Name as it appears on the ballot: Terence Everitt
Campaign website: www.terenceeveritt.com
Phone number: 919-435-6200
Years lived in the district: 6 years
1. In your view, what are the three most pressing issues North Carolina faces? If elected, what will you do to address these issues?
The three most pressing issues facing North Carolina are (i) the underfunding of our public schools, (ii) the increased tax burden on our middle class families and (iii) job creation.
First, we need to fully fund our public schools and pay our teachers a salary that is at a minimum at the national average. Mr. Malone has voted time and again to underfund our schools. Many of our teachers are working two jobs to make ends meet or even leaving the state to find work for better pay. North Carolina has fallen to among the lowest in the nation in per-pupil spending and teacher pay. And yet, year after year, Mr. Malone has voted for budgets that do not adequately fund our local schools - all while cutting taxes for large out-of- state corporations and millionaires.
Second, Mr. Malone has voted to shift more of the tax burden onto our middle class families. We need to eliminate the unnecessary new fees and taxes, and bring back things that help our families, like the child care tax credit, the back-to-school sales tax holiday and tax cuts for college savings plans.
Finally, we need to work on job creation. And not just any jobs – good jobs that pay a living wage. Mr. Malone and his colleagues have failed to create jobs which pay workers a wage that can meet the needs of our working families. As a result, there has been a significant rise in low-wage jobs and one-third of workers in the state earn below a poverty level wage. This is the 2nd worst ranking in the nation and impacts our overall economic health. We need to invest in our people, our schools and our infrastructure in order to attract and support businesses that provide good jobs that families can rely on.
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 most disagree with Mr. Malone’s repeated refusal to adequately fund our local schools and to pay our teachers a salary that is at least at the national average. I also strongly disagree with his vote to side with Duke Energy and have taxpayers foot the bill to clean-up their coal ash that has polluted our drinking water and endangered our health. He has repeatedly voted to favor out-of-state corporations and special interests over our middle class families. He simply has the wrong priorities and it’s time for a change.
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 understand trying to protect our children and I believe in championing public safety, but that is not what HB2 is about. There are already laws on the books against peeping, sexual assault, and other related crimes. HB2 does nothing to enhance or further these laws. Indeed, HB2 has no enforcement mechanism of its own and provides no punishment for violators. Rather than delivering a benefit to North Carolina, HB2 has cost us hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs. Moreover, the long-term damage Mr. Malone and his colleagues have done to North Carolina’s reputation and economic development potential in passing HB2 will take years to undo. It will make it harder to recruit jobs and companies to our state in the future. By voting for and supporting HB2, Mr. Malone demonstrated his complete lack of understanding of the business community and how it functions. HB2 should be repealed.
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?
Today, two working adults with two children would each need to earn $14.28/hour to make a living wage in North Carolina - nearly twice our current minimum wage of $7.25/hour. People who work hard at 40 hour a week jobs should not be living in poverty or worry about how they are going to feed their kids. Clearly, there is room to increase North Carolina’s minimum wage. If nothing else, municipalities should have the authority to raise minimum wages in their jurisdictions.
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?
Big-government politicians like Mr. Malone have too often intruded into local affairs in this state. Unlike my opponent, I am an adherent to the idea that the government closest to the people serves the people best. I do not think it is the role of state government to interfere in local matters, especially for their own, shortsighted, political self-interest.
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?
Our teachers should be paid at a minimum at the national average to make sure North Carolina can attract and retain the best and brightest. We need to make sure our kids have access to a world-class education that prepares them for the jobs of the future and we cannot do that without quality teachers in our classrooms. An investment in our children’s future is the greatest investment in our community. For too long North Carolina teachers have been underappreciated and not treated with the respect they deserve.
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 agree with the court’s unanimous decision. The voter ID law removed commonsense voting reforms like same-day registration and shortened early voting by a whole week. In 2012, more than half of all votes were cast early. While we should in no way tolerate voter fraud, we should protect the right of all eligible voters to vote without unnecessary obstacles or intimidation.
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. Politicians like Chris Malone have chosen to stand with Duke Energy rather than North Carolina families. They have slow-walked the coal ash cleanup on behalf of Duke Energy and stuck taxpayers with the cost. Families whose drinking water has been impacted should at the very least be given accurate information. Governor McCrory’s administration failed this basic test. North Carolina families deserve better than that.
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?
These criticisms are clearly warranted. Mr. Malone and his colleagues have stripped the state of vital protections of our drinking water, given amnesty to polluters and left taxpayers to pay for cleanup. We need to hold polluters to account, pass the Jordan Lake Rules and reinstate the Conservation Tax Credit.
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?
Yes. Medicaid expansion would mean the creation of upwards of 43,000 jobs here in North Carolina and a return of billions of dollars of our own tax dollars that are currently being sent to other states.
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?
We need to put politics aside and expand access to quality health insurance to all North Carolina families, and lower the costs for everyone. This is yet another reason why North Carolina should expand access to Medicaid. Medicaid expansion would decrease the number of people without health insurance, thereby lowering the costs for everyone, including those buying it on the exchange, because hospitals will no longer have to pass along the costs of uninsured patients to others. This is simply an issue where ideology and partisan differences have to give way to facts and common sense.
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 put more money in our public schools to raise our per pupil spending, pay our teachers a wage that is at least at the national average and cut wasteful pork barrel spending and tax loopholes for millionaires and out-of-state corporations.
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.
I don’t have a great answer to this question yet. I’m a parent and a husband, not a politician. Obviously the contentious partisan issues get the most attention at the General Assembly, but I know there is also a lot of good work that is done out of the spotlight on a bi-partisan basis. If I am elected, I look forward to working with anyone who has a good idea that can make our state a better place.