Candidate questionnaire: District 116 Statehouse candidates Whilden, Moffitt

Candidate questionnaire: District 116 Statehouse candidates Whilden, Moffitt-attachment0

This post features responses to the Xpress questionnaire from candidates vying to represent N.C. Statehouse District 116, which includes most of western Buncombe County from Arden to Enka and Leicester. Democrat Jane Whilden is challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Tim Moffitt.

Jane Whilden

Slogan: “Good schools mean good jobs.”
Website: www.janeforstatehouse.com
Occupation: Candidate
Residence: Biltmore Forest
Top three donors: Lillian’s List, N.C. Advocates for Justice, Jane Whilden
Total raised as of Sept. 1: $65,024.18
Endorsements: League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club

1. How would you offset the reduction in funding for existing public schools caused by lifting the cap on charter schools?

I would make it my No. 1 budgetary priority to fund our public schools. There are areas in government that can be trimmed and reallocated to our classrooms. Also, loopholes currently exist for multimillion-dollar corporations that should be closed, and the revenue generated by this should go directly to education.

2. Do you support or oppose ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment? Why?

I believe the Equal Rights Amendment should be added to North Carolina’s Constitution, as this would decrease discrimination against women in the workplace and other areas of society that unfortunately still exists today.

3. Do you support or oppose establishing a nonpartisan redistricting commission, managed by the Legislative Services Office, that would assume responsibility for drawing new district lines? Why?

I support establishing a nonpartisan redistricting commission. Currently, the redistricting process is extremely political: Lines are drawn to benefit the party in the majority, rather than providing fair representation for residents. Implementing a nonpartisan commission that has real accountability standards would eliminate this conflict of interest and promote fair elections.

4. Except in cases of financial crisis, should the Legislature redistribute a city’s assets or reconfigure its services without a request from the local government?

No. It should not be the state Legislature’s role to redistribute assets owned by local government unless there is a financial crisis that cannot be resolved on its own.

5. State law allows utilities to raise rates to pay for power plants before they’re built, even if they’re never completed. Do you support expanding that law to allow companies to impose annual rate hikes without public comment or oversight? Why or why not?

No, because I believe oversight, transparency and public comment are essential for quality service, and it is the right of every ratepayer to understand why their rates are being raised. Also, there should be a level of accountability for utilities that raise rates without completing the proposed projects.

Tim Moffitt

Slogan:“Hardworking. Effective. Independent.”
Website: http://timmoffitt.com (campaign); http://nc116.com (constituent services)
Occupation: Small-business owner
Residence: South Buncombe
Top three donors: Harold Brubaker, Mitchell Setzer, Bill Brawley
Total raised as of Sept. 1: A sufficient amount
Endorsements: N.C. Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business

1. How would you offset the reduction in funding for existing public schools caused by lifting the cap on charter schools?

Under North Carolina law, existing public schools include both charter schools and traditional schools — so charter schools are not private schools, as your question implies. We should support parents in their choice of where they send their children. State funding should follow the child between all public schools.

2. Do you support or oppose ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment? Why?

I personally support adopting the Equal Rights Amendment because it’s the right thing to do. But according to the U.S. Constitution, the path to eventual ratification can take different forms — through the state legislatures or with an Article V Convention. The process is important too.

3. Do you support or oppose establishing a nonpartisan redistricting commission, managed by the Legislative Services Office, that would assume responsibility for drawing new district lines? Why?

I support an independent redistricting commission. However, using the Legislative Services Office may prove problematic, as it is currently governed by two elected officials of the same political party … just as it was governed by two elected officials of another party during the previous session.

4. Except in cases of financial crisis, should the Legislature redistribute a city’s assets or reconfigure its services without a request from the local government?

I strongly believe in local control, not out of control. The N.C. Constitution and supporting case law provides that local governments are administrative subdivisions of the state, and the Legislature has the ultimate responsibility and liability for them. This is especially true in matters of controversy between local government units.

5. State law allows utilities to raise rates to pay for power plants before they’re built, even if they’re never completed. Do you support expanding that law to allow companies to impose annual rate hikes without public comment or oversight? Why or why not?

No, I support public comment and the fair oversight of all public utilities. This question refers to what are generally called CWIPs, provided for in the Renewable Energy/Baseload Generation Bill (SB3) of the 2007-08 session. Altering the language of this law could negatively impact local renewable-energy jobs.

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

One thought on “Candidate questionnaire: District 116 Statehouse candidates Whilden, Moffitt

  1. Meiling Dai

    It might benefit readers to access Rep. Moffitt’s
    legislative website (nc116.com) to read “Let’s live up to the promise of the Buncombe motto.”
    This article traces the stewardship of the water system utility based on the decades-old relationship between the city of Asheville and Buncombe County; the County owns part of the water infrastructure and continues to maintain it. The city is understandably opposed to a merger of the water system with the Buncombe Metropolitan Sewerage Department because it would lose its trump card – the ability to charge differential water rates to county customers, thereby forcing them to either agree to VOLUNTARY ANNEXATION or pay higher water rates. Currently, Sullivan Acts II, III expressly forbid the city from charging differential water rates. But sympathetic lawmakers may someday vote to nullify these Acts, thereby making it
    possible for the city of Asheville to proceed with voluntary annexation in the county.

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