On election day in November of 2022, I’ll have lived in Asheville for 10 years. I was lucky to arrive in 2012, when it was still possible to find or build affordable housing. If I had waited even a year, I couldn’t have done it. Making Asheville my home was one of the very best decisions of my life.

I came for the vibrant local art scene and homegrown economy, the heart-stoppingly beautiful environment, and the creative, diverse, and compassionate community of people I found all around me here. It is these people, this environment, and Our City that I want to serve on Council.

I grew up in a progressive household, which valued active participation in politics, advocated for civil rights and unionized labor, and worked to bring an end to the Vietnam War. My mother served for a time as a Town Meeting Member where I grew up, in Brookline, MA. My parents were both artists and university teachers, my sister was a public school teacher, my brother has been an international nuclear disarmament advocate for four decades. I’m proud to be part of a family legacy of active engagement in political life for the public good.

I’m a writer, artist, and designer; I’m a communicator. I believe that anything worth doing is a form of conversation—including good government. A government based on democratic values like equality and full citizen participation has to actively invite people in to the conversation, know how to listen with full attention, ask useful questions, respond in a positive, constructive manner, and be committed to keeping the public fully informed. Conversation requires the focused attention of all participants—the reward for a good conversation is great ideas with excellent outcomes, mutual understanding, respect, and trust. [Please read A Pledge to Our City to see how I’d live out those values if elected to City Council.]

I’ve been self-employed for most of my working life, except for stints at Arthur D. Little (right out of college), the Smithsonian American Art Museum (where I was their first New Media Producer) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (where I led their intranet design team). My clients have included government, businesses, and not-for-profits.

When I moved to Asheville I was so intrigued by my house hunt experience and so in love with our many different neighborhoods, that I acquired and have retained an active real estate license. I learned a lot about the realities of real estate in our growing mountain town. While I haven’t done any transactions for the last few years, I’ve been paying attention to the market here and what it means for my neighbors and everyone trying to live and work here. 

I also organized three seasonal arts-and-crafts events, called “The Well-Crafted Gift,” to help local creatives market their work. I’ve supplemented my creative income with retail and gig work. I know what it’s like for folks earning much less than a living wage in Asheville. 

Today, I’m asking for your support and your vote! And please, let’s start a conversation!

Nina Tovish, Candidate for Asheville City Council
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