Bernard Allen | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week
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Bernard Allen 

N.C. House District 33

Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Bernard Allen

Party: Democratic

Date of Birth: March 16, 1965

Campaign Web Site:

Occupation & Employer: & State Employees Association of North Carolina

Years lived in North Carolina: Forty-five (45)

1) What do you see as the most important issues facing North Carolina? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?

The most important issues facing North Carolina are a living wage for every working person, affordable healthcare for every citizen, the unemployment rate and quality education for all children. If elected, I would begin addressing quality education, a living wage, and affordable healthcare as soon as possible, but not necessarily in that order. The quality of one's education can impact the income one may obtain, but not necessary true in today's society. Therefore all populations are at risk if these issues are not adequately addressed.

2) Are there specific needs in your district that you would add to that list? How do you propose to address them?

District 33 is home to two high schools and I am concerned with the student dropout rate. Wake County's dropout rate for the 08-09 school year was 3.47% which is lower than the state's 4.27%, but that equates to approximately 1,430 students without a high school diploma. The ripple effect of this particular statistic is potentially perpetual.

I would like to propose programs which require parental involvement from the elementary level through the high school level. Models which replicate the structure and success of the NCSU's MSEN- Pre College program. Parental involvement is a missing link in successful young adults, both academically and socially.

3. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the issues you've identified? Please be as specific as possible in relating past accomplishments to current goals.

My experience as a president of parent groups in elementary through high school has shown that parental involvement makes a difference. It has also afforded me the opportunity to mentor in those organizations to children whose parent(s) could not attend functions and observe first hand the impact of a family having to work multiple jobs to provide the necessities of a family. It is vital to the survival of society to finds ways to end generational poverty and all that it may breed. Interventions put in place through PTAs and Parent involvement Groups provide guidance for students, but also provides nonthreatening guidance to adults.

As I have worked with thousands of state employees, I have listened to their concerns of obtaining and maintaining affordable healthcare funds and services. I am committed to serving the present and retired employees of this state by informing them of any and all applicable opportunities. I navigate them through challenges concerning benefits and services so I constantly have the pulse of state employees in the best of times and the worst of times. I know their struggles with the current wages and benefits.

4. How do you define yourself politically, and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?

I view myself as a liberal politician who unequivocally believes in "People First". My campaign platform is all about the things that the people of North Carolina are yearning for and are deserving of. Resources and a fair chance in education,

the work place, and after retirement should be equal expectations of their government. If all men are created equal, then we all equally have the right to equal life and equal liberties.

5. The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. Please point to a specific position in your platform that would, if achieved, help further that goal.

A living wage for each working person, would provide a family with possibly two incomes which meet the bare needs of the family and afford parents time to spend nurturing and raising their children. It would allow people more time to be involved with their community and school, thereby producing healthier, happier homes and communities.

6. 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.

Quality education for all children regardless of their socio-economic status or residential area is an area I am willing to take stand on. Public education was designed to balance the doors of opportunity for all children. This structure benefits society locally as well as globally. Public education has been the reality as well as the illusion of public trust. It's intent of equal resources for all students deserved to be preserved; for the benefit of all mankind.

7. The current state budget was balanced with approximately equal amounts of spending cuts (primarily to human services and local school districts) and tax increases. Another very tough budget battle looms ahead next year. Will you support: (a) deeper spending cuts? (b) greater tax increases? (c) another mix of the two? Please tell us what you'd cut and which taxes should be raised, if any.

With the prediction of another tough budget year, I would have greater tax increases through the restructuring of the tax schedules. Individuals with a higher taxable income should pay a larger percentage than those in other schedules. The distribution should be systematically decreased as the taxable income decreases.

8. North Carolina is sending record numbers of people to prison, and when they're released, they're often lost and get in trouble again. The Governor's StreetSafe initiative is aimed at breaking this vicious cycle and reducing the recidivism rate. As a legislator, what would you propose that she and the General Assembly do to help?

A. Immediately after incarceration, prisoners should receive

counseling- and the counseling should continue throughout their term.

B. More resources should be directed toward jobs and skills

training wherein prisoners can find meaningful employment upon release.

C. Parole Officers should be trained to assist ex-offenders

in finding and keeping jobs.

9. Health care: What should the state do next to address the problem of adults and children without adequate health care or insurance? What do you propose to do to address the mental health crisis?

Daycares and schools should help the state determine whether children have

health insurance. Both should direct their parents to health resources

including mental health care.

Health educators along with social workers should be required to assist the uninsured in getting health coverage.

10) What is your position on capital punishment in North Carolina? If in favor, will you support a moratorium on executions while the question of whether the death penalty can be administered fairly is studied by the General Assembly?

I am not in favor of capital punishment in North Carolina and I would support a moratorium on executions which the question of fair administration is studied by the General Assembly.

11) What is your position regarding LGBT rights? Please address whether gay marriages or civil unions should be made legal in North Carolina; also, whether sexual orientation and identity should be added as a protected class under state anti-discrimination laws, including state personnel laws.

I believe that everyone is entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I feel that LGBT rights should be protected as any other group of citizens. Gay marriages and civil unions should be made legal in North Carolina and they should be added as a protected class under the antidiscrimination laws.

12) 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? Given that North Carolina has the ninth highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, do you support medically accurate sex education that includes information about birth control?

I do support women having the "right to choose" and I firmly support medically accurate sex education inclusive of information about birth control. Knowledge is key.

13) Should public employees have the right to bargain collectively in North Carolina?

It should be a right for state employees to collectively bargain. The contractual agreements between the two parties strengthens the employee-employer relationship and gives everyone a voice in the benefits structure.

14) The latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that 11.2 percent of North Carolina's workforce is unemployed. Please state specifically what the state should and can do to create new jobs, describe the kinds of jobs the state should support and what your role will be in creating them.

North Carolina must use stimulus money and other appropriate funding sources to create "green" jobs for its residents. My role would be to assist in finding those funding resources for the state and my district. Cree Manufacturing in Durham is a prime example of what is yet to come for more of North Carolina residents.

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