Name as it appears on the ballot: Ken Spaulding
Campaign website: www.kenspaulding.com
Phone number: 919-316-1055 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Years lived in state: 71
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1. In your view, what are the three most pressing issues facing North Carolina? If elected, how would you address them?
Education, jobs and voting rights. Upon election, I would work to see that each child in North Carolina would have a high quality education regardless of which county they were born and raised in. Currently, there is a great disparity between our larger more urban counties and our smaller more rural counties when it comes to the funding and carrying out of educational opportunities for our children. A child born in a small county in eastern North Carolina should receive the same high quality education as a child born in Wake County. We must find innovative ways to attack this disparity through a fair and representative manner of distribution of our overall state revenues applied to North Carolina's educational system
Jobs and economic growth are interconnected with the quality of our public education system. Over the last 30 years, I have worked in the private sector to help bring thousands of jobs and over $2 billion of economic investment in our state. For jobs and economic opportunities to be attracted to our state, we must have a clean environment, a broad based quality public education system and the technology capability to compete in a global society. This again should apply for both our smaller and larger counties alike. Some smaller counties lack basic Wi-Fi service, yet they deserve the same equal opportunity for economic growth and development to counter the unacceptable high unemployment that besets them. Many of these counties are heavily populated with minority populations. It is my intent to tackle this by calling upon our state to be active in eliminating this serious impediment in so many parts of our state. The right to vote has been an ongoing battle for many of us who marched over fifty years ago over this same issue. This is not an effort for "affirmative action" election laws as was stated in my opponent's, Roy Cooper's, preliminary brief defending the regressive Republican Voter ID laws in federal court in Winston Salem (as reported in the July 12, 2015 published edition of the New York Times). I say that the right to vote is a constitutional right and not affirmative action. I will do all that I can to oppose these terrible voter suppression laws.
2. If you are challenging an incumbent, what decisions has the incumbent made that you most disagree with? If you are an incumbent, what in your voting record and experience do you believe entitles you to another term? For both challengers and incumbents: In what ways would your election benefit the citizens of North Carolina?
My election as Governor of the State of North Carolina will send a message all across this state and Nation that North Carolina has now restored "progress" back into our previous reputation as the most "progressive" state in the South. My actions will be to work to end fracking and potential offshore drilling in our state. Medicaid Expansion will be pushed as one of my first actions. Reinstatement of teacher tenure, ending "private school vouchers" which bleed money away from our public schools and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will be top priorities.
3. Critics have argued that recent changes to North Carolina’s tax structure have benefited the wealthy while depriving the state of the resources it needs for things like education and infrastructure. Do you believe there is anything to these criticisms, or do you believe that the growth these tax changes produced offset any potential loss of revenue? What changes to the state’s tax policy would you support going forward?
I am opposed to tax breaks for the select few while raising the sales tax on us, the many, is unacceptable. It is my opinion that there is an attempt by the majority of the legislature and Governor to raise the sales tax on all goods and many services in our state. I am opposed to this and as Governor will tirelessly work to make the case for an end to this effort and to roll back some of these tax increases. We can prioritize in our budget to see that teacher pay and state employees pay are increased in a fair and sustained manner. Education and other state needs can also be prioritized in a more people oriented manner versus special interest control.
4. It’s estimated that 500,000 low-income North Carolinians would be covered if the state expanded Medicaid. If elected governor, would you be in favor of expanding Medicaid? Why or why not?
I support Medicaid Expansion. Hospitals are closing, people are getting sicker and sicker who need basic healthcare which Medicaid Expansion can assist. North Carolina has lost hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to other states for their sick and afflicted while our citizens continue to suffer. Our hospitals, doctors, nurses, physician assistants and other healthcare providers could have been paid to treat the sick and help prevent illnesses that beset our citizens. This is a clear case of selfish political politics costing some people their lives. This is unconscionable.
5. Do you support the $2.85 billion infrastructure bond referendum in March? Are the government projects proposed under the bond needed right now? In your view, is a bond the best mechanism to pay for these improvements? Do you believe the state can pay for the bond obligations it will incur without?
I am in favor of the bond issue due to our triple A bond rating, lower interest rates, needs of our colleges, universities, community colleges and state owned property. The people will decide. It is my desire that sober thought and not partisan politics will be the determining factor for the outcome of this vote. We do need to be careful about a heavy reliance on bond financing and recognize that "paying as we go" is a much better way to finance our needs.
6. How should we address immigration in North Carolina? Do you believe that recent moves to counteract undocumented immigration—the “sanctuary cities” legislation, for example—were necessary? Why or why not? Related: If you were elected governor, would you try to block Middle Eastern refugees from entering the state?
I am a resident of a former sanctuary city, Durham, and feel and felt that it was appropriate. I disagreed with the legislation that was passed. I support in-state tuition for DACA students. I feel that my opponents Roy Cooper and Pat McCrory were wrong on the Syrian Refugee issue of a "pause".
There is already an 18 to 24 month investigative vetting process by the FBI, Homeland Security, the State Department and the Defense Department before any of the Syrian refugees would be able to locate in our country. The safety and security of our Nation and State are paramount, however, this was not about safety; it was about base politics.
7. Do you support a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy? Under what circumstances would you support further restrictions on abortion in this state? Would you sign a bill, for instance, that limits private insurance coverage of abortion or requires counseling?
I am pro-choice. I do not support further restrictions on abortions in our state. I do not support a bill that limits private insurance coverage from covering an abortion or requiring counseling. These have been backdoor efforts to restrict a woman's right to choose
8. Do you support energy exploration of off North Carolina’s coasts? Do you believe that offshore drilling can be done safely? Are the safeguards currently in place sufficient?
I am absolutely opposed to offshore drilling. If it is man-made, it will sooner or later fail. We cannot afford to ruin our coastline, environment and tourist industry on the coast. I was born and raised in North Carolina and never thought I would see the day that our state would even consider and entertain such an unwarranted and environmentally insensitive measure.
9. Critics have accused the Department of Environmental Quality of, in essence, going easy on Duke Energy in regard to its coal-ash sites. Do you believe the state has appropriately dealt with coal ash?
The state has not appropriately dealt with Duke Energy. Both of my opponents, Pat McCrory and Roy Cooper have received substantial campaign funds from Duke Energy related sources. The coal ash issue and penalty were about to be rushed through to resolution by both the Republican administration and the Attorney General's office, until environmentalists spoke out and the federal investigative authorities stepped in and began their independent federal investigation. DEQ should not be a partner with the industries which they are supposed to regulate for the public's interest, they should be protectors for the public's health and safety.
10. The legislature has allowed a solar tax credit to expire even as the renewables industry became one of the strongest in the state? Do you believe this was wise, because the industry could stand without the state’s help? Should the state take additional steps to encourage solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources?
The solar tax credit should have been allowed to continue. As I travel through eastern North Carolina, I observe how some of our rural counties are beginning to be positive leaders in establishing solar farms for their economic growth and development. We, as a state, should be on the cutting edge on the promotion of renewable energy sources. Let's be leaders in North Carolina and not constantly followers.
11. In recent years, building toll lanes has become an increasingly popular way for the government to pay for the state’s roads. Do you support the increased use of toll lanes?
As a former member of the North Carolina Board of Transportation, I have some serious questions about toll "lanes" use. In Charlotte this approach has raised quite a bit of appropriate consternation. A private developer will play a significant role in the use, charges and control of the toll lane. One could argue that private profit and the benefits to the private developer of more congestion on the non-toll adjacent roads could provide a conflict of interest between the driving public and the toll lane company.
12. 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.
My principled stand is one I had to take during my former tenure in the NC General Assembly. A fierce fight to support our HBCU's (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) which will require a tenacity and strong advocacy due to the Republican effort to close or "merge" our most needed and respected minority institutions of higher learning. As a graduate of an HBCU, I take special interest and experience in this upcoming battle. I know what our HBCU's mean to a major segment of North Carolinians and how some Republicans have no understanding of the importance and positive culture of these important institutions. I fought and won this battle at the end of the 1970's during my tenure in the North Carolina House of Representatives. I know the fierceness of the battle and the route to success.