Name as it appears on the ballot: Steve Wilkins
Full legal name, if different: Stephen P. Wilkins
Date of birth: 3/27/60
Occupation & employer: Business Development, The Boeing Company
1. What do you see as the most important issues facing North Carolina and the nation?
The economy, jobs, and education and all three are interrelated.
If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?
On the economy: We must get our fiscal house in order, simplify and revamp our tax code, and provide more help to small businesses and community banks in the form of tax breaks and relief from some regulations that were better designed for large businesses and banks. I will work to accomplish this.
Jobs and education go together. My friends in small businesses and business leaders I speak to in my role with our local Chamber of Commerce say they often have job openings that are hard to fill with qualified people. Business leaders and teachers I speak to tell me we need more vocational, technical, and career preparation in our schools. I'll work with our local and regional leaders to determine and leverage the Federal role in accomplishing these objectives.
My third priority is reestablishing the Congress' Constitutional role in decisions about war and appropriations. The President must be able to rapidly respond to emergencies when our citizens, our territory, and our allies are directly and gravely threatened. In the past twenty years the Congress has gradually ceded its Constitutional authority to declare war to Presidents who have taken us into large, long, expensive conflicts that we call wars but don't declare as such. Checks and balances only work when each branch of government jealously guards their specified Constitutional responsibilities. The same goes for appropriations where, as evidenced by last year's Budget Control Act, the current Congress let a small committee and large automatic budget cut put us in a looming fiscal crisis. This is a dodge of Congress' responsibility for appropriations.
2. What issue or issues made you want to run for this office?
We need new leadership in Washington. The current Congress has been ineffective. They are not working together to move our country forward. Furthermore, too many are working in their own self interest to enrich themselves and special interests. Recent revelations about insider trading and the amount of super PAC money are proof. The past two years, in particular, have been so bad that much of the public seems discouraged. It doesn't have to be this way. Let's create the needed turnover in Congress this election year
3. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective in the U.S. House? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.
My background as a career military officer prepared me to work with people of all walks of life, to treat everyone with respect and dignity, and for selfless service to our nation. I served our nation in three conflicts abroad. As a former legislative liaison to the US Congress, I prepared testimony delivered to Congressional committees by senior leaders of the military, briefed Congressional staffers and prepared meetings with members of Congress. I know how our Congress operates. My background as a civic leader in my community gives me firm foundations and connections regarding local issues and concerns. I served on a school board, was chairman of my church council, am on my county's Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, served on my town's lakes and watershed board, and served on two school advisory committees. I am the only Democrat running for the Second US District that lives in my district. My primary opponents both live in the Fourth District. As a native of North Carolina, I am firmly rooted in our history and culture. I am ready and willing to represent the people of the Second District on day one in office and work across the aisle to do what's needed to keep us safe, allow us to prosper, and enable future generations to pursue the American dream.
4. As you've campaigned in NC-2, what are you hearing from voters? What's foremost on their minds?
Our citizens are concerned that people they've sent to Washington to do the business of our nation are acting selfishly and ineffectively. I hear most people speaking out for term limits and saying they want to vote out incumbents. I also hear disbelief that we are cutting education and raising tuition at the very time when average North Carolinians cannot afford it.
5. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
Dealing with our budget crisis. I will work across the aisle. I will support tax reform, increased revenue and budget cuts on a reasonable schedule, not the drastic cuts under the badly flawed Budget Control Act. All segments of our society will have to work together and contribute to get our fiscal house back in order. The one exception to that is education – we must invest more in our future through education and we must make changes in education to promote the full spectrum of career preparation for our greatest assets, our young people.
6. If these issues haven't been addressed above, would you please comment on:
a. What do you see as the primary sources of our current economic problems? What measures should Congress use to address them?
See #5 above
b. Evaluate the war in Afghanistan and the situation in Iran. What is our goal in each place, in your view?
The President's plan, based on conditions today, is a good timeline and means of winding down our presence in Afghanistan. It is a war that was very badly managed and neglected early on, thus our involvement has been too large for too long. Our brave young troops and able leaders in the military have served us well and set conditions as best we can for the Afghan people to begin setting their own course for the future. On Iran: We need to show patience and restraint. We need to use good old American diplomacy and economic means to bolster our alliances, discourage supports of Iran, and pressure Iran's leaders who don't have strong support of their people but whose people may close ranks with them if threatened too much, too quickly. Too many of our aspiring political leaders are being careless with tough talk without realizing that the world listens to us more than they know. We do need to prevent Iran from deploying operational nuclear weapons but need to measure our actions. War in the Persian Gulf could spin out of control quickly and have long lasting repercussions. We need to fall back on our long history of pragmatic world leadership.
c. Would you support repeal of the Affordable Care Act? What reforms would you make to the health care system?
No. The ACA is a good road map forward for health care reform. No doubt we will discover some parts of it later on that will need to be adjusted, expanded, or eliminated. If I'm in the US Congress I'll work across the aisle to work for fixes that benefit our nation as a whole.
7. What is your position on capital punishment?
I am opposed to capital punishment. It does not deter crime. It is too expensive to implement. It is not worth making one single mistake and we've seen in recent years, due to review of evidence utilizing DNA, that serious mistakes have been made and innocent people sent to death-row.
8. What is your position on Amendment One?
I am opposed to Amendment One as it is unnecessary government interference in peoples' lives and does nothing to improve anything about North Carolina. It is a terrible waste of the General Assembly's time and our tax dollars at a time when their energies should be spent on the economy, jobs, and education.
9. Do you support women's reproductive rights, including the "right to choose" as set out by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade?
Do you support the recently passed state requirements on ultrasounds and waiting periods for women seeking an abortion?
Do you support attempts to eliminate funds for Planned Parenthood?
10. What changes, if any, do you support in federal entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans programs, etc.)
All of the mentioned programs, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Veterans must be put on sound financial footing for the long haul. Fraud, waste, and abuse in these programs must be vigorously pursued and the taxpayers' dollars recovered when errors or criminal activity occurs. The Obama administration has put emphasis on eliminating fraud in these programs and is prosecuting and recovering public money at a record rate but the emphasis must continue.
11. Do you approve of efforts by the Bush and Obama administrations to bailout major banks?
Yes, but the government should have structured pay-back plans as was done with the automaker bailouts and limits on executive bonuses during the pay-back period.
How about the Obama administration's bailout of U.S. automakers?
Yes. This was a better deal for our taxpayers in that the automakers had rules to follow, labor was at the table and had to conform to the agreements, companies were forced to spinoff unprofitable entities, and taxpayers were assured of recovering much of our money.
12. Both parties have been criticized for overreaching during the redistricting process. Would you support an independent commission drawing the lines in the future?
Yes. I believe it is essential and must be put into state law soon.