Durham, N.C. – Commissioner Fred Foster, Jr. has taken a special interest in transportation policy since joining the Durham Board of County Commissioners in 2012. He joined the American Public Transit Association (APTA), a leading force in advancing public transportation last year and now sits on the Transit Board and Legislative member committees.
“As a growing community, Durham is in need of smart short and long term transportation planning,” said Foster. “We [Durham BOCC] understand these needs and the more I know about how to help my community advance our transit strategy the more educated I am on advancing our specific initiatives.”
As a Transit Board Member since 2013, Foster is part of a forum for professional development, education resources and peer exchanges. Foster joined the Legislative Committee recently. His participation on the committee includes developing consensus recommendations about federal legislative activity including transit authorization legislation, annual appropriation legislation, administration initiatives, and regulatory matters. In addition to these subcommittees, Foster sits on the full board of transit board members for the APTA.
In Foster’s continuous efforts to strengthen and improve public transportation, he is preparing to attend the upcoming APTA Annual Meeting and Expo in Houston, Texas.
About Fred Foster, Jr.
Commissioner Foster was elected to the Durham Board of County Commissioners in December of 2012. He served as chairman of the Durham BOCC from 2012 to 2013. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Management from North Carolina State University. Commissioner Foster is also a graduate of the Local Elected Leaders Academy offered by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Government. He also served in the US Air Force and retired from the Army Reserve after twenty-two years of service. Read more about Foster on the Durham BOCC webpage at www.dconc.gov
About National Association of Counties (APTA)
APTA is the leading force in advancing public transportation. APTA members are public organizations that are engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne passenger services, and high-speed rail. Members also include large and small companies who plan, design, construct, finance, supply, and operate bus and rail services worldwide. Government agencies, metropolitan planning organizations, state departments of transportation, academic institutions, and trade publications are also part of our membership. To strengthen and improve public transportation, APTA serves and leads its diverse membership through advocacy, innovation and information sharing. APTA and its members and staff work to ensure that public transportation is available and accessible for all Americans in communities across the country.
Magic Johnson pays visit to students at MJ Bridgescape Academy in Durham
Instead, he talked to students at Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy in Durham to encourage them and let them know that they, too, could succeed.
Eyes wide, some students stared as the 6-foot, 8-inch NBA legend made his way into their classroom wearing a blue suit and tie and a smile on his face. And although none of the students was old enough to have seen Earvin “Magic” Johnson play, most seemed excited to be in his presence.
Johnson, 54, told the students he was one of 10 children in a poor family living in one house in a poor neighborhood in Lansing, Mich., or the “hood.” He said he was the youngest of the four boys and had six sisters and was the first in his family to go to college. Johnson said many people doubted him along the way, but he persevered.
Durham’s Magic Johnson Bridgescape Academy, at 401 N. Driver St., is one of 13 around the country. It opened in August 2012 and contracted with Durham Public Schools. The school gives students who have dropped out of high school another option to complete their education, through personalized learning.
“This is important because the dropout rate in our community is so high right now,” Johnson said in an interview. “And if you don’t have an education, you could end up in prison, end up dead. You can’t take care of your family, and now you are on public assistance.
“Those are things we don’t want to happen because too many of our youth of color are in that position because of the dropout rate right now.”
Last week, the Department of Public Instruction released statistics showing the number of students dropping out of Durham Public Schools decreased by 11 percent from 362 to 323.
Johnson talked about his experiences becoming a businessman after his NBA career and how hard he had to study. He encouraged students to make sure they get their high school diploma so they could have opportunities like college or trade school.
“Your life will take off from here,” he said. “So continue to move forward. Continue to take your life in a positive direction, and things will come back to you.”
Fred Foster attends meeting of Triangle Friends of Farm Workers Pictured here with FLOC President Baldemar Velasquez