Name as it appears on the ballot: Holly Jones
Campaign website: HollyJones.org
Phone number: 828-774-6989
Years lived in state: 53
What are the three most important issues facing North Carolina? If elected, how will you address those issues? Please be specific.
Public education—We need to raise teacher pay and per pupil spending to the national average.
We need to support a living wage to increase wages for people who have seen their incomes stagnate.
We need government reform to prevent state officials from meddling in local affairs like redistricting local elections.
What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective as lieutenant governor? (This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.)
As a county commissioner, I gained a reputation for finding solutions. I secured funding for two schools in disadvantaged areas of Buncombe County and I brought together law enforcement, the District Attorney’s office, social services and nonprofit agencies to implement a protocol to reduce domestic violence. Working with people and organizations of all backgrounds to get things done will help get North Carolina back on the right track.
How do you define yourself politically, and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
I consider myself a pragmatic progressive. I believe that we should move forward with what can be accomplished to make life better for all of our citizens. On the Buncombe County Commission I led the effort to offer benefits to same-sex partners and to include LGBT in our anti-discrimination ordinance, policies that faced stiff resistance at first but now are widely accepted.
What is your vision for creating jobs in North Carolina? How would you advise the governor to help people who want to start small businesses and protect people who already do?
North Carolina is truly the land of opportunity. We have coasts and mountains that are growing and creating jobs through tourism and traditional industries like fishing and logging. We have a dynamic tech and banking sector, but we have large areas that have been left out. We need to improve infrastructure to support modern industries and we can improve job training to attract new industries. We should offer tax breaks for start-ups and locally owned businesses and shift our emphasis away from incentives to large employers who may or may not stay here.
How do you plan to distinguish yourself as lieutenant governor and show that the office isn’t merely a staging ground for a future gubernatorial run?
I believe the lieutenant governor’s office can be a vehicle for promoting new policies and highlighting new ideas. I would partner with a Democratic governor to build support for more progressive legislation and also give voice to new ideas that might not get as much attention without some help.
On what issue(s) and/or action(s) do you most sharply disagree with Governor McCrory? What would you have done differently?
When the governor kicked people off of unemployment insurance and then reduced benefits, he turned his back on North Carolinians who had already been traumatized by the Great Recession. We don’t need a government that is mean-spirited or vindictive. Many of those people have dropped out of the workforce and are a lost resource. Had I been governor, I would have worked to find resources to support those people with job training and other programs.
What has Governor McCrory done that you consider the most praiseworthy?
He attempted to stand up to extreme reaches of his party when he vetoed Senate Bill 2, the magistrates’ bill. Even if he was unable to lobby the support to uphold his veto it was still a step in the right direction. To show that government officials can’t pick and choose how to do their jobs and that institutional discrimination will not be tolerated in North Carolina.
Name at least one policy (or more) that gives you cause to stand up to the consensus of your own political party, and explain why.
While most Democrats supported the lottery, I opposed it. I’m still opposed to it because I believe it serves as a regressive tax. I’m also uncomfortable with the government serving up a game of chance.
In early January, the current lieutenant governor sidetracked a report on charter schools by the State Board of Education, claiming that findings about wealth and racial imbalances were “too negative.” Please defend that action, or explain why you disagree with it.
I strongly disagree with the current Lt. Governor’s actions. In fact it is part of a disturbing trend to continually mislead the public about ongoing trends in public education in our state. Whether it’s deceptive videos about teacher pay and per-pupil spending or the dismissal of this report, Dan Forest has been no champion of public education.