Name as it appears on the ballot: Charles Malone
Date of birth: November 12, 1947
Campaign website: www.malone4congress.com
Occupation & employer: Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, NC Dept. of Environment & Natural Resources
1. What do you see as the most important issues facing North Carolina and the nation? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?
The immediate issue upon us now is the anemic state of our economy, mirrored by our unrelenting unemployment rate. To reverse these poor economic realities is my top priority. Going beyond this immediate priority, I would focus as my other key goals, as follows: protecting our treasured and long-standing social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. These are social contracts between our government and the people that ensure the ancient concept of this nation to "promote the general welfare." And my third area of high concern is to protect our precious environment and its natural resources. This involves both preserving these natural gifts and promoting energy independence, which means more freedom from foreign tyrants selling us oil who promote terrorism and that don't share our American values.
2. What issue or issues made you want to run for this office?
The need to re-build our broken economy and to grow jobs was a key factor in motivating me to run for Congress. It is from a national perspective that we can best forge a policy that transcends various state efforts, to put our country on a focused track to have a revitalized coast-to-coast economy. Furthermore, the heart of any economic recovery resides in its ability to purge itself of its most basic, systemic weakness—it's unfair tax policy that asks more from those least able to sacrifice, and less from those most able to contribute. I will seek out those unfair areas of tax injustice and root them out, rest assured. And on the question of how we guide our overall economy to the shores of recovery, it lies again in how we distribute the responsibility. Surely, we must have a balanced approach where we grow revenue, promote efficiencies and share the sacrifice between the public and private sector.
I also want to see continued vigilance over our environment, advocacy for educational prominence from pre-K to higher education, expansion of our community college system, guardianship of our health care reform legislation and a return to smart, compromising governing—in short, bringing an end to gridlock.
3. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective in the U.S. House? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.
Henry Adams wrote, "They know enough who know how to learn." I come to this campaign without a lengthy portfolio of public offices held, but do have a record of a fully lived life and a vision of America that I humbly submit is the right vision to lead us forward. I have always been on the side of the people—from the early American civil rights struggles to today's foes of corporate piracy—and against any entity—public or private--that has tried to consolidate its power over the sovereign rights of the people.
On a personal basis, I have earned a college education, done military service (Vietnam), exercised business leadership (managing small business for over 10 years), had journalistic experience and compiled extended time (20 years) as a human resource professional in state government. I am also a husband of 38 years, a father, a vestry member in my church, and have served on local boards and commissions (including three terms on the Raleigh Transit Authority). In all of these things I have "bloomed where I was planted." To me, if one has been faithful to the task in front of him, he is most likely to be faithful to the higher ones that come his way. And so I will go before the people with my example, and will draw from them my guiding light. And when there is no light to be discerned from without, I will call on my conscience and on my values to make the critical decisions.
4. As you've campaigned in NC-13, what are you hearing from voters? What's foremost on their minds?
Most of the people are distressed over the poor state of the economy, of their own losses, and of the plague of high unemployment. This plight is more pronounced as one travels farther from Raleigh and into the rural areas of the district. There is also a cry of protest against the dysfunction in governing by leaders in both Washington and Raleigh. If the people have to compromise to survive, why can't government leaders compromise to lead? There is general agreement that we can solve our problems, if we only will do it. Governmental gridlock is unacceptable in this troubled world. I promise to be part of the solution, not part of the problem, in regard to doing the nation's business.
5. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
First, I believe progressives should stand tall and stick to our core beliefs. We should connect our values to flag, faith and family and say boldly that our values are as American, if not more so, than our conservative counterparts who have successfully labeled liberalism as a sort of catch-all expletive. We should explain the world the way it is, which means government is deeply steeped in the American brew that benefits all Americans, and not least, the capitalistic system. I am willing to lose popularity by taking conservative and liberal positions that are not in favor with a majority of my constituents, if the issue at hand demands it. On the right, I would look to study entitlement guidelines and efficiencies, to stem the flow of deficit spending. On the left, I support the end of the death penalty.
To use a sports analogy, in football we are ever pushing forward, but there is a time to punt the ball. By giving up the ball now, we are gaining improved field position for a better go at the goal later on. So it is when we accept partial victory on legislation.
6. If these issues haven't been addressed above, would you please comment on:
a. What do you see as the primary sources of our current economic problems? What measures should Congress use to address them?
The key reason for our troubles here is the recession 2007-08 that brought about the housing bubble and huge financial losses in personal wealth and massive job losses. It came from under-regulation of the financial industry and its own unsavory practices that culminated in the economic collapse we have seen over the last four years. We must right things by a massive infusion of government intervention via infrastructural work, hiring back of teachers, police officers and such, and a restructuring of fair trade policies that favor insourcing and not outsourcing, and a new consumer protection program that will protect investors and mortgage buyers and all consumers. In addition, we need to be about reforming our federal tax system that so heavily favors the rich, both individually and corporately.
b. Evaluate the war in Afghanistan and the situation in Iran. What is our goal in each place, in your view?
The fact we've been fighting in Afghanistan for 12 years is a fact in itself that the cost-benefit factor is skewed far and away from the benefit side of the equation. Let me put it this way, if Osama bin Laden had escaped to Canada, would we have tried to build a new nation-state there, use drones and make them stop swearing allegiance to the Queen? Our best policy here has always been to pursue Al Qaida, not its country of origin, or its hideout. President Obama has begun to focus correctly in this area, at long last.
The situation in Iran is very perilous, for not only the Middle East and Israel, but for the world. While the Iranian people are a treasure, its government is radical and dangerous to its near and far-away neighbors. It is against our national security interests to let Iran make deliverable nuclear bombs. We must try every peaceful method, first of all, to literally defuse the situation. But we must make it clear, and, if possible, to say this in unison with our allies and NATO forces, that we will take all means necessary to stop their nuclear program from going live.
c. Would you support repeal of the Affordable Care Act? What reforms would you make to the health care system?
No, I would not support a repeal of the ACA. It's passage is a giant step in the right direction for establishing widespread health care coverage and costs reductions. Key reforms begin with changing the core approach taken by doctors and hospitals from charging by services rendered to charges by outcomes. We should also negotiate new trade laws that allow America to import cheaper prescription drugs and medical equipment. Health care is a right and shouldn't be dispensed according to the ability to pay, but according to the need at hand. Collectively, we can have a profitable and effective public/private blend of health care in this country.
7. What is your position on capital punishment?
I am against it. It is unfairly administered and only the convicted felons with the worse lawyers ever see the death chambers, often after many years on death row. It is antiquated and should be discontinued. For those who believe, and I can well understand these feelings, that some heinous crimes deserve death as a matter of justice, I say to this what Lincoln said to the belligerents from the North and the South at the close of the Civil War, "Let us judge not that we be not judged... The prayers of both cannot be answered ... and the Almighty has His own purposes."
8. What is your position on Amendment One?
I am opposed to it. Enduring laws come from justice, not majorities. And so it will be here.
9. Do you support women's reproductive rights, including the "right to choose" as set out by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade? Do you support the recently passed state requirements on ultrasounds and waiting periods for women seeking an abortion? Do you support attempts to eliminate funds for Planned Parenthood?
Yes, I support the "right to choose" law. No and no. Freedom means freedom at full speed, not with training wheels. The punishments on Planned Parenthood are especially wrong because it throws a net over all the fish, even the ones the fisherman doesn't want to eat.
But as we affirm a woman's right to choose, if I may be so bold to declare as a man, let us also be a society that is dedicated to sustaining life. Let us provide adoption services, prenatal care and other aid to women who choose to give birth. Let us not ignore the reality that many poor women have abortions due to their lack of economic resources, not to their lack of freedom to abort. Real freedom is when the decision is done from the heart and mind that is not fogged by fear and desperation.
10. What changes, if any, do you support in federal entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans programs, etc.)
In all these programs, I want more efficiency in its delivery, its administration and its fairness—but no reductions in the benefits or the essential guidelines that have well stood the test of time. And the sacred cow for me in this area is that these programs should never go private, or have vouchers, but should stay solely in the hands of the government. Once profit seekers get between the sacred social contract that America has made with her people to sustain them in poverty, or sickness or in old age, it will be a broken contract, and our country will have broken faith with its people in a most egregious way.
11. Do you approve of efforts by the Bush and Obama administrations to bailout major banks? How about the Obama administration's bailout of U.S. automakers?
Yes. The banks were too big to fail and the bailout proved to be successful, since most of it has been paid back. If the banks had failed, it made have begun a catastrophic depression instead of a severe recession. The pain would have been worse and deeper. However, I am appalled that the banks have kept the money and have continued to work in their old ways that favor their own and not the people. Never again. It is time to break them up and make them smaller, separate commercial and investment activities and regulate them anew.
The bailout of the automakers has been very successful and is proof that President Obama wants the government and the free market system to work together, not one over the other. This is an example of the government helping save the private sector through temporary powers, but never in the sense of permanently altering our mixed economic foundations.
12. Both parties have been criticized for overreaching during the redistricting process. Would you support an independent commission drawing the lines in the future?
Yes. Redistricting by politicians may be the single most corrupted activity in public life I can imagine. It needs to be taken elsewhere because it is letting the politicians decide who will vote for them, instead of the other way around. Our political boundaries cheat everyone and lead to people and places and interests sharing only their district lines, and nothing else. And both parties are to blame, although the Republicans have taken it to a new art form in 2012. Let's have the independent commission, by all means.