Deborah K. Ross | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week
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Deborah K. Ross 

N.C. House District 38

Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Deborah K. Ross

Party: Democratic

Date of Birth: June 20

Campaign Web Site:

Occupation & Employer: Lawyer - Styers & Kemerait, Senior Lecturing Fellow - Duke Law School

Years lived in North Carolina: 23 years

1) What do you see as the most important issues facing North Carolina?

Ensuring that our economy is strong and that people have job and educational opportunities.

If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?

Encourage and promote job creation (focusing on small businesses), continue to invest in education at all levels, expand efforts to ensure that all children receive a quality education that prepares them to be productive adults.

2) Are there specific needs in your district that you would add to that list?

Affordable higher education is crucial in my district given the large number of colleges and universities and the student population.

How do you propose to address them?

I have consistently supported and proposed legislation to make higher education more affordable through savings programs, financial aid, grants and appropriations.

3) What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the issues you've identified?

I have consistently been ranked as one of the most effective members of the NC House by the Center for Public Policy Research. I also have a track record of getting legislation enacted into law. Finally, I work well with people who have diverse perspectives.

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

I am a pragmatic progressive.

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.

I have a record of promoting educational opportunities for all of our students, fighting for more transportation and housing options for low income people, improving our election laws, and working for a fairer criminal justice system.

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.

I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment and do not believe that we cannot censor or suppress speech simply because we do not like the message or the messenger.

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.

We cannot simply cut our way out of the projected budget deficit without hurting education and human services. I support cuts to nonessential services and many of them have been enacted (e.g., eliminating in-state tuition for out of state athletes). On the revenue side, I support expanding the base for taxation to reflect our current economy and lowering the rate of taxation to promote a fairer tax system. We also need to stimulate our economy so that revenues eventually increase.

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?

We need to have opportunities for people who leave the prison system to re-enter society in a productive way through employment and community support. We also need to encourage alternatives to incarceration for low level offenses.

9) Health care: What should the state do next to address the problem of adults and children without adequate health care or insurance?

We need to continue investments in children's health insurance and the high risk insurance pool.

What do you propose to do to address the mental health crisis?

I supported mental health parity. We also need much more community care and supportive housing for people with mental illness. I have consistently promoted these issues in the legislature.

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 support a moratorium and improvements to our justice system to promote fairness and accountability.

11) What is your position regarding LGBT rights?

I do not believe in discrimination.

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?


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

The law should not prohibit the government from bargaining collectively with employees. North Carolina is one of the only states in the country that denies this option to its units of government.

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.

As stated above, I believe that education is the foundation of job creation. We need to encourage and promote a creative and innovative economy and make sure that we provide quality essential services to our people. Small businesses provide and create a majority of the jobs in the state and deserve our support. I have sponsored bills to help small businesses with health care costs and other assistance for job creation.

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