Gina Baxter, a Hendersonville Democrat well known for her advocacy work throughout the community, has announced her candidacy for Hendersonville City Council. Her primary goals are for the council to incentivize affordable housing and for council members to be accessible to every resident.
Gina grew up in Henderson County after moving here as a 12-year-old. “I’ve been active in the community starting with my first letter to the editor when I was 13,” she said. “I care deeply about the wellbeing of the people of Hendersonville and want us to be able to retain our sense of pride in our town. Hard work, a willingness to listen, a love of learning, and a respect for tradition are all values that I hope to embody as a sitting councilor.”
A graduate of UNC Greensboro, Gina has a degree in human development and family studies and works with the Children and Family Resource Center’s Adolescent Parenting Program. In this and her other advocacy work, she draws on her own life experience. “I was in foster care until I was 5 and working through the effects of an unstable early childhood made me want to dedicate myself to doing what I could to ensure that children have access to support. I work with adolescent parents as they finish school, become the best parents they can be, and learn to advocate for themselves through personalized support.”
Gina has also worked in domestic violence shelters in both Henderson and Transylvania Counties, sits on the boards of Hendersonville Pride and Henderson County PFLAG, and has worked closely with the migrant community.
“My work has created a profound sense of the importance of using a trauma-informed lens, a spirit of curiosity, and continuous learning, and I try to bring that framework to all the interpersonal work I do, including campaigning. I am a huge believer in the power of connection. I love going door to door to talk with folks because I want to know what people think and feel and what is important to them. I want to know where our common interests lie, and what we disagree about, too. I feel comfortable walking toward conflict and finding common ground.”
Gina said that the housing crisis was the primary issue that prompted her to run for council. “I rented in Henderson County for 14 years before my husband and I bought our house in February of 2020,” she said. “It was just under the wire because if we had waited even a few months, chances are good that we would have had to move to afford a home. We just got lucky, while many of our friends didn’t. They are now renting for twice what rent cost just a few years ago. The sharp incline is unstainable, and people who have lived and worked here their whole lives are being pushed out because of the lack of affordable housing.”
The city council makes decisions that affect the city itself as well as extra territorial jurisdictions. “Members—including the mayor—bring ideas, respond to community input and concerns and create policy,” Gina explained. “As direct representatives, they are accountable to community members.”