Name as it appears on the ballot: Sig Hutchinson
Full legal name, if different: Sigmon L. Hutchinson
Date of birth: Nov. 7th 1952
Campaign website: www.SigforSenate.com
Occupation & employer: Sig Hutchinson Communications, LLC
1. Gov. Perdue is proposing a 3/4ths of 1-cent sales tax increase to balance the budget and avoid more cuts to education. Do you support her proposal? A different tax increase? Or no tax increase?
Yes I do. Public education brought North Carolina into the 20th Century with an educated workforce and world class universities and this proposal will help keep us top-of-class in the 21st Century. Unfortunately, when the last legislature did not renew the cent sales tax, it cost the state thousands of teacher's jobs, larger class sizes and less direct time with students. This is clearly moving North Carolina in the wrong direction and will cost us jobs and employers looking for a talented available workforce in the future.
2. Do you support the Racial Justice Act? Is it time for North Carolina to abolish the death penalty?
Yes I do. We have seen that there are too many mistakes being or have the potential to be made within our judicial system and greater protections and systems need to be in place to ensure that no guilty person serves time and if they do serve time, that procedures are in place to allow them the opportunity to prove their innocence.
3. Are you in favor of a Voter ID law? Why or why not? What steps can the state take to increase voter participation in elections?
Democracy works when the people's voices are heard and to that end, we need to encourage as many people as possible who are legally entitled to vote to cast their vote. We have seen that whereas voter fraud is almost nonexistent, voter suppression is a real problem. We do need to focus on fair, elections where every vote is counted and every voter has an equal opportunity to cast a vote.
4. What is your opinion of Amendment One, the amendment to ban gay marriages, civil unions and all other domestic partnerships other than the marriage of one man and one woman?
Amendment One is bad for jobs and bad for North Carolina. Companies, many of which we are working to attract have already made the transition to offer full benefits to domestic partners. These professionals and companies can choose to work anywhere. To be attractive to the creative class professionals and the companies they are starting and working for, we need to provide for the greatest in flexibility and stay away from issues that cause divisiveness, harm and cost North Carolina jobs.
5. Do you support a woman's right to choose to terminate her pregnancy? Would you sign a bill requiring that a woman, before choosing abortion, undergo an ultrasound? Be counseled about alternatives? Or in other ways be discouraged from choosing an abortion?
The government has no place in the doctor's office making decisions that should be made between a physician and an informed patent. The radical right is slowly working to systemically take away the rights of women by restricting access to women's health and women's health care including life saving health screening and birth control. Women of all parties should be outraged by this reactionary thinking, it is a step back in time toward something we thought was long settled -- as not only an equal right issue but also a human rights issue.
6. Should the state take additional steps to encourage solar, wind and other renewable energy sources? Should additional nuclear plants in North Carolina be encouraged, discouraged or stopped?
Absolutely! Renewal energy is good for the environment, good for jobs, and good for North Carolina. With the NC Solar Center and Wind Working Group developing technology at the Centennial Campus, this is the poster child of what our future could look like. Technology being created at our research campuses; patented and developed as a venture back Public/Private Partnership; manufactured here in North Carolina and creating jobs, installed and maintained this technology and these jobs that can't be outsourced. All this is creating high efficiency clean energy that is making our planet cleaner and our citizens healthier. To that end, we need to increase the renewal energy portfolio standard to include more wind and solar in the mix. As far as nuclear power, it seems that the cost/liability issues associated with nuclear and the financing of nuclear plants will ultimately make other less dangerous and cleaner technology a desirable option.
7. What should we do about fracking—extracting natural gas by fracturing rock underground? Do you view it as a technology ready to use in North Carolina? Or one to be studied carefully before any decision about it is made?
What has made North Carolina strong and will keep us strong into the 21st Century is intellectual capital such as our great public education system and great universities; and our natural capital such as our coast, mountains, streams, lakes, forests, and wildlife diversity. If we can focus our state on our strengths being our great education, universities, creative and intelligent workforce and our natural beauty, then young creative professionals will continue to come here in droves by choice. Fracking has nothing to do with intellectual capital or our natural beauty and really only detracts from our competitive advantage. Let Texas and Louisiana and other state have the dirty, dangerous short-term gains while we take the high road towards an educated population and living in the best and most beautiful state in the country.
8. Will you support putting the proposed 1/2-cent sales tax for transit on the ballot in Wake County in 2012? Will you vote for or against it in a referendum?
Absolutely, as Past Chair of Triangle Transit and current board member as well as an advocate for bicycle, pedestrian transportation, we need more choices in our transportation mode.
Wake County will double in size in the next twenty years and the question before us is how we double in size while improving our quality of life. We can easily see what failure in transportation looks like... Atlanta.
A city losing business by the droves as companies refuse to move there because their employees can't get around and refuse to move there. Transportation choices have to be part of our future where the Triangle region is the largest metropolitan area of its size in the country without a fixed guide way rail system for passengers.
The bottom line is that our citizens deserve a choice in how they move around the region and quite honestly, it's embarrassing that the current leadership at the county commission do not think enough of our citizens to allow them to make their own decisions on transit by scheduling a referendum on the 1/2 sales tax.
9. With Dorothea Dix Hospital closing, should the state give or sell the 306-acre Dix tract for use as a park? What should the future of Dix Hill be, and what role should the state play in its future?
We definitely need to preserve Dix for a park and we definitely need to take care of the mental health of our citizens in North Carolina who have not been treated with the care, respect or the dignity that they deserve over the past decade years. I propose that we look at creating a public/private partnership to raise and put in place a $100M Mental Health Trust Fund that upon completion, the Park would be deeded to the City of Raleigh. This could meet the needs of all stakeholders of creating the central park Raleigh is looking for while going a long way into living into the legacy of Dorothea Dix and the dignity of our mentally ill patients.
10. The General Assembly's been criticized for years as a place where the majority rules and takes unfair advantage to hold onto power, depriving the other party and the public of due-process rights that are basic to a democracy. Do you agree with that criticism? If so, what reforms would you support to make the legislature run better?
In talking with voters, the most common complaint I hear is their frustration of elected leaders not working together to solve our problems of the people but rather living by a "my way or the highway" attitude and punishment if you don't go 100% along with the right wing tea party agenda, and it makes no difference if you're a republican or a democrat.
If you're against us, you're out by redistricting or by funding of an opponent or even being ostracized ion by your own party. Campaign finance reform could go a long way toward restricting contributions; making only people eligible for contributions to campaigns and full disclosure and transparency in campaigns. It's time to restore civility to politics where people of different views can agree to disagree, while still being friends and colleagues and working to find common ground and common interests.
11. 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?
Absolutely, and in addition to having a nonpartisan commission to set fair and equally distributed districts, I would add an additional measure. Turn elections over to a nonpartisan fully-funded group to ensure that our elections are fair and open. The mission is clear: Every vote for every eligible voter is counted and every voter has a much of an opportunity to cast a ballot as possible.