Full Legal Name: Daniel T. Blue, Jr.
Name as it appears on the ballot: Dan Blue
Office sought / district: NC Senate, District 14
Date of Birth: April 18, 1949
Home Address: 4917 Long Point Court, Raleigh, NC 27604
Mailing Address: PO Box 287, Raleigh, NC 27602
Campaign Website: www.danblue.com
Occupation & Employer: Managing Partner, Blue Stephens & Fellers LLP (a law firm)
Years Lived in North Carolina: 61
Home Phone: (919) 231-7617
Work Phone: (919) 833-1931
1. What do you see as the most important issues facing North Carolina? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?
I consider jobs, education and government spending and the state budget as the most important issues facing North Carolina. My priorities are to:
1) Jobs: Create permanent jobs and an environment that sustains job creation, including devising promotion of and support for small and start-up businesses and training of the workforce.
2) Education: Continue to meet the challenge of educating every child to his or her full potential and providing the resources to do that; maintain our world class University system; strengthen the community colleges to support adult learning and training.
3) Government Spending: Create a reliable and predictable budget process that maintains fiscal discipline and ensures spending that is necessary, efficient and effective.
2. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the issues you've identified? Please be as specific as possible in relating past accomplishments to current goals.
I have been blessed and honored to represent the people of Wake County in the North Carolina General Assembly -- 25 years in the House and the past year in the Senate. I have played leadership roles in strengthening our public schools, community colleges and universities, creating a climate for good jobs, improving our criminal justice system, providing for the safety of our citizens, improving our transportation infrastructure and protecting our environment. In 1992 as Speaker of the House, I led the effort to balance the State's budget in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and still preserve basic services and create a climate in which NC experienced unprecedented economic growth.
3. How do you define yourself politically, and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
I am a moderate Democrat who believes that there are legitimate roles for government to play to ensure fair treatment and opportunity for all citizens, and as government plays those roles, it should do so fairly, effectively and efficiently.
I have sponsored legislation to allow collective bargaining among public employees;
I have sponsored legislation to slow down and in many instances halt the foreclosure process to give both the banks and the homeowners an opportunity to resolve their differences outside of the judicial process;
I played a key role in passing the Racial Justice Act to ensure the fairness and integrity of our judicial system;
As Speaker of the House, I initiated the first legislative-driven performance audit in the country to ensure responsible expenditures and identifying waste, duplication and inefficiencies.
4. The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. Please point to a specific position in your platform that would, if achieved, help further that goal.
I believe that each of my positions -- on jobs, education and the budget -- help build a just community in the Triangle.
5. Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
I firmly believe in fairness. At times, that requires taking unpopular positions, but the principles are more important than taking the politically expedient route. For example, I have consistently supported fairness in the criminal justice system which often means defending the rights and interests of suspected felons, in an environment where many would prefer to see more convictions on less evidence. Or, I voted for anti-bullying legislation to protect school children when many would prefer to not to extend additional protections. I also support fairness in our system of public education, including our K-12 public schools.
6. If these issues haven't been addressed above, would you please comment on:
a. Poverty: What steps, if any, do you advocate to lift up the poor in North Carolina?
Education should be the foundation of our efforts to lift the poor. That includes education for all children and extends to embrace life-long learning as a key to developing our workforce. Once armed with an education and skills to compete, the poor are in a much better position to land and keep better jobs or to start companies that provide useful products and services. Finally, I advocate access to affordable healthcare as a key element to our efforts. The cost of healthcare, especially emergency healthcare, can easily wipe out an individual's rise out of poverty.
None of these elements exist in a vacuum, but they do enable the poor to benefit from the investments we make across the entire economic spectrum.
b. Transportation: Transportation needs in the state, including roads and transit in the Triangle?
I helped to create the Triangle Transit Authority in the early 90's to address the Triangle's growing transportation needs and issues, including roads, rails and public transportation.
c. Job creation: What strategies should the state use to attract new business and lower the unemployment rate
Overall, my focus is growing new businesses here. With the strength of the universities in the Research Triangle Park, we also have the opportunity to encourage technology transfer from the laboratory benches into the marketplace.
d. Health care: What should the state do next to address the problem of adults and children without adequate health care or insurance
We have expanded the state's Child Health Insurance Program and we are studying the potential impact of the Federal implementation of its healthcare legislation.
e. Foreclosures: What more should the state be doing to help consumers avoid foreclosure and hold onto their homes?
I sponsored 12 separate pieces of legislation over the past three years which give greater authority to the Banking Commissioner and to Clerks of Court to delay or stop the foreclosure process when warranted, as well as to require greater transparency in lending. Additionally, the legislation increased funding for counseling programs for homeowners under economic stress and created a mechanism for legal representation.
f. The mental health crisis: Everyone agrees it's a mess. Now what?
The last General Assembly took actions, which I support, to address the gaps in coverage. We will continue to work on it.
g. Taxes: Given the needs, are they too high? Too low? Too regressive? Where else should the sales tax be applied? Should it be raised? What's your position on "combined reporting" for national corporations?
The sales taxes should not be raised, and in fact, should probably be lowered. We are continuing a review of a fairer and more equitable tax system.
h. Energy: What steps, if any, should be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? What policies should be put in place to incentivize innovation in wind, solar and future energy sources?
We should look at alternative energy sources, including wind, solar, and bio-mass. When possible and cost-efficient, the State government should lead in our efforts to implement sound energy policies.
7. What local bills would you introduce and how closely will you work with local elected leaders in advancing their legislative agendas?
The Wake County delegation meets with all of the local boards to discuss their proposals for legislative initiatives, including initiatives to relieve traffic congestion and to protect the environment surrounding our lakes.
8. What is your position regarding LGBT rights? Please address whether gay marriages or civil unions should be made legal in North Carolina; also, whether sexual orientation and identity should be added as a protected class under state anti-discrimination laws, including state personnel laws.
I believe in the basic equality and dignity for all citizens, whether at school, at work, or in their private relationships. My positions in both my public and private life reflect this firm belief.
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? Given that North Carolina has the ninth highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, do you support medically accurate sex education that includes information about birth control?
Yes, I support women's reproductive rights, including the "right to choose." Yes, I support medically accurate sex education that includes information about birth control. However, as a parent, I recognize that parents should play a role in determining the extent and nature of sexual education for their children.
10. What steps will you take to increase transparency and outreach to constituents, and root out corruption, not only personally but among other General Assembly members?
I played a major role in the drafting and passage of ethics legislation in the 2009/2010 General Assembly. That legislation addresses both transparency and ethics.
The challenges to our State in this time of economic uncertainty are daunting, and they test our ability to be great fiscal stewards while still providing the framework and resources that allow our people to prosper. I ask you to allow me to continue working for you as your Senator. I pledge to continue efforts to save the jobs we have and to create new ones by recruiting new businesses, strengthening existing ones -- including small businesses-- and to ensure that we have a great business climate with highly skilled workers. I will also work hard to make sure that our schools strive for greatness as all of our students get the teachers and programming they need to succeed. And we will do all of this with the fiscal discipline required keep our budget balanced and our spending efficient and effective.
I would be honored to have your support.