an easy job, but I am willing to step in and do that.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Do you feel there are major areas where the town is inappropriately allocating resources?

Chris Deshazor:

As of right now? No, I don't know. Let me rephrase that I don't know because I don't, I've looked at the budget and there are things like when I look at the amount that we have for police, for policing and fire, I think that's good. I think we're actually underserved there. I do. We just added, like the bodycams for our police. I think that was necessary in today's climate as a safety feature, not only for our residents but for the police. There's one of the police officers that actually demonstrated this to me before Planning Board meeting and he was saying he's like it's really cool and his words were it's really neat to be able to walk in and know that, no matter what is said, I have a recording of exactly what's going on. That gives him a peace of mind. I don't have a problem there. So when I really say, are there things that they're not doing or shouldn't be doing, I can't say. I can't say that there are, but I'm sure that there are probably things behind the scenes that I would be aware of. But that's where transparent leadership comes into play. The town manager does a really good job of explaining the budget and all of the things that go into the budget, and I think that that's always looked at, but today I can't say that. I think that there are places where we're missing. I and I will probably have a different answer a few months from now, you know, with some other information. Amanda Benbow Lunn (Host): B ecause you might be sitting in a different seat? Chris Deshazor (Guest): Correct. Thank you, yes, I'm sitting in a different seat, having a different view of the stage.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Yes. Do you have any creative suggestions on where to get alternative funds for the town to support the town's growth?

Chris Deshazor:

I would say number one. I think you create the business tax to come in and bring and incentivize these businesses to come in. If we can get some really good businesses to come in here and work with us and in the work for the town, because that builds growth and this builds long term longevity in the town. I think that is one way. Some other things to do is to work closely with the other municipalities, and here's a really good example Wake Tech is building a new facility right here in Apex. That's very close to us. What happens if we build a partnership with Wake Tech and help to bring in more employees and more talent. Now I wouldn't say talented more skilled employees right here in this town, in this area, that they can get back in this town, they can work in this town. Now that they're already living here, they're already a little bit more skilled and they can work at these places. We partner with some of these companies that are here and that are coming to build them up. That's a creative way of building up that base. Now I have people that are working here. They want to be here, they live here. I would love to see someone say I've been living here for 40 years and I've done X, y, z. We have that right now. We have people that have been here, but some of those folks are feeling a little bit displaced and I want to make sure that they don't. I don't want this to be a place that's not safe for everyone, that they don't feel comfortable. I want people to feel like this is home, and when you say, where do you live, most people down here say I live in Raleigh. No, you don't. You live in Holly Springs and I want you to be proud to live in Holly Springs, or as I call it, the Springs. Be proud to live in Holly Springs. So those are some ways. I didn't really give you any directs, but I think we have to be creative. We've got to work with the businesses. We've got to give people a chance to make this proud to be here, and I really, really think that we have an opportunity to do some of that. I really do.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Okay, many times people, including those who may be your fellow town council members, have varying opinions. How do you approach a situation when there is a major difference of opinion?

Chris Deshazor:

Professionally, my title is Director of Talent Development. One of my certifications is Crucial Conversations. I am a Crucial Conversation Certified Trainer. I have certified probably more than a thousand people in crucial conversations. I live it, I breathe it. I believe it more than anything. One of the things that's important is that when you have two sides and for anyone that's listening to this that knows crucial conversations or has ever been certified will understand this; for those of you that don't, I will try and paint the picture. There's two sides and there's two different people, and either they are. If they're yelling at each other, they're not hearing, or they go to silence and they're just not listening. But between those two people is something called the pool of shared meaning. You have to give something into that pool and I have to give something. And when you give something into that pool that I can share with and I give something that you can share with, we can start to have a conversation. So when we don't agree, as I said earlier, that's okay, but we need to be able to give to that pool of shared meaning. Now that allows someone to sit in my seat and see my view of that same stage that I was talking about, so that you can now understand my point of view. I had a situation just today. I was with some folks and there was a situation, without going into it, that people were just not on the same page. So I said folks, let's stop the text messages and emails, let's have a call. We had a 30 minute call. 30 minute call ended up going a little bit longer, but it was fantastic because what they don't know is it took something directly from crucial conversations and I said what is our purpose? So the first thing that I did was I dialed it back and created a purpose. Once you create a purpose, we can get into that pool of shared meaning. So my professional training actually helps me immensely here. I use this a lot. I've been married for 25 years. I think that I wish I would have known this like 25 years ago, but it's been the last five helps me out a lot. However, yeah, it's not going to take there, but seriously, it's really that pool of shared meaning. How do we give into that? How do we put in? And it's like you give a little bit, I give it a little bit. How do we both give in equally into that pool of shared meaning and get something out of that. So when we don't agree, sometimes we have to pause. And the other thing is, I do believe that we live in a microwave society, and what I mean by that is in that microwave society we want to put our popcorn in the microwave and hit the button and pop it. We don't even want to put three minutes on the microwave, we want a popcorn button that hit the button and the popcorn comes out the way that we want. However, sometimes the best popcorn that you can make is you get a kettle, you get some kernels, you get some oil, you get some salt, you get the butter and you put it in and you put it on the stove top and let it cook a little slowly with a pop thing on the top on it so it doesn't pop everywhere and take its time. Sometimes you got to take your time. We're in a rush all the time. Everything is yesterday. Sometimes we have to take our time and sometimes we have to say I'm going to take a step away and I'm going to come back to this. That's not always an option. Many times it's not. But what I've learned professionally, what I've learned in my marriage, what I've learned personally, is sometimes it's best to stop, take a deep breath, try and understand from the other person's point of view. And now let's both of us give to that pool of shared meaning and if we're having a dialogue, rather than going to silence or going to violence against each other, that dialogue, good things, can happen. Absolutely, I live that every day. My crucial conversations, folks, that anyone that knows crucial conversations will get that 100%, 10,000%. And those you don't, I will tell you it's a great. It's actually another one of those really good books to read. But practice and it's taken practice. I've not always been good at that. It's something that I've had to practice on. You learn from your mistakes. I've talked about another book I had read Growth Mindset. Oh, I've learned from my mistakes and I will continue to make some mistakes. I'm not perfect, just a guy.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Mm-hmm. There are no mistakes, only discoveries.

Chris Deshazor:

I like that. That is a very growth mindset thing. I'll say this coaching baseball, my coach, my oldest kids, my oldest son they're four years apart and I coached them. I was a little tougher on them but they were good. They were good group of kids. When I got the younger kids and I was doing a lot of things in my professional career, I had actually did performance reviews on all of my players. That's pretty funny. Yes, that's the HR in me. But anyway, when I coached those kids, sometimes when they would make a mistake, instead of, you know, asking them a question, I would ask more growth mindset questions and they learned from that and they got better from that and I always appreciated that. I appreciated that they didn't feel like someone was beating them down. They felt like it's okay to make a mistake. We're human and we all are going to make a mistake at some point in our life, but we just have to learn and grow from it. So I like that. I love that statement.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

All right, just a couple more questions here. Do you feel the town could be more inclusive?

Chris Deshazor:

Always, always. The town is growing. The town is growing at a very fast rate. I think the town could be extremely inclusive of all people. I think that the town itself has to work at being inclusive, and the way the town was, even when I moved here 16 years ago, has changed and the demographics have changed. That's okay, that's just fine. So we just have to make sure that we're inclusive, and to make sure that we're inclusive, we have to be listening to all. There's the whole thing. We had the NDO. The NDO was not signed and I'll go on the record, and I've always said this If we didn't sign it, we should have created something to make sure that all people feel included here in this town, and so part of my professional job I do a little bit of DEI work. There's a piece on inclusion, but there's another piece of that that's a little bit more important is belonging. It's okay to be included, but what if you're included? What if you're included but you don't belong? We want people to feel like they belong. I want people to belong. I don't want you to just feel like I'm included here in Holly Springs but I don't belong in Holly Springs. I don't feel like I belong in Holly Springs. I want people to feel like they belong in Holly Springs. That is important, and so we have a little work to do to make sure that all people feel like they are included and that they belong in Holly Springs.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Okay. Have you gained any endorsements thus far and if you gain more after the recording of this podcast, where might voters find that information?

Chris Deshazor:

They will find it on my website. So there are several endorsements that I have applied for and we haven't heard from those. I was endorsed by the Democratic Party. I did get that endorsement. There are others that I am waiting to hear from and I'll just kind of wait on that, but anyone that will see that will see that on my website. However, what I will say is, more importantly, the endorsements are important, I think, to an extent, because they kind of are on the alignment of where things are. Most importantly, I think that every person that's listening to this podcast, every person that will vote, will know that for me, what I stand for in my platform is very important who I am as a person One of the things that I did say, and I have been very, very vocal about this. I do think that sometimes, when it comes to endorsements and platforms and everything, you have to get to know the person, to know the person, because I personally do not want to be painted as just a this or a that. I'm Chris, that's all I am. I am Chris Deshazor. I've been that for my entire life and I want to be me and that's important and I love listening to people. I think that if people were to get to know me, and those that have gotten to know me would say you know, I've had people that I know right now that are said to me Chris, just be you, don't be anything else, don't try to be anything else, and I'm not. I'm just me, I'm just a guy. I'm here. I love this town. I'm here really more than anything and I just want to serve this town and I think it's going to be a really good thing. This is a good phase in my life of where I am to do that.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Perfect, and where can listeners connect with you and find out all the latest information regarding your campaign?

Chris Deshazor:

Facebook, instagram and my website. So my website is www. C hris4HS. com so Chris4HS. com. Or you can connect with me at facebook. com/C hris4HollySprings. Or Instagram Chris4HollySprings. All of those are me. We're doing a lot of really cool things. I'm having a lot of meet and greets, meeting folks. I've just added some doggy bandanas that I'm very excited about. I'm just trying to get to know people, as I did my listening campaign and getting to know folks and meeting folks out in the community. You can find me as every person I've talked to I've said if you have questions I asked this question are you planning on voting? Do you know? There's an election? This is a really big one and you know. If you have questions, I want people to reach out. I want people to reach out and I've had lots of people on my website, on my chris4hollysprings chris4HS com. On that website. On the bottom of the website, there's a page where, if you want to connect with me, I've gotten lots of feedback from folks about things that are important to them and I purposely respond to every message. It's important. It's important to me. Do I have a group of folks that's helping me out? Yes, but we're all volunteers. This is Chris's campaign and it's my job to respond to people and that's what I do. What you see today is what you will see as a Town Councilman, a person that will listen to people, that will respond. I am expecting that I will be at a lot of homeowners association meetings, a lot of meetings and meeting a lot of folks and listening to a lot of folks and driving this town you know, think of it as the town is a bus. I'm helping to drive it and all the Town Council members are taking a chance at driving that bus, but we're driving and we're making some decisions. That makes it go and sometimes we have to change the wheels while the bus is moving. That's fun, but we're driving it and so I'm looking forward to hopefully representing the people of Holly Springs.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

All right. Do you have any last thoughts you'd like to share with those voting in the upcoming election?

Chris Deshazor:

Vote. Make sure you vote, make sure you do your research. For everyone that's out there, make sure you're doing your research. I am the candidate that has served this town for the past six years on the Planning Board and though I've served on the Planning Board, I don't take that lightly. I don't think it's anything like. There have been many committees. I want people to get out and make that decision. I hope, if you have questions about what I stand for or what I believe or what I'm doing and how I would handle something, please do ask and vote. And when you go to vote on November 7th, if you don't early vote, take five of your friends. Make sure that everybody votes. I voted. Turnout for the municipal election is very low. A lot of people don't vote. These are the things that directly affect you. So, more than anything else, the decision that you make with the Town Council will directly affect you, and I hope that people get out and vote. I really do. I hope that you circle my name on the ballot on that day and a year from now you'll look back and say, wow, Chris Deshazor is doing everything that he said he was going to do. He is working for me and he is accessible. He's listening to me. I feel like I know him. I see him everywhere and I can talk to him. He is not a guy that is just running just to run. He's running for me. I'm running for you. I'm running for the people of this town. I'm running to represent the people of this town. So that's why I'm running and I hope that they vote. I hope that folks get out and vote and I'm looking forward to interfacing with everyone.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Okay. I have a lightning round of questions. There are no right or wrong answers. You can just speak to what comes to mind first. What is your favorite book?

Chris Deshazor:

Mindset by Carol Dweck Yeah, Mindset by Carol Dweck right now is probably my favorite.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Okay, who is someone you look up to and view as a role model?

Chris Deshazor:

My mom, hands down my mother.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

What's your favorite way to relax and let go?

Chris Deshazor:

Music. It depends on the day and depends on what's going on, but it's definitely music.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

What's one thing that fills your heart with joy?

Chris Deshazor:

My family.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

What's your greatest weakness?

Chris Deshazor:

Talk too much.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

What was one thing you wished for as a kid?

Chris Deshazor:

A new baseball glove. I used to say when I was a kid I used to say starlight, star bright, first star I've seen, tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might have this wish I wish tonight. I wish for a brand new baseball glove. I said that a lot. Amanda Benbow Lunn (Host): Did you get the glove Chris Deshazor (Guest): Eventually? Yes, Eventually. It wasn't the glove that I wanted, I wanted a Wilson A2000, but I never got the A2000, but I did get the glove, yes.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

What's something on your bucket list?

Chris Deshazor:

What's not on my bucket list? I want to go to Africa. I want to go to. I want to try. I love to travel. I really do want to see Africa. I really want to go there. I want to get to Paris. I've never been to Paris. I've been a lot of places in the world, but Paris and Africa are two on my bucket list.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Okay, and the last question.

Chris Deshazor:

The other bucket list thing will probably never happen, which is to swing a bat against a professional pitcher just once in my life, but I don't think that's going to happen.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Don't say that there is always a chance. What is your favorite thing about yourself?

Chris Deshazor:

Chris loves to have fun and I love to laugh. I mean, my wife says all the time there is not a stranger you have never met. I love people, I like meeting people, I like talking to people. I love the energy. I am an extrovert, I'm a trainer and I get energy from people. Oh man, that's me. Just getting excited, just thinking about people and that energy of it. I like that. I like people. I love the energy that I get from people.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Introverts like me appreciate extroverts like you.

Chris Deshazor:

That's exactly what my wife. This is what Heather says all the time.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

All right, Well, thank you, Chris, so much for trusting me and being part of our candidate segment for the Holly Springs Deep Dive Podcast. I wish you the best of luck with this upcoming election.

Chris Deshazor:

Amanda, thank you for doing this. I am looking forward to hearing it and looking forward to hearing from all of the candidates. I think this is awesome and I'm really appreciative that you're doing this. So thank you.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

You're quite welcome. Absolutely, I think everybody has a part to play.

Chris Deshazor:

Yes, they do.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Democracy is at the heart of all we hold dear. Our local governments have the influence to decide our community's priorities. These offices have a major impact on our daily lives and can have real consequences. They create and enforce local ordinances, fund our local fire and police departments, create the structure and ambiance of our communities and decide our local property taxes. Lower voter turnout in local elections means your vote has even more of an impact. Early voting starts October 19th at the Wake County Board of Elections and begins October 28th and will run through November 4th at the John M Brown Community Center in Apex and the Avery Street Recreation Center in Garner. During early voting, you may go to any of these early voting sites. Election Day will be Tuesday, November 7th. On Election Day, you have to go to your designated polling site. Please remember you will need a valid ID to vote. This year, the voter registration deadline is October 13th, though you may also be eligible to register at the voting sites during the early voting period. And that brings this episode of the Holly Springs Deep Dive Podcast, soon to be called the NC Deep Dive, to a close. Make sure you check out all the other relevant candidate episodes for the Board of Commissioners, also known as Town Council for Holly Springs and Fuquay Varina, at www. HollySpringsDeepDive. com, spotify, apple Podcasts, audible or wherever you currently listen to your podcasts. I will include helpful links for each candidate and voting in general in their episode show notes on our website. If you have any thoughts or topics you'd like to share, you may do so through social media or via email at hollyspringspodcast@gmail. com. Thank you for engaging in today's episode and becoming a more informed citizen. Democracy is a team sport. Together we make democracy work and our communities a better place to work, live and play. Your vote absolutely matters, your voice absolutely matters. You, my friend, absolutely matter. Until next time, my friends namaste. The love and light in me sees and honors the love and light in you.

2023 Municipal Election Candidate Interview
Transparent Leadership and Community Input Approaches
Affordable Housing and Sensible Growth
Coordinating Growth for Traffic Solutions
The Importance of Service and Voting
Responsible Growth and Decision-Making Processes
Development, Taxes, and Collaboration
Shared Meaning and Inclusivity
Importance of Voting in Local Elections
Closing and Call to Civic Engagement