Dee Williams is a native of Asheville who was born black and female, and was orphaned along with her brother by the time she was eight years old. They were raised by their grandmother, who, as Dee says “worked everyday and could not read her own name on a billboard, but she believed that if you kept at it, enough folks would see it and your life would change for the better.”
Dee graduated Valedictorian from Asheville High. However, she received no scholarships to any college. Armed with every report card and honor certificate she had acquired since beginning first grade in Asheville City Schools, Dee put every material thing she owned into a pasteboard suitcase and boarded a bus headed to Winston-Salem State University with the hope that “these people” would “see her, along with her report cards and help her to enroll in college.”
The Registrar and other folks at the college did “see her.” They hurriedly called around to secure funds to enroll Dee in school and to pay her room and board. Dee went on to earn degrees in Political Science/Economics, Accounting, and Business Administration, respectively.
Dee returned to Asheville and worked in economic and small business development, and later became an entrepreneur and employer as the owner of several businesses, the largest being a highway/roadway construction company which operated under the corporate entity, Dee Williams and Company, Inc. (DWI). Dee is currently the President of DWI, and its primary business is providing small business technical assistance and neighborhood community economic development. Dee is also a N.C. Licensed Real Estate Broker and is LEED certified.
Dee is married to David Williams, Jr. and they are the parents of an adult daughter, DeLores.
Dee’s community volunteer work is equally as diverse and strong as her business background. She is currently WNC Coordinator of the regional “Ban the Box” Movement in which employers are educated and assisted in removing the “box” from job applications in which applicants are mandated to check if they have been in jail or have ever been convicted of a felony. As a result of this leadership, Mission Health System (10,000 employees), followed by the City of Asheville and Buncombe County respectively, have removed these “boxes” which are barriers to economic opportunity for many of our citizens. Dee has served on numerous City and County Boards and Commissions. Dee is currently serving as Chair of the Asheville-Buncombe NAACP Criminal Justice Reform Committee, Economic Justice Workgroup/Summit, organizing a community land trust to build permanently affordable housing, and building a local “Buy and Build Local Asheville Initiative” to create a local supply chain and policies to develop and invest in locally based businesses which will reduce our local carbon footprint and which pay living wages.
WHY VOTE FOR DEE WILLIAMS?
Born and raised in Asheville, Dee Williams is concerned that profits from low-wage employers are steered out of town into multinational corporations that care nothing for our local people and refuse to buy from or support local small businesses.
When it comes to solving deep, long-standing problems, we need a person who considers all options. It will take an independent candidate, like Dee Williams, to examine all points of view.
You don’t become valedictorian of a class of 900 students at Asheville High without massive brainpower, nor do you graduate magna cum laude from Winston-Salem State University (HBCU). And without massive brainpower, you certainly do not become a successful black businesswoman in the U.S. South.
It will take a candidate with an uncompromising love for the people to understand that budgets raise moral questions, and that only structural change can bring economic opportunity and social justice for folks in Asheville.
Many of the problems which plague Asheville can only be solved by developing policies which go to the root of the problem. Dee Williams looks beneath the surface and recognizes that poverty is caused by unsustainable industries which exploit our people, overburden a neglected and poorly-planned infrastructure, and harm the environment.
Anyone who knows our candidate knows that she is driven by the facts, not by a political agenda. No matter what the issue, she examines the data, discovers the nature of the problem, and from there seeks – and finds – concrete solutions.
Dee Williams is not about describing the problem. She is all about creating concrete solutions to achieve measurable results.
A true leader not only votes “the right way” on an issue, but fights for that issue and persuades others to do the same. Dee Williams is that leader.
Too often, City Council members are bamboozled by City staff and developers. Thanks to her life experience, Dee Williams is not a person who can be bamboozled.
Although Dee Williams is slight in stature, she is a political heavyweight. Developers – and friends of developers – do not want her to get past the primary. She has the experience – in business, government, neighborhoods, and community groups – to fight and win for the public good.
Dee Williams speaks at the launch of her campaign at Isis Restaurant and Music Hall.
Interview: Asheville on Bikes