Name as it appears on the ballot: Nic Haag
Campaign website: www.nichaag.com
Phone number: (704) 461-3602
Years lived in the district:
1. In your view, what are the three most pressing issues North Carolina faces? If elected, what will you do to address these issues?
Criminal Justice reform – I would start by liberating recreational cannabis. It is not just about righting a wrong, or allowing everyone access to the most effective natural medicine known to man, it’s about reducing our prison population, clearing criminal records for thousands of wrongfully convicted citizens, and getting people back in the workforce. The most dangerous thing about cannabis is how the government enforces the prohibition.
Ending Government Monopolies – I would start with the ABC monopoly. The government should not be in the retail business in regards to spirituous liquors. Our current liquor laws in NC do nothing to discourage drinking, nor reduce the number of DUIs. All our liquor laws do is drive people to South Carolina to buy the same products for half the price.
Overturning HB2 – This is simply a law that was not needed and does infinitely more harm than good. I would seek to overturn it.
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?
I am challenging an incumbent in a two-way race. My opponent is notorious for simply doing nothing, he has voted with the majority, his own party, nearly 100% of the time. Normally I like lazy politicians, the less they do the better, but in this case our district has had privately managed toll lanes forced on us, something no other district in the state was forced to deal with. Other senators see ours as weak, and take advantage accordingly.
3. The most contentious issue of this year―and this election―has been HB 2, especially in light of the NCAA’s decision to pull its championships from the Tar Heel state. Do you believe that the law has provided any benefits to North Carolina? Do you believe it should be repealed root and branch? If not, in what ways would you like to alter it?
I believe HB2 needs to go. While I like the provision regarding minimum wage law, the rest of the law is garbage. While Charlotte was wrong to force LGBT acceptance, the state was wrong to ban it entirely. Rather than having people use the bathroom they most closely resembled, we have created a system where a now biological man, beard and all, could be forced into a woman’s room because he was born female. Several states will not change a birth certificate as their laws are already LGBT friendly, as such people born in another state may not have the option to alter their birth certificate.
4. Currently, twenty-nine states have minimum wages above the federal minimum. North Carolina is not among them. Do you believe North Carolina should raise its minimum wage―or, alternatively, give municipalities the ability to raise minimum wages within their jurisdictions?
Minimum wage laws are terrible. Economics was my field of study in college. I say this is a scholar, not a politician. All raising minimum wage does is drive up inflation. We should be far more concerned about the government devaluing our currency by printing money recklessly. Taxes are the number one expense most Americans have, if we stopped taxing people so much, people could live quite comfortably on $7.25hr. Municipalities should not be allowed to manipulate their own economies, nor should the state. In my view the federal government should not even have the authority to set a minimum wage.
5. In a similar vein: beyond the bathroom issue, HB 2 also overrode local antidiscrimination ordinances, which has become something of a pattern in recent years, with the legislature preempting local governments from passing laws it doesn’t like. Do you believe the state too often intrudes into local affairs? Why or why not?
Absolutely, the state always seems to want to steal a local power for itself. A local mayor I spoke to even told me as much. Aside from inter-county matters, the state should only intervene on blatantly unconstitutional matters like corruption and institutional discrimination.
6. What, in your view, is an ideal salary for a beginning teacher? If it is more than the $35,000 currently being earned by beginning teachers in North Carolina, how would you work with your colleagues to increase teacher pay?
I would prefer a system where starting teachers made about $80,000 and taught in a temporary trailer, vice a $35,000 teacher in a $100 million building. We spend way too much money on overhead and bureaucracy, than we do on the most important part of education, the teachers. I would push for a system where we cut out all levels of education bureaucracy above the local school boards and give them more autonomy. The people working closest to the kids should have the most authority, and the biggest paychecks. We would save money in the long run if we cut the administrative bloat and stopped building architectural marvels for schools.
7. A federal appeals court struck down the state law requiring voter ID and containing other voting restrictions. Do you agree or disagree with that decision? Please explain your position.
I do not agree with federal appeals court as I think they are interpreting the law wrong, but I don’t support the concept of Voter ID laws anyway. I do think there is merit to verifying voters, but not at the cost of disenfranchising the most vulnerable citizens. Most voter fraud is committed through absentee voting which voter id laws do not address. Election Day should be a national holiday, giving everyone a chance to vote.
8. In recent months, two public servants in the Department of Health and Human Services have accused administration officials of minimizing the risks that Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds pose to nearby water wells. Do you believe the state has taken the proper safeguards to protect drinking water?
No, I live in a community surrounded by several coal plants and ash ponds and it scares me. I do not think the state has the capacity to hold Duke Energy accountable. Given the utility powers granted to the energy monopoly, I believe Duke Energy should be subject to the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment and should pay just compensation when it devalues other’s land by poisoning ground water.
9. The current administration has been frequently criticized by environmental advocates over things like, for instance, the cleanup of Jordan Lake. Do you believe these criticisms are warranted? In what ways do you believe the state’s current environmental policies have succeeded or failed? What would you like to improve?
I believe the state’s environmental policies are being abused to profit political insiders. The state government only seems to care about environmental issues if someone connected to a powerful politician can somehow financially benefit. I believe our policies have no teeth due to political influence. I would like to see much more transparency with the way the state investigates disasters and coordinates clean up operations.
10. Democrats have called for an expansion of Medicaid, which would provide health coverage for 244,000 North Carolinians. Would you support such a move? Why or why not?
No, again my studies in Economics illustrate that when costs are differed to a third party, they inevitably rise. Healthcare costs are skyrocketing because patients are not the ones paying the bill, they don’t shop around and doctors don’t compete on prices. You would be hard pressed to get a hospital or doctor to even give you price on a given procedure. Healthcare should not be so damn complicated. I would much prefer those who qualify simply be given cash to manage their own healthcare. This would force people to value shop and get the most utility from their limited dollars.
11. Similarly, in recent months two large insurers have decided not to issue policies on North Carolina’s Affordable Care Act exchange, which puts those on the individual market in something of a precarious situation. What do you believe the state can or should do to improve its citizens’ health care?
Again, cash based healthcare. Health insurance was not designed for preventative care. It was designed for things that would bankrupt you like terminal illnesses or serious accidents. My sister is a doctor in Wilmington, she owns her practice, she only actually keeps 22 cents on the dollar for what she bills and insurance and taxes get the rest. Healthcare could be nearly 80% cheaper is we just paid cash, which is more than most people’s deductibles, we would be much better off without a bloated middleman destroying our health care system.
12. Name three things you would change in the current state budget and, if your changes would free up money, what your spending priorities would be.
I would eliminate the budget for the administrators in NC Department of Education. The state should do nothing more than evenly divide money between the counties. Let local school boards manage their district whole cloth, everything from hiring and firing teachers to education standards and cafeteria food. I would take the money and shore up teacher’s salaries.
I would like to encourage home schooling as an option and carve out a piece of the education budget to provide an incentive for parents to choose this option. NC pays over $8,400 per pupil per year. Simply giving 75% back to the parents of home schooled children would be a 25% savings for the taxpayers on every pupil.
I would impose a cap on the “rainy day” fund, which would compel the state to return any ‘extra’ money to the tax payers. We should not allow politicians to simply “play” with additional money, spending it on vanity projects simply because they have it. Only the bare minimum needed to operate the government should be taken in taxes, all extra should be given back.
13. Give an example of a time, during your political career, when you have changed your position as a result of a discussion with someone who held an opposing view.
My political career has yet to begin, but as an economist I know there is no shame in altering your opinion in the light of new information. Socrates said, “It’s the mark of a brilliant man, he who can entertain a thought without having to accept it”. As a Libertarian I have the luxury of not being beholden to a political party’s entire platform. I can in good faith observe democrat and republican viewpoints on issues and pick the one that fits the ideals of liberty and freedom best.