The INDY’s Endorsements for the N.C. General Assembly | Our Endorsements | Indy Week
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The INDY’s Endorsements for the N.C. General Assembly 

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GENERAL ASSEMBLY

N.C. House, District 11

Duane Hall

During his four years in office, Representative Duane Hall has been one of the most consistently progressive members of the House; he's fiercely pro-choice, was one of the main sponsors of a bill to get North Carolina to a $15 minimum wage by 2020, opposed HB 2 from the beginning, and has generally been solid on civil rights issues.

Hall has two opponents: Republican Ray Martin and Libertarian Brian Lewis. Lewis has views similar to presidential candidate Gary Johnson (whom he supports), such as ending drug prohibition and what he considers to be overregulation. Martin, who ran in 2014, served for four decades in the U.S. Navy and has been a substitute teacher in Wake County. He's emphasizing his faith and his passion for arts.

We like art, too, but we're endorsing Hall.

N.C. House, District 30

Paul Luebke

During his twenty-five years in the state House, Paul Luebke, a sociology professor at UNC-Greensboro and the author of the seminal book Tar Heel Politics 2000, has made a name for himself as a fighter. Most recently, he's had to battle cancer, after being diagnosed with lymphoma in 2015. But in the legislature, he's developed a reputation as a champion of the little guy, working to preserve overtime and minimum wage protections for seasonal workers. He's pushed for medical marijuana, to reenact the child care tax credit, to expand early voting, and for a more sensible body-camera policy.

His opponent, Elissa Fuchs, is a Trump supporter who, on her Facebook page, argues for HB 2 and against expanded early voting. We endorse Luebke.

N.C. House, District 34

Grier Martin

Grier Martin has been a reliable progressive since he was first elected to the House in 2004. We see no reason why he shouldn't be elected again.

On the day HB 2 passed, Martin unsuccessfully introduced an amendment to broaden the state's antidiscrimination protections to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and military status. With that move, Martin was able to expose the law for what it was: legalized discrimination.

Martin's opponent is Bill Morris, a conservative whose limited online presence reports that he supports voter ID and is, at best, ambivalent about HB 2. This is an easy choice; we're going with Martin.

N.C. House, District 35

Terence Everitt

By dint of the fact that he represents part of Wake County, Republican incumbent Chris Malone has to keep his positions relatively moderate. He talks like a business-oriented Republican—more Paul Ryan than Trump. And yet, he voted for HB 2, which has turned out to be a disaster. Unlike other candidates running for the legislature in Wake, though, Malone has not reversed his position. Perhaps he thinks his district is sufficiently red that he doesn't need to.

We're not so sure about that. And we like his challenger, Terence Everitt, who unambiguously believes HB 2 should be repealed. Everitt is not without business experience himself. An attorney, Everitt serves on the board of directors of the Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce and served on the Wake County Transit Advisory Committee. He criticizes Malone for standing with Duke Energy on coal ash and cutting taxes on the wealthy while voting for budgets that underfund schools. This is by and large true.

The decision here comes down a basic question: Do you believe government should work for businesses and the wealthy, or the people? We know our answer.

N.C. House, District 36

Jennifer Ferrell

As a chairman of the House Appropriations Committee since 2011, Republican Nelson Dollar has been directly responsible for deep cuts to education and public services. Last year's budget, which gave teachers raises, shouldn't be looked at as anything more than an election year gimmick.

His opponent, Democrat Jen Ferrell, has been fighting against those cuts for years, even getting arrested in a Moral Monday protest back in 2013. Ferrell was endorsed by the N.C. Association of Educators and has made education a focal point of her campaign. This isn't a hard decision: Ferrell gets our vote.

N.C. House, District 37

Randy Barrow

The good news about District 37 race is that incumbent Paul Stam, an architect of HB 2, isn't running for reelection. So this race is already a victory of sorts. But make no mistake, Democrats want a win here and are hoping that Randy Barrow, a public school teacher, can make it happen. His opponent might be more politically experienced—Republican Linda Hunt Williams is currently serving on the Holly Springs Town Council—but Barrow comes across as a down-home, simple man with the interests of his friends and neighbors at heart. It's also worth noting that Hunt Williams is anti-abortion, wants to close sanctuary cities, and believes the Second Amendment is under siege.

So, again, Stam is gone. Let's not replace him with Stam 2.0. We're going with Barrow.

N.C. House, District 38

Yvonne Lewis Holley

A House rep since 2012, Yvonne Lewis Holley has recently introduced legislation to "ban the box" (which would encourage employers to eliminate the question about whether applicants are ex-offenders) and restore the earned income tax credit. She has also been vocal about the problem of food deserts in the state. These positions line up with our values, which is why we are supporting her over her opponent, Libertarian Olen Watson.

N.C. House, District 40

Joe John

Representative Marilyn Avila didn't just vote for HB 2; she cosponsored it. And, while other Wake lawmakers have jumped ship in an effort to save their political hides, Avila's simply dodged questions about whether she still supports the law. Avila also proudly supports the unconstitutional voter ID law, another affront to civil rights.

Her opponent, former N.C. Court of Appeals judge Joe John, is a strong supporter of independent redistricting, something sorely needed in North Carolina. He also supports raising teacher pay. He gets our endorsement.

N.C. House, District 41

Gale Adcock

Gale Adcock was one of eight Democrats absent for the HB 2 vote, citing an out-of-state sickness in her family. Since then, she's made her stance clear, telling us, "It is discrimination plain and simple and should be repealed." We believe her—she also opposed North Carolina's attempts at a "religious freedom" law back in 2015.

Adcock, a nurse practitioner who works as the chief health officer at SAS Institute, also supports expanding Medicaid, raising teacher pay, and she voted against the voter ID law, calling it a "cumbersome, expensive, and discriminatory solution to a perceived yet never quantified problem."

Her opponent, Chris Shoffner, is a health care fiduciary whose main focus is getting North Carolina a "state innovation" waiver exception to the Affordable Care Act—which, if approved by the Obama administration, would give North Carolina more control over health care reform. Not a bad idea, but a better one would be to simply expand Medicaid. Shoffner also supports voter ID.

We're voting for Adcock.

N.C. House, District 49

Cynthia Ball

Cynthia Ball wants a full repeal of HB 2 and believes that the state government's most important job is to provide a better environment for students and teachers within North Carolina's public schools. Ball is also pushing for an increased minimum wage, higher pay for teachers, and a heightened watchdog mentality on environmental issues. Her campaign has been focused on lifting people out of bad circumstances that she feels have been created, in part, by the current legislature. These include those drinking tainted water and members of the LGBTQ community. And from coal ash to wasteful spending, she has zeroed in on the fights worth taking on.

She's running against incumbent Republican Gary Pendleton, who squeaked by with 52 percent of the vote in 2014. Democrats, seeking to win enough seats to deny Republicans a veto-proof supermajority, think he's vulnerable. Given how the Republican legislature has behaved recently, that's a worthy goal—and Ball is a worthy candidate.

N.C. House, District 50

Graig Meyer

Representative Graig Meyer has not only helped sponsor bills to create a nonpartisan redistricting process, he also sponsored HB 946, which would have repealed HB 2. He's been a strong proponent of education, ending racial profiling, and interrupting the state's school-to-prison pipeline. In addition, Meyer supports increasing the minimum wage in the state or allowing localities to do so.

His opponent, perennial candidate and pastor Ron Chaney, has opposed same-sex marriage and argued that Moral Monday protesters don't represent most North Carolina voters. No thanks.

N.C. House, District 54

Robert Reives II

Robert Reives II was appointed to replace Deb McManus in the House in 2014 and was elected later that year. A Sanford attorney, Reives has since been appointed cochair of the Freshman Caucus and vice chairman of the Education-Community Colleges Committee in the House. (He has the endorsement of the N.C. Association of Educators and the Sierra Club.)

Reives also asked hard questions of state officials in light of revelations of water contamination in Lee County and has advocated for the rights of local governments in the fracking wars. And though Reives voted for the bad body-camera bill, he did introduce an amendment that would have given city and town councils access to body-camera footage. The amendment was voted down, mostly along party lines. Reives also had the good sense to oppose HB 2.

Reives's opponent, Wesley Seawell, did not respond to our questionnaire. His campaign literature is garden-variety guns and God and free markets and Federalist papers. We're good with Reives.

N.C. Senate, District 15

Laurel Deegan-Fricke

Two years ago, Senator John M. Alexander won by the slimmest of margins over former Raleigh mayor Tom Bradshaw. The intervening years have been a mixed bag. In 2015, Alexander preserved Wake County's ability to hold a sales tax referendum, which single-handedly saved the transit plan. But any goodwill Alexander may have built up was destroyed when he voted for HB 2. In September, Alexander called for its repeal; this reversal can't be viewed as anything other than a political calculation.

His opponent is Democrat Laurel Deegan-Fricke, a member of the National Congress of American Indians who founded a nonprofit that helps Native American students with college placement. Deegan-Fricke is running on an education-focused platform and has stated her opposition to HB 2 and state intrusions in local government. She gets our endorsement.

N.C. Senate, District 16

Jay Chaudhuri

Since Jay Chaudhuri won the Democratic nomination for state Senate and then was nominated to fill the rest of Josh Stein's term, Chaudhuri, a Raleigh attorney who worked in both Attorney General Roy Cooper's and Treasurer Janet Cowell's offices and is the first Asian American to serve in the General Assembly, has made a name for himself as an opponent of HB 2.

Beyond that, Chaudhuri brings innovative ideas to the table, including one to raise teacher pay by 5 percent every year for five years. But that's not all: "Ideally," he says, "I'd like to see a teacher salary start at $50,000, positioning our state as number one on teacher pay."

His opponent, Eric Weaver, is a cop who wants sweeping criminal justice reforms, but not in the way you'd think. Some ideas: making road-blocking as a form of civil disobedience a felony, and making it legal for people in cars to run protesters over. These suggestions are, to put it bluntly, insane.

Chaudhuri did a good job in his first session, and we like his ideas a lot, but even if we didn't, we would endorse him over Weaver.

N.C. Senate, District 17

Susan Evans (D)

Senator Tamara Barringer should be commended for being the first Republican legislator to call for a repeal of HB 2. But that doesn't change the fact that she voted for it in the first place, and her newfound opposition was based on lost business in Cary as well as the knowledge that she would be running in a tough race in November. Barringer also voted for a 2015 bill to allow local magistrates to not perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.

Her opponent is Wake County school board member Susan Evans. Evans has been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign and is running on a platform focused on education, jobs, and transparency. She also wants to repeal HB 2. We're siding with Evans.

N.C. Senate, District 18

Gil Johnson

Gil Johnson's opponent, incumbent Republican Chad Barefoot, is—and boasts about being—A-rated by the NRA and staunchly pro-life. He believes (wrongly, according to the Supreme Court) that Obamacare is "unconstitutional" and was a big proponent of HB 2. So it should come as no great shock that, in this race, Johnson is our choice.

It's also worth noting that Barefoot led the charge to redraw district lines to assist Republicans running for seats on the Wake County School Board and Board of Commissioners, a move that was struck down by the courts. Johnson, meanwhile, brings a background in education—he formerly chaired the Franklin County Board of Education—and says he will fight for increased teacher pay and much-needed resources for North Carolina students. We'll get behind that.

N.C. House, District 22 T. Greg Doucette For a variety of reasons—gerrymandering, Art Pope—North Carolina's representatives are far more conservative than the people they represent. The repercussions have been disastrous, and it sickens us to watch wingnut ideas like voter ID, the dismantling of higher education, and HB 2 take root within these borders. For these reasons, it's damn near impossible to endorse Republicans, because most vote along party lines for things that go against what we stand for. We believe T. Greg Doucette to be an exception. A criminal defense attorney in Durham whose Twitter rants on police brutality and racial bias in the criminal justice system have occasionally achieved virality, Doucette often sounds like a Bernie Sanders supporter. He's been active in GOP circles for more than a decade—he was kicked out of the Wake County GOP in 2005 for supporting a more moderate Republican over the social conservative handpicked by the party—but has gradually drifted off into the no-man's land occupied by sane and respectful North Carolina Republicans who are #NeverTrump, think McCrory has failed, and consider HB 2 to be an abomination. We've got nothing against Mike Woodard, who served on the Durham City Council from 2005–12 and joined the legislature in 2013. We certainly can't fault him for failing to effect much change over the last few years, positioned as he is in the minority party. Woodard is visible in the communities he represents, particularly Durham, and has introduced much legislation we support, including a bill to repeal HB 2. We'd be happy with another Woodard term. But a free-thinking Republican might be more valuable in Raleigh. At some point, something's gotta change on that side of the aisle, and Doucette represents a good opportunity to begin that process.

N.C. Senate, District 22

T. Greg Doucette

For a variety of reasons—gerrymandering, Art Pope—North Carolina's representatives are far more conservative than the people they represent. The repercussions have been disastrous, and it sickens us to watch wingnut ideas like voter ID, the dismantling of higher education, and HB 2 take root within these borders. For these reasons, it's damn near impossible to endorse Republicans, because most vote along party lines for things that go against what we stand for. We believe T. Greg Doucette to be an exception. A criminal defense attorney in Durham whose Twitter rants on police brutality and racial bias in the criminal justice system have occasionally achieved virality, Doucette often sounds like a Bernie Sanders supporter. He's been active in GOP circles for more than a decade—he was kicked out of the Wake County GOP in 2005 for supporting a more moderate Republican over the social conservative handpicked by the party—but has gradually drifted off into the no-man's land occupied by sane and respectful North Carolina Republicans who are #NeverTrump, think McCrory has failed, and consider HB 2 to be an abomination. We've got nothing against Mike Woodard, who served on the Durham City Council from 2005–12 and joined the legislature in 2013. We certainly can't fault him for failing to effect much change over the last few years, positioned as he is in the minority party. Woodard is visible in the communities he represents, particularly Durham, and has introduced much legislation we support, including a bill to repeal HB 2. We'd be happy with another Woodard term. But a free-thinking Republican might be more valuable in Raleigh. At some point, something's gotta change on that side of the aisle, and Doucette represents a good opportunity to begin that process.

N.C. Senate, District 23

Valerie Foushee

Senator Valerie Foushee, a retired Chapel Hill police administrator and former chairwoman of both the Orange County Board of Commissioners and the Orange County Board of Education, was appointed in September 2013 and since then has been a reliable liberal vote in a liberal district. Her opponent, Mary Lopez-Carter, is a real estate broker who challenged Foushee back in 2014. She's running on a platform that includes opposition to Common Core.

Foushee has done a good job, so we endorse giving her another term.

*Due to an editing error, the original version of these endorsements listed the N.C. Senate, District 22, race as being N.C. House, District 22. This version corrects that. We apologize for the mistake. 
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