Jim Hughes

Jim Hughes

Jim Hughes

Age: 71
Residence: Biltmore Forest
Occupation: Builder/real-estate investment; retired tire dealer
Education: B.A. education, UNC-Chapel Hill
Party: Democrat
Political experience: past president, North American Tire Dealers Association; lifelong Democrat

1. Do you support allowing individual municipalities to enact their own campaign-finance reform ordinances?

No. Campaign-finance regulation needs the uniformity and enforcement capacity of the State Board of Elections to avoid confusion and to ensure equality and fairness across the state.

2. Do you believe the state’s ethics law for legislators is adequate? If not, how would you change it?

Ethics laws should be rigorous and enforced consistently across the board. I feel strongly that elected officials need to be held to a higher standard because of their position of responsibility to the public. I will work to closely examine the current laws and support appropriate changes.

3. What’s your position on the proposed passenger-rail service between Raleigh and Western North Carolina?

I support the effort to establish passenger-rail service to our region, provided appropriate funding of the project is available.

4. Would you support state funding for renovating or rebuilding the Asheville Civic Center? Why or why not?

The Civic Center debate is serious and ongoing and has spanned years. When city and county leaders have a proposal to discuss concerning the Civic Center, I will certainly be available to listen to their ideas.

5. Do you support a public-funding option for Council of State candidates, similar to the judicial public-financing system approved in 2002? Why?

Public-funding of campaigns is an alternative which needs close examination as to its feasiblity in the Council of State races. Whether or not I think it should be implemented in nonjudicial races will depend on the results of that examination.

6. What do you plan to do to ensure equitable distribution of state lottery funds to WNC?

The lottery-funding-distribution issue will certainly need to be revisited and, in my opinion, changed to reflect a fair balance statewide, not simply favoring eastern districts of the state. I will work to bring fellow legislators together to effect equitable changes in the law.

7. Name three state budget areas or items that should be reduced and three that should be increased.

Budgets are interesting documents when looked at closely. But … public leaders must take the trouble to actually look. Trimming wasteful spending … will always be a priority of mine, regardless of the program. Education, mental health and emergency services are areas we need to be sure are appropriately funded.

8. Would you approve additional local-option rooms-and-meals or food-and-beverage taxes for Buncombe County? Under what circumstances?

Food-and-beverage taxes are, as you know, regressive. They land harder on those less able to pay. I will listen to ideas from city and county leaders regarding such proposals, but would have to be convinced that approving a local option was the best decision for our community.

9. As WNC’s land prices skyrocket, would you support tools — such as the property-transfer tax or inclusionary zoning — to help communities keep housing affordable?

We will need to look at workable options to help preserve affordable housing. I will be willing to hear proposals in this regard.

10. What most distinguishes you from your opponents in this primary?

Experience. I have many years of experience in negotiating and working with people. I am a proven successful businessman who knows how to sit down with legislators and get things done for the people of Buncombe County and Western North Carolina. I will work full time for all my constituents.

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