2014 Senate General Election
Name as it appears on the ballot: Sarah Crawford
Full legal name, if different:
Date of Birth: 7/2/1981
Home Address: 4225 Cashew Dr, Raleigh NC 27516
Mailing address, if different from home: Campaign address: PO Box 774, Rolesville NC, 27571
Campaign Website: www.sarahcrawford.org
Occupation & Employer: Director of Development and Public Relations, Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities
Home phone: N/A
Work phone: N/A
Cell phone: 919-344-0923
1) How would you rate the previous session of the General Assembly? Explain. FOR CHALLENGERS: What decisions has the incumbent made that you most disagree with? What would you have done different?
I am running for public office because the General Assembly and my opponent have taken North Carolina off track. My opponent and the current General Assembly have made extreme budgetary decisions that allow for tax giveaways to millionaires and out-of-state corporations while depleting our public schools of the resources needed to maintain a strong education system. Funding for teachers and classrooms has been cut, putting North Carolina 51st in the country for teachers, behind all other states and the District of Colombia. Investing in education is not just morally right for our children, but it is also right for our economy. We cannot continue to cut the things that are essential to our growth and prosperity in North Carolina. In addition, last year our government decided to reject fully funded federal Medicaid expansion, leaving 500,000 North Carolinians uninsured. This decision will cost North Carolina $51 billion and upwards of 20,000 jobs in the next ten years, and it was the wrong decision. We should be investing in people and the infrastructure of this state in order to keep North Carolina moving in the right direction.
2) Should the state 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 school and voucher programs?
North Carolina must continue to increase our investment in our teachers and our classrooms, bringing teacher pay and per pupil spending to the national average. We must create a long term, sustainable plan to invest in our teachers and our classrooms, and we must create an environment that supports veteran teachers. I do not support removing career status from teachers and disallowing for due process rights under the law. Public taxpayer dollars should be invested in public schools and I do not support voucher programs that use public funding to pay private school tuition. Charter schools can provide a safe space that can facilitate education reforms and develop new teaching methods, and because they use public taxpayer dollars should be held to the same rules and accountability as public schools. There should be a reasonable limit placed on the number of charter schools allowed so that funding can continue to be invested in traditional public schools.
3) What are your budgetary priorities?
My first priority is public education. North Carolina must invest in our children and our classrooms, and increase teacher pay to the national average. A great public education system is the backbone of any strong economy, and in order to attract employers to this state, we must maintain a strong public education system. This year our current General Assembly instituted a pay increase for teachers that does not respect or invest in our most veteran teachers. We cannot play partisan politics with our children’s education. We must create a long-term, sustainable plan to fund our teachers and our classrooms, and work to bring North Carolina back on track.
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?
The Racial Justice Act was an important piece of legislation to ensure that race is not used as the basis of an argument in seeking the death penalty. In light of current events in other states, I do believe we need to take a serious look at the death penalty. As a mother of two little girls, I cannot say how I would feel should I ever be put in the situation to have to face this issue personally, but I do have serious concerns in light of the recent mismanagement of the implementation of the death penalty.
5) 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?
We must ensure that all registered voters have access to fair elections, encourage access to the polls, and not put in place barriers that restrict the right to vote. The Voter ID law as it is written makes it harder for citizens to vote by making changes to voter registration and limiting early voting days. I support same day voter registration, increasing early voting hours to their previous levels, and reinstating pre-registration.
6) 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?
I believe in an “all of the above” approach to energy exploration, but we must be sure that in our exploration, we are putting in place safeguards for our clean air and clean water for future generations. North Carolina is a leader in the clean energy industry in the south, and we must continue to explore energy opportunities that are sustainable and are the best options for both energy independence and the protection of our air and water. I do not support the decision of our current General Assembly to fast-track fracking in North Carolina, without any protections in place to ensure that we do not poison our drinking water.
7) What are your views on gay marriage?
North Carolina's newly passed amendment goes beyond a ban on gay marriage, refusing to recognize any kind of partnership or union that isn't marriage. This type of broad language puts North Carolina families at risk by weakening domestic violence laws, child custody laws between unmarried parents, and private agreements between unmarried couples. The constitutional amendment harms North Carolina's ability to keep good businesses, attract new jobs, and attract and keep talented entrepreneurs.
8) What are your views on the Moral Monday movement?
Democracy works best when everyone is involved, and I encourage voters and activists at all ends of the political spectrum to participate in a level that they are comfortable that does not violate any laws. Participation is what drives the democratic model, and we must continue to encourage not only participation at the polls, but continued community involvement and voter education through community driven events in a safe, law-abiding environment.
9) 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?
Workers have certain basic legal and human rights to fair and safe working conditions. Workers’ rights also include the right to enter into a collective bargaining agreement and negotiate for fair pay and benefits. Workers’ rights must be protected and defended. Public sector workers and their employers should be able to commonly enter into collective bargaining relationships if they mutually agree, as they are allowed under current law. It is critical for our public servants such as teachers, firefighters, public safety officers and other valuable public employees to have a voice on the job.
10) 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?
Protecting our drinking water supplies, recreation, fisheries, and wildlife is very important to me, and it is crucial that we maintain the resources necessary to remain compliant with standards (such as sedimentation and erosion control and stormwater standards). Should budgetary restraints allow for it, I would be open to supporting legislation to hire additional staff at Department Environment and Natural Resources in order to adequately inspect development sites for compliance in these areas. Additionally, I would support legislation that allows North Carolina to set standards to protect our natural heritage. During the 2013 legislative session, the North Carolina general assembly passed Senate Bill 612, which prohibits local governments from establishing their own environmental regulation and removes all state and local regulations stronger than the federal regulations. North Carolina has been a leader in the south when it comes to environmental protection, and this legislation takes us back decades, putting our air and water at risk. I am opposed to this legislation, which takes local control away from municipalities, and would support any efforts to repeal S612.
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.
As a professional in health and human services, I see first-hand every day the role that Medicaid plays in the lives of families who really need it – families with children and adults with special needs that rely on Medicaid for their very livelihood. I will work to protect Medicaid for families who need it, ensure that it is adequately funded and that provider agencies can do their jobs in delivering services across North Carolina. Additionally, I will work to accept fully funded federal expansion of Medicaid that brings jobs to this state, insures hundreds of thousands of individuals, and allows hospitals to treat patients without having to lay-off employees or close their doors.
12) Do you support a woman’s right to choose to terminate her pregnancy? Would you sign a bill requiring that woman, before choosing abortion, undergo an ultrasound? Be counseled about alternatives? Or in other ways be discouraged from choosing an abortion?
This is one of the hardest and most personal decisions that a woman will make and therefore it should be a decision between a woman, her doctor and her god. Women should not be subjected to the government intervening in personal medical and religious decisions that restrict access to a legal procedure as interpreted by the Supreme Court.
13) On reapportionment, both parties have shown that they will abuse the redistricting process when given 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?
I support the creation of a non-partisan commission for the purpose of determining future state and Congressional district lines. Putting the redistricting process in the hands of a nonpartisan office will remove undue political influence from redistricting and lower the chances of gerrymandered districts that favor one group of people over another. An independent process would restore fairness in the political system and create more competitive districts to better serve the democratic process.