Occupation: general contractor
Education: Reynolds High School; attended Gardner-Webb Univ. and Univ. of South Alabama
Political experience: N.C. House, 4 years; Buncombe County School Board, 8 years
1. What was the best piece of legislation the General Assembly passed last session? Why?
The 2006 State Budget Act, which capped Medicaid cost to the counties and allotted $700 million for teacher and state employees' raises, $363 million for the rainy-day fund and $200 million for the repair and renovation of state buildings, plus it gave $170 million in tax decreases.
2. What was the worst piece of legislation? Why?
Toll roads and the local-option tax on car rentals in Mecklenburg County, which would be used to finance a public facility.
3. What would be your three top legislative priorities?
• Change the current formula for redistricting lottery proceeds so WNC
gets its fair share
• Stronger laws to protect our children from sex offenders/Internet crimes
• Provide more help for businesses that provide health care to their employees; increase access to affordable health care for all North Carolinians
4. Should our local legislative delegation have sponsored Sullivan Acts II and III in 2005? Why?
Yes, it was the best thing for the community as a whole -- both city and county. ... Also, we could not allow the dollars to be diverted into the general fund instead of using them to maintain the water system. I remain open to any fair solution.
5. What's your stance on capital punishment?
I support capital punishment.
6. What most distinguishes you from your opponent?
Experience! This year I was ranked 39th in effectiveness. I [have served as chair or co-chair of] the Commerce Committee; Appropriations for State Government Committee; House Select Committee on Sex Offender Registration and Internet Crimes Against Children; Study Commission on Economic Development Infrastructure and House Select Committee on Rural Economy.
7. What reforms are most needed in state politics?
To make sure that government remains open to the people and that officials know that they have a responsibility to the people who elect them. During the last session an independent, 8-member State Ethics Commission was established to conduct inquiries on complaints against elected officials.
8. What's your position on the proposed passenger-rail service between Raleigh and Western North Carolina?
I serve on the House Select Committee on Expanding Rail Services and have been looking closely at the feasibility of this service. Although I think it would be an asset for economic development and tourism, right now there is not a funding mechanism in place.
9. Would you support state funding for renovating or rebuilding the Asheville Civic Center? Why or why not?
I do not support state funding for local facilities. I think the Asheville Civic Center is important and much-needed, but I think alternate funding sources need to be considered.
10. Name three state budget areas or items that should be reduced and three that should be increased.
Reduced: Pork projects; we need to look at overall staffing of each department and determine whether there should be increases or decreases; departments need to look at a lease/purchase option of state-owned property instead of leasing outside facilities
Increased: Help for businesses that provide health insurance to employees; Medicaid assistance; mental health