Name as it appears on the ballot: Barbara Howe
Date of birth: February 13, 1953
Campaign website: barbarahowe.net
Occupation & employer: Homemaker
1. Gov. Perdue is proposing a 3/4ths of 1-cent sales tax increase to balance the budget and avoid more cuts to education. Do you support her proposal? A different tax increase? Or no tax increase?
I am firmly opposed to any tax increase. The rampant increases in spending over the past two decades are the cause of North Carolina's budget problems.
2. Do you support the Racial Justice Act? Is it time for North Carolina to abolish the death penalty?
While I do support the Racial Justice Act, I would prefer to abolish the death penalty outright. The state should not be killing prisoners.
3. Are you in favor of a Voter ID law? Why or why not? What steps can the state take to increase voter participation in elections?
I have mixed emotions about the Voter ID law. I have no strong fundamental problem with being able to know if a person who is voting is who they say they are. I am concerned that the implementation of the Voter ID will disenfranchise certain groups. I also am not persuaded that a significant problem even exists.
One step to greater voter participation is to allow greater access to the ballot. NC currently ranks in the top three states with regard to difficulty in getting on the ballot. There is clearly dissatisfaction among NC voters with the limited political choices because nearly 25% of voters are registered Unaffiliated. Easing ballot restrictions would encourage greater voter participation.
4. How will you vote on Amendment One, the amendment to ban gay marriages, civil unions and all other domestic partnerships other than the marriage of one man and one woman?
I will vote no on the constitutional amendment. Constitutions are to place limits on government, not people. Enshrining this abomination into the state constitution would be shameful.
5. Do you support a woman's right to choose to terminate her pregnancy? Would you sign a bill requiring that a woman, before choosing abortion, undergo an ultrasound? Be counseled about alternatives? Or in other ways be discouraged from choosing an abortion?
I believe a woman's decision with regard to her body is her business and no one else's, so I support a woman's right to choose. As a Libertarian, I want government out of the issue of abortion all together, meaning no taxpayer funding of abortions and no interference in a woman's medical decisions by requiring procedures before one can obtain an abortion.
6. Should the state take additional steps to encourage solar, wind and other renewable energy sources? Should additional nuclear plants in North Carolina be encouraged, discouraged or stopped?
Energy is an important element of a sound economy. However, bureaucrats and politicians are notoriously inept at making decisions about technology and business. Solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources may be a part of the energy equation. That said, the thing that the state needs to do is to be sure there are not unnecessary obstacles in the way for private companies to enter into the energy production business, regardless of the source. The private companies that enter into the business must do so without taxpayer dollars and must accept the responsibility for producing the energy in a safe way and be held accountable for any damage they might do.
7. What should we do about fracking—extracting natural gas by fracturing rock underground? Do you view it as a technology ready to use in North Carolina? Or one to be studied carefully before any decision about it is made?
As mentioned in previous question regarding energy, energy production is important to NC. Like so many environmental issues, the science on hydraulic fracturing is unsettled. I recognize that people have serious concerns. The issue becomes do we stop all forward progress until all concerns are 100% settled. That seems like an imprudent course. Life is not without risk. Our task becomes moving forward with the least amount of risk.
For me to sign off on moving forward with fracking, two primary things will have to be in place. The company seeking to do the exploration and extraction of natural gas will in no way, shape, or form receive any taxpayer money. Said business must also be held fully liable for any damage it might do. The company would need to do a thorough assessment of the possible damages and carry sufficient insurance to compensate for any damage it might do.
8. With Dorothea Dix Hospital closing, should the state give or sell the 306-acre Dix tract for use as a park? What should the future of Dix Hill be, and what role should the state play in its future?
The 306-acre tract is valuable real estate. The state should sell the property. If there is enough interest in keeping the property as a park, those wanting that to happen should organize an effort to raise the money for its purchase.