2014 Senate 22 General Election
Name as it appears on the ballot: Mike Woodard
Full legal name, if different: James Michael Woodard
Date of birth: 2/20/59
Home address: 2009 Woodrow Street, Durham, NC 27705
Mailing address, if different from home: 732 Ninth Street, Durham, NC 27705
Campaign website: mikewoodard.com
Occupation & employer: Administrator, Duke University and Health System
Home phone: 919.286.0188
Work phone: 919.599.5143
Cell phone: 919.599.5143
1. How would you rate the previous session of the General Assembly? Explain.
The 2013-14 session was the most destructive in North Carolina history. The extremist majority pushed through legislation and budgets that : continued dismantling our public education system; increased tuition for our public universities and community colleges; limited access to healthcare for all North Carolinians; rolled back decades of reasonable environmental protections; restricted women’s access to safe healthcare; implemented a tax scheme that places greater burdens on working families, small businesses, and family farms; and initiated a rural economic development plan that refocuses on Raleigh-based bureaucrats rather than local options.
FOR INCUMBENT: What have been your most difficult decisions in your current capacity? Why?
Choosing to support the Senate’s Coal Ash Management bill (S729) was a difficult decision, as the bill was not as strong I preferred. After co-authoring the toughest coal ash cleanup bill introduced this session, and offering or supporting a number of amendments to improve S729, I ultimately decided to support the bill and urged my caucus colleagues to do likewise.
As I said during the floor debate, we needed to move forward with a cleanup plan and I would not let “the perfect stand in the way of the good.” Our support allowed our Senate conferees to negotiate against weaker proposals from the Governor and the House.
2. Should the state further cut public education or increase the public education budget? The state should increase funding for public education.
What are your thoughts on the recent cuts to teacher tenure?
I fully support the use of career status for our public school teachers and have worked against efforts to restrict its use.
What are your views on charter schools and voucher programs? I support charter schools as long as they are required to meet the same general standards as traditional public schools, meet other requirements related to transportation and reduced/free lunches, and work closely with their local LEAs. I am opposed to voucher programs.
3. What are your budgetary priorities?
Restoring the Earned Income Tax Credit
Expanded funding for K-12 public education
Reduction in university and community college tuition
Increased funding for DENR
Restoring the Clean Water Management Trust Fund
Restoring recurring funding for the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund
Restoring the Historic Preservation Tax Credit
Retaining the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard
4. Do you believe the Racial Justice Act should be reinstated?
Do you believe it’s time for North Carolina to abolish the death penalty?
I support a moratorium because we have not had a full, thorough discussion about the death penalty in our state.
5. Are you in favor of the Voter ID law? Why or why not?
I voted against the VIVA/Election Reform bill. Of the 50-page bill, only three pages dealt with voter IDs; the remaining 47 pages restricted voting rights for NC citizens.
Do you believe North Carolina’s Voter ID law makes it easier or harder for citizens to vote? Much harder.
6. What is your position on opening North Carolina’s coastline to off-shore drilling and exploration?
I don’t know enough to make a final decision, especially since the General Assembly has not considered legislation related to offshore drilling. However, I am very concerned about the potential damage to our state’s coastline and the ocean. Based on the fracking legislation we have considered the last two years, I fear that any offshore exploration legislation will be short on protections.
I voted against the fracking legislation considered during the 2013-14 session. The various bills did not provide enough protection, included liberal compulsory pooling rules, and were sped through the legislative process in violation of promises made by sponsors.
And should additional nuclear plants in North Carolina be encouraged, discouraged or stopped?
Nuclear energy should be a part of the mix of clean energy sources. We must continue to ensure that its production is safe, affordable, and safely managed.
7. What are your views on gay marriage?
State and federal governments should not prohibit same-sex marriages.
8. What are your views on the Moral Monday movement?v
I have been fully supportive of the Moral Monday/Forward Together partners and their efforts.
9. What are your views on collective bargaining and the effects of North Carolina’s “right-to-work” law?
I would support collective bargaining, but doubt that any such legislation will be considered, given our history as a “right-to-work” state.
Would you support a bill enshrining “right-to-work” in the state constitution? No. This action is not necessary.
Would you support a law that allowed public employees to engage in collective bargaining? Yes.
10. If elected, what would you do to protect North Carolina’s environment and natural resources?
I will continue my 10-year record of working for: effective policies that protect our air, water, and land; alternate energy sources; new transportation options; and effective punishment for polluters.
Do you believe state environmental regulatory bodies need more funding or less funding, and why?
More funding. Significant cutbacks have limited DENR’s ability to properly protect our environment and to respond to crises. The Eden coal ash spill proved that point, as many field positions that were eliminated in the 2013 budget were reinstated in the 2014 adjustments.
11. 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 sponsorship of S226, Repeal 1935 Durham County Firearms Act, raised many questions and concerns from the residents of the 22nd District and beyond. And the final dispensation of the records is still raising concerns.
Many people were confused about the original law and were puzzled about my sponsorship. I received dozens of emails and phone calls, and the bill was the subject of numerous email blasts by various interest groups of all political stripes.
I chose to sponsor this legislation after talking with constituents and doing a great deal of research about the issues. Despite the concerns raised, I worked hard for its passage because the original 1935 law was passed as a misguided Jim Crow effort to stem violence and became an ineffective tool and an unnecessary infringement of property laws and privacy during the 80 years it was in effect.
12. Do you support a woman’s right to choose to terminate her pregnancy? Yes.
Would you sign a bill requiring that a woman, before choosing abortion, undergo an ultrasound? No.
Be counseled about alternatives? No.
Or in other ways be discouraged from choosing an abortion? No.
13. 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? Yes.