1. How would you rate the previous session of the General Assembly? Explain. FOR INCUMBENT: What have been your most difficult decisions in your current capacity? Why? FOR CHALLENGERS: What decisions has the incumbent made that you most disagree with? What would you have done different?
1. This past short session has been pretty miserable for the people of North Carolina. Republican leadership was simply callous by choosing not to expand Medicaid even though it would be on the federal dime. This put the health of thousands at risk. Beyond that, their decision to cut back unemployment benefits is making it hard for many across our state looking for work, trying to support their families and facing limited opportunity. Take into account their all-out assault on the environment and education, this really was a rough session for our state.
2. Should the state further cut public education or increase the public education budget? What are your thoughts on the recent cuts to teacher tenure? What are your views on charter schools and voucher programs?
Education is what has made North Carolina first in the south and a leader nationally. Cutting funding and eliminating teacher tenure is not the way to improve it and continue to invest in our youth and our state’s future. Charter schools should be subject to the same accountability and transparency that all of our state-funded public schools are.
3. Do you believe the Racial Justice Act should be reinstated? Do you believe it’s time for North Carolina to abolish the death penalty?
Yes and yes.
4. Are you in favor of the Voter ID law? Why or why not? Do you believe North Carolina’s Voter ID law makes it easier or harder for citizens to vote?
The voter ID laws that the Governor and Republican-led legislature have passed are not good for democracy and they make it harder for people to exercise their right to vote. Their rationale of reducing voter fraud is nothing more than willfully ignorant spin to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.
5. What is your position on opening North Carolina’s coastline to off-shore drilling and exploration? On fracking? And should additional nuclear plants in North Carolina be encouraged, discouraged or stopped?
Opening our coastline to drilling and pushing the dangerous fracking legislation through despite the science against it is just irresponsible. We should instead be investing our resources in the development of clean technologies such as solar and wind. There’s plenty of opportunity to push these green forms of energy forward and economic development that would benefit from it here in North Carolina. I have been outspoken about our need to look at the facts and science about fracking and stop this before it destroys our environment and puts our public health at risk. (http://www.indyweek.com/news/archives/2014/09/26/nc-fracking-rules-commenting-period-to-close-tuesday)
6. What are your views on gay marriage?
Marriage is a civil right. Saying to one citizen that they cannot enjoy the same rights as others is wrong no matter what their race, creed, disability or sexual orientation.
7. What are your views on the Moral Monday movement?
The Moral Monday movement has been a great way to shine light on the terrible things that our Governor and Republican state leadership have been doing by passing irresponsible legislation and pandering to special interests. By helping to raise the visibility of what’s happening at the NCGA, they’ve been able to increase accountability for legislators. Expanding this movement across the state has also been helpful to share what’s going wrong in Raleigh with others across the state.
8. What are your views on collective bargaining and the effects of North Carolina’s “right-to-work” law? Would you support a bill enshrining “right-to-work” in the state constitution? Would you support a law that allowed public employees to engage in collective bargaining?
I believe strongly that workers should have the right to organize and have a say – especially in a right to work state like North Carolina. We’ve seen countless times where the corporate agenda – and the defacto corporate agenda of our Republican leadership – have put employees health, security and futures at stake.
9. If elected, what would you do to protect North Carolina’s environment and natural resources? Do you believe state environmental regulatory bodies need more funding or less funding, and why?
I work hard in my capacity as a legislator to protect our environment and natural resources. The regulatory bodies that oversee these should be well-funded, but should also be held accountable for being impartial to what powerful corporations want. They should be independent and vigilant to protect our public health, our environment and all of North Carolina’s natural resources without undue influence from moneyed special interests.
10. 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 believe that employees in the State of North Carolina, both public and private, should have the opportunity to organize and stand up for their rights through collective bargaining. This is not a popular view in a right-to-work state like NC, but the amount of misinformation and uniformed bias that clouds this conversation should not be a reason to take advantage of employees in any circumstance.
11. 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 completely support a woman’s right to make their own reproductive decisions without some ridiculous demand that they undergo an ultrasound or other bullying from those people that simply have no say in the matter – especially legislators. If our state leadership is so concerned about women’s health, they’d have expanded Medicaid, be fully funding women’s health programs, and ensure that sexual health is taught in schools based on science and medicine, not taboo and methods that have been statistically proven to be ineffective like abstinence-only education. We should also work to ensure that women facing the tough decisions involved with abortion or their reproductive health are not subject to bullying and harassment.
12. On reapportionment, both parties have shown that they will abuse the redistricting process when give a chance. Will you support a bill in the next session to turn all future redistricting over to a non-partisan or bi-partisan independent commission?
Redistricting should be done in an impartial or bipartisan manner. We’re seeing how these politically gerrymandered districts are hurting our state and disenfranchising our citizens.