Tom Bradshaw | Candidate Questionnaires - Statewide | Indy Week
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Tom Bradshaw 

2014 Senate General Election
Name as it appears on the ballot: Tom Bradshaw
Full legal name, if different: Thomas W. Bradshaw, Jr.
Date of birth: 10/22/1938
Home address: 7416 Grist Mill Road, Raleigh, NC 27615
Mailing address, if different from home:
Campaign website:
Occupation & employer: Tom Bradshaw & Associates LLC – Consulting: Real Estate, Finance
Home phone: (919) 847-1459
Work phone:
Cell phone: (919) 280-1288

1. How would you rate the previous session of the General Assembly? Explain. FOR INCUMBENT: What have been your most difficult decisions in your current capacity? Why? FOR CHALLENGERS: What decisions has the incumbent made that you most disagree with? What would you have done different?

I believe this legislature has put our future in peril. It is tearing down the foundations that have made North Carolina strong and prosperous over the last 40 years, especially education, the community colleges and the university system. My opponent is not an incumbent, but he will be a reliable vote for the current Senate leadership. I strongly disagree with their education cuts, their mistreatment of teachers and their laws on fracking, the coal-ash cleanup and locating mega-landfills in North Carolina.

2. Should the state further cut public education or increase the public education budget? What are your thoughts on the recent cuts to teacher tenure? What are your views on charter schools and voucher programs?

No. We must make public education job one, restore the education cuts and raise teacher pay to and above the national average. “Teacher tenure” is a misleading and inaccurate term. Teachers don’t have tenure. What is called “tenure” is actually due process and protection against arbitrary firings. These protections should be restored.

I have no objections to charter schools, but they must be transparent and accountable. They must not be used as a way to undermine public schools.

I oppose vouchers, which amount to taking tax money from the public schools and giving it to for-profit, private schools.

3. What are your budgetary priorities?

Education, health care and infrastructure (clean water and transportation, including mass transit).

4. Do you believe the Racial Justice Act should be reinstated? Do you believe it’s time for North Carolina to abolish the death penalty?

Yes, the Racial Justice Act should be reinstated.

In the past, I supported the death penalty because I believed it was a deterrent. But the work of the North Carolina Innocence Commission in recent years has caused me to have great concerns about how capital punishment is applied. Now I believe the time has come to abolish the death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment without parole.

5. Are you in favor of the Voter ID law? Why or why not? Do you believe North Carolina’s Voter ID law makes it easier or harder for citizens to vote?

I strongly oppose the so-called Voter ID law. It’s actually a Voter Suppression Law. It is definitely designed to make it harder for citizens to vote. We do not have a problem with voter fraud. In fact, we need to make it easier and more convenient for people to register and vote – and encourage everyone to vote.

6. What is your position on opening North Carolina’s coastline to off-shore drilling and exploration? On fracking? And should additional nuclear plants in North Carolina be encouraged, discouraged or stopped?

Before opening our coast to off-shore drilling – and to wind power – we need to undertake a careful examination of what the benefits might be and what the potential risks are. We must not do anything that jeopardizes the environment and the tourism-based economy on our coast.

I am opposed to fracking in North Carolina. It is clear that North Carolina’s potential resources are limited compared to other areas of the country. Further, the General Assembly pushed through the fracking law without enough openness, transparency and full disclosure. North Carolinians need to understand the risks to our water supply, including the full list of chemicals that might be injected into the water.

Before we build more nuclear plants, we must develop a balanced approach that focuses on conservation, efficiency and alternative sources of energy.

7. What are your views on gay marriage?

I believe people should be able to marry whomever they choose. As the Pope said: Who am I to judge?

8. What are your views on the Moral Monday movement?

It has played a positive role in educating people and mobilizing opposition to the disastrous policies of this legislature. Many powerful movements for justice in America, like the civil rights movement, began the same way the Moral Mondays began. I very much admire and appreciate the people who led and joined those demonstrations.

The Legislative Building is the People’s House, and it should be open and welcoming to concerned citizens who come to express their views in a civil way.

9. What are your views on collective bargaining and the effects of North Carolina’s “right-to-work” law? Would you support a bill enshrining “right-to-work” in the state constitution? Would you support a law that allowed public employees to engage in collective bargaining?

We need to do a much better job of attracting, rewarding and retaining good people in state government. That begins with decent pay and benefits, and North Carolina has fallen behind there in recent years, under both Democratic and Republican administrations and legislatures.

From my five years as DOT Secretary, I know how important this partnership is, and I will support a renewed emphasis. By having a good partnership with employees and providing adequate pay and benefits, we will not need to go the route of collective bargaining. I don’t support putting “right-to-work” in the Constitution.

10. If elected, what would you do to protect North Carolina’s environment and natural resources? Do you believe state environmental regulatory bodies need more funding or less funding, and why?

I served on the N.C. Environmental Management Commission, including as Chair for nine years. I’m active in the Triangle Land Conservancy. As Mayor, I built up Raleigh’s park and recreation system and helped set aside the first land for the Greenway system. That’s the kind of work I want to continue in the Senate.

We need strong laws against pollution, and regulatory agencies need more funding and more people to enforce those laws.

11. 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 believe that my opposition to the so-called “Voter ID” law – actually, a Voter Suppression Law – will hurt me with some people.

12. Do you support a woman’s right to choose to terminate her pregnancy? Would you sign a bill requiring that a woman, before choosing abortion, undergo an ultrasound? Be counseled about alternatives? Or in other ways be discouraged from choosing an abortion?

I am a strong supporter of women’s rights to make their own reproductive health care decisions – period.

13. On reapportionment, both parties have shown that they will abuse the redistricting process when give a chance. Will you support a bill in the next session to turn all future redistricting over to a non-partisan or bi-partisan independent commission? Yes, I will strongly support this. Gerrymandering is out of hand, and it is hurting our state. Democrats, Republicans and Independents should come together in support of redistricting reform.


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