Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Don Frantz
Date of Birth: 05/18/1971
Campaign Web Site: www.frantzforhouse.org
Occupation & Employer: Small Business Owner, Frantz Automotive Center. Cary Town Council Member.
Years lived in North Carolina: 17
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?
The single most important issue facing North Carolina is our economy. Unemployment is at an all-time high and North Carolinians want and need jobs. Small businesses are closing while our state gives away millions in sweetheart deals to select out-of-state corporations. With the highest overall tax burden in the southeast it is no wonder we continue to lose jobs to neighboring states and offshore. We need tax reform that encourages business growth, creates jobs and puts more of your hard-earned money back in your pocket.
Government cannot be everything to everyone. It isn't possible and we can't afford it. I have a proven record of opposing government give-a-ways to out-of-state corporations ( http://www.carynews.com/2009/08/19/13150/financial-giant-to-grow-in-cary.html ) and supporting targeted incentive programs for small businesses. As a small business owner, a member of North Carolina's National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Leadership Council and the Cary Chamber of Commerce. I have worked tirelessly to support our local business economy, and that of our region.
I understand small business because I am small business.
Another serious issue facing North Carolina is education.
My wife and I are products of public education and our six children have all attended or are still attending Wake County Public Schools.
I believe very strongly in providing the best public education possible to all North Carolina families, and I also believe that parents and families deserve a choice when it comes to educating their children. I support lifting the cap on charter schools and providing tax credits to families who choose other options, such as private or home-schools.
A highly skilled and educated workforce is critical to our economic future. Preparing our children to compete in a global economy must include investments in vocational education for those children who do not want to go to college. We must educate not only the next Fortune 500 CEO or pharmacist but also the next electrician, service technician, and nurse. Providing increased opportunities for students to learn a skill or trade not only increases their chances of success once they leave the public school system, it will also significantly reduce North Carolina's abysmal high school drop-out rate.
My record is one of listening to and representing families in the Wake County Public School System. ( http://wake.mync.com/site/wake/news/story/23717/council-members-to-meet-with-school-board-member )I have successfully collaborated with past and present school board members to address many community issues. I believe parental involvement is key to a child's success in the classroom and I support merit pay for teachers and state employees who outperform their peers.
Every elected official and candidate promises better education. Who wouldn't? But are current legislators delivering it? Ask yourself if the education that your children currently receive is better than the education that you received? I believe the answer is clear. We must reform education in North Carolina.
2) Are there specific needs in your district that you would add to that list? How do you propose to address them?
Wake County has serious transportation needs. I support increased bus service and planning for the future light rail and regional rail projects. I do not support the high speed rail project as currently proposed by NCDOT Rail as the closing of rail crossings will devastate our road network. Please see my letter to the Cary News on this subject here: http://www.carynews.com/2010/03/07/16402/your-letters-march-7.html
3. 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.
As a member of the Cary Town Council I have a proven record of working with my council colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address key issues in our community.
North Carolina has 120 members in the House, yet only a few powerful elite people determine what legislation comes to the House floor for discussion and votes. The House Speaker can send bills he doesn't like, or that are opposed by special interests to die in committee, never to see the light of day. It's no wonder the will of the people never gets done.
That's not how we do business at the local level. If a Cary Town Council member has an idea for discussion, he or she needs only one co-sponsor to bring it to the council table for discussion and vote. Not every idea is adopted, but every request receives a fair hearing.
State government should work no differently.
Any bill that has the support of others (co-sponsors) deserves a fair hearing and an up or down vote. House leadership shouldn't censor new ideas.
Partisan bickering must stop. There is nothing partisan about jobs, roads, public safety, or education. Party loyalty must take a back seat to serving all the citizens of North Carolina.
4. 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 husband and father, business owner and public servant.
5. 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 my responses to the majority of this questionnaire sufficiently answers this question. Please visit my website at www.frantzforhouse.org to learn more about my vision for North Carolina.
6. 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 support requiring identification to vote. I am sure this costs me popularity points with the Independent Weekly. ;-)
7. The current state budget was balanced with approximately equal amounts of spending cuts (primarily to human services and local school districts) and tax increases. Another very tough budget battle looms ahead next year. Will you support: (a) deeper spending cuts? (b) greater tax increases? (c) another mix of the two? Please tell us what you'd cut and which taxes should be raised, if any.
I choose (a).
In 2009, North Carolina raised taxes $1.1 billion.
Some examples of the tax increases supported by the majority of the General Assembly and my opponent include:
14% Sales Tax Increase NC's sales tax is now the 8th highest in the nation (two states with higher rates have no income tax) - but don't worry, our legislators tell us that this tax is only "temporary".
2% Income Tax Surcharge that requires taxpayers to pay 102% of their income tax liability.
A 3% surcharge on corporate income tax that requires businesses to pay 103% of their tax liability.
$68.8 Million in new "sin" taxes.
The iTax that taxes everything from computer software downloads, ringtones, online publications and itunes.
$55 Million in new "fees"
Are you are getting your money's worth? Are you better off now than you were four years ago?
House District 35 needs a representative who understands that in tough economic times, we must tighten our belts and live within our means.We need leadership that understands that the last thing you do in a bad economy is raise taxes. We need leadership with the courage to say "NO" to special interests and a commitment to prioritize state spending.
I have a proven record of providing a high quality of life at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer. In the midst of the worst recession since the great depression I proudly supported Cary's FY10 budget that reduced spending 26% from the previous year, focused on core priorities such as transportation, public safety and infrastructure and continued to provide the high levels of service our citizens expect - all without increasing taxes. For next year's budget I have already supported the postponement or elimination of another $89 million in capital projects ( http://www.carynews.com/2009/12/29/15283/cary-delays-or-cancels-projects.html ) while we weather this economic storm.
I supported capping our town's debt service at 15% of general fund expenditures and a hiring freeze on new town government positions, and I voted against reducing the town's general fund reserves from six months to four.
I am very proud that when I first joined the council, Cary had the second lowest tax rate in Wake County. We now have the lowest. Cary also has the fewest town employees per capita than any other municipality in North Carolina.
This is the kind of change NC needs now.
8. North Carolina is sending record numbers of people to prison, and when they're released, they're often lost and get in trouble again. The Governor's StreetSafe initiative is aimed at breaking this vicious cycle and reducing the recidivism rate. As a legislator, what would you propose that she and the General Assembly do to help?
What I do not support is legislation that reduces the sentences of violent criminals. This past year, the North Carolina General Assembly and my opponent voted for SB489. This bill allows criminals with prior record points to receive lesser sentences. Under this bill a criminal who commits a B1 felony (first degree rape for example) with one prior record point would see their sentence reduced by roughly three years.
The General Assembly and my opponent also voted to close 7 prisons.
Gang activity and violent crime in North Carolina is at an all time high, yet our elected officials continue to support legislation that puts convicted felons back on the streets sooner.
I have a proven record of supporting law enforcement and championing initiatives that reduce crime in our communities. Cary hired only seven new government employees in the last two years – six of them were police officers.
9. Health care: What should the state do next to address the problem of adults and children without adequate health care or insurance? What do you propose to do to address the mental health crisis?
All North Carolinians deserve access to the highest quality health care available. I will support legislation that reduces costs and promotes accessibility through increased competition, medical malpractice and insurance reform, and preventative healthcare and education.
10) What is your position on capital punishment in North Carolina? If in favor, will you support a moratorium on executions while the question of whether the death penalty can be administered fairly is studied by the General Assembly?
I support capital punishment.
11) 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 will support legislation that treats all North Carolinians as equals regardless of race, creed, color, national ancestry, sex, marital status, disability, religious or political affiliation.
12) 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?
I am Pro-Life and I do not consider abortion to be a form of birth control. I do however understand that there are times when an abortion may be justified such as in cases of rape, incest, or when the physical health of the mother may be threatened.
I support teaching our children the importance of abstinence until marriage as well as educating children of appropriate age about birth control.
13) Should public employees have the right to bargain collectively in North Carolina?
While state employees have had difficulties addressing salary and insurance issues, I do not support collective bargaining.
The General Assembly must work towards addressing the more immediate challenges in regards to preserving & reforming the state's health care plan, ensuring NC's retirement plan is sustainable and maintaining the protections of the State Personal Act.
Conservative budgeting is critical if we are to avoid any future mandatory furloughs.
14) The latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that 11.2 percent of North Carolina's workforce is unemployed. Please state specifically what the state should and can do to create new jobs, describe the kinds of jobs the state should support and what your role will be in creating them.
Please see my answers for questions #1 and #7.