Candidates for N.C. House of Representatives District 115, 2018 general election voter guide

John Ager

Incumbent, Democrat
Website: electjohnager.org
Occupation: Farmer, legislator
Previous candidacy or offices held: N.C. House, two terms
Key endorsements: League of Conservation Voters; Buncombe County and North Carolina Association of Educators; State Employees Association of North Carolina; Sierra Club, WNC Central Labor Council
Amount of money raised: $150,000
Top three donors: All individuals and will not give the names without their permission

Why are you running for re-election to the N.C. House of Representatives?

I want to return North Carolina to its leadership role in education: pre-K, primary, secondary, community college and university. I want to give every citizen of our state access to medical care, which begins with Medicaid expansion. We need to do more to confront the opioid crisis. I want to reform our elections and end gerrymandering; rebuild our state infrastructure and begin work on the I-26 Connector; support our local farmers and promote hemp; fight polluters and climate change.

What state and local concerns are top of mind for voters in your district, and how do you plan to address them?

Access to health care and ending election manipulation, especially gerrymandering. The California model has merit and increased favorable ratings for their General Assembly from the teens to the fifties and increased voter turnout. Health care access begins with Medicaid expansion, which will bring access for upward of 500,000 N.C. citizens and dollars to our health care providers. I’m discouraged with our health insurance system and want to look at a public option or single-payer solutions.

In a report released in January, Education Week ranks North Carolina 38th in the nation for student achievement and 45th for school finance. With per-pupil spending lower than pre-Great Recession levels, how will you approach education funding?

North Carolina pulled itself up by its bootstraps in the past by investing in public education. We cannot allow that dedication to falter, especially now that our economy is strong. Teachers want not only better pay and resources, but respect and support. We need to fully implement the Teaching Fellows program. We need to build a Western School of Math and Science in Morganton. We need to find better ways to educate troubled students. We need to encourage students to learn trade skills.

Federal judges have deemed a number of North Carolina’s electoral districts illegal. How would you propose districts be drawn so that they are fair?

I mentioned the California commission system above, which has been successful in bringing integrity and trust back to their election system. Iowa also has a better way to draw districts. The League of Women Voters has an excellent approach to the problem. The key concept for me is removing political influence from the process and drawing districts that make geographic and economic sense.

Would you support raising North Carolina’s minimum wage above federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour)? If so, to what level? Additionally, do you support cities and/or counties being able to craft legislation to set a minimum or living wage?

I do support raising the minimum wage and think $7.25 is woefully inadequate. Too many low-income wage earners survive with government programs, thus subsidizing employers. The increases should be phased in over time, and I do not have a particular goal in mind. And yes, I believe our vibrant urban regions need to have flexibility in how they handle work rules in their jurisdictions. We need to fully repeal HB2, which prevented municipalities from setting these rules.

Which of the proposed state constitutional amendments that will appear on this year’s ballots do you support, and which do you oppose? Why? For the sake of brevity, you may key your answers with the following letters:

A.Right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife

B.Strengthen protections for crime victims

C.Change appointment process of the state Elections Board

D.Change appointment process for judicial vacancies between elections

E.Lower state income tax cap from 10 percent to 7 percent

F.Require photo ID for in-person voting

A. As a farming, hunting and fishing family, I support the concept, but a. is unnecessary and it’s on the ballot to draw voters to the polls.
B.I supported this bill in the House, but have second thoughts. There’s a $32 million price tag, we already have victims’ rights, and notifying victims could hold up court proceedings. I haven’t seen much support among judges or DAs.
C. The General Assembly is trying to gain control of the election process. I don’t like the 4-to-4 makeup of the board, as you are asking for tie votes.
D. Another power grab by the General Assembly and an attack on the separation-of-powers doctrine that is central to our form of government.
Five governors, Republican and Democrat, oppose C. and D.
E. After Hurricane Florence, we know natural disasters strain the state budget. The 7 percent cap could limit a higher bracket for wealthy income-tax payers at a time of emergency.
F. I’m supportive of voter ID, but f. leaves accepted types of ID up to the General Assembly. There are many voters without driver’s licenses; asking them to wait at the DMV for an ID is problematic. If other forms of ID were acceptable, I could vote yes. Also, new technology brings possibilities for biometric ID.


Amy Evans

Republican
Website: amyevansnc.com
Occupation: Semiretired / current job is confidential due to sensitivity in the workplace with political topics/issues.
Previous candidacy or offices held: Asheville Judge for “40Under40”; The Asheville Symphonettes (The Asheville Symphony); Kiwanis (Black Mountain); Rotary (Chicago) /Board Member; County Library Board (Chicago)
Key endorsements: Marsy’s Law; N.C. Right to Life; National Rifle Association; N.C. Values Coalition
Amount of money raised: Did not answer
Top three donors: Did not answer

Why are you running for the N.C. House of Representatives?

I believe in giving back through public service — that we have an inherent obligation to this generation to leave the Earth better off than when we inherited it. I served my country for six years in the U.S. Coast Guard; I served in the private sector for over 30 years in financial services; and I am now running to serve the constituents of the 115th N.C. House District.

What state and local concerns are top of mind for voters in your district, and how do you plan to address them?

Conservative Republican policies and leadership turned the tide for North Carolinians we’re better off than we were under failed Democratic administrations. This is due to deregulation, lower taxes (over $15.8 billion in tax relief), low unemployment (17-year low), higher wages for blue-collar workers and a pay increase for teachers.

If Republicans don’t maintain the supermajority in the legislature, Democrats will undo what’s been accomplished. Vote on Nov. 6 for the Republican slate and keep the legislative agenda moving in the right direction.

In a report released in January, Education Week ranks North Carolina 38th in the nation for student achievement and 45th for school finance. With per-pupil spending lower than pre-Great Recession levels, how will you approach education funding?

Since 2011, the Republican General Assembly has increased teachers’ wages approximately 19 percent. Teacher pay is over 57 percent of the budget. We need to do more, but not predicated on averages or statistics from other states. Each state is demographically unique, and I would weigh North Carolina’s educational needs against our budget to ensure quality education. I do not agree with a “one-size-fits-all” blanket for education. Teachers working with parents and public professionals can offer our students a chance for a prosperous future.

Federal judges have deemed a number of North Carolina’s electoral districts illegal. How would you propose districts be drawn so that they are fair?

Adopt the law as our forefathers intended based on population. I would support sponsoring an amendment to make the practice of gerrymandering illegal no matter which party is in power ultimately to outlaw districts from changing election-to-election.

Would you support raising North Carolina’s minimum wage above federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour)? If so, to what level? Additionally, do you support cities and/or counties being able to craft legislation to set a minimum or living wage?

No and no. Here in Buncombe County, most blue-collar workers already receive double the minimum wage. I am in favor of protecting blue-collar/manufacturing jobs in WNC and creating good professional jobs. I favor increasing wages when attached to a specific skill set where qualifying factors are achieved and verified. Employers should fairly compensate their employees based on experience, education and job skills. An increase to the $7.50 minimum wage would result in job loss for the most vulnerable employees.

Which of the proposed state constitutional amendments that will appear on this year’s ballots do you support, and which do you oppose? Why? For the sake of brevity, you may key your answers with the following letters:

A.Right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife

B.Strengthen protections for crime victims

C.Change appointment process of the state Elections Board

D.Change appointment process for judicial vacancies between elections

E.Lower state income tax cap from 10 percent to 7 percent

F.Require photo ID for in-person voting

I will vote yes on the entire slate of amendments on the Nov. 6 ballot and encourage my constituents to do so as well. Some of these seem obvious and beg the question “why are we even discussing?” There is a simple answer: Our liberal and far-left progressive policies are challenging and politicizing our basic way of life in Western North Carolina. Subsequently, the six amendments aren’t as benign as you would think. I encourage further research on each topic. Kindly feel free to reach out to my campaign for help, should you have questions. A. Yes. B. Yes. (Marsy’s Law endorsement September 2018) C. Yes. (Yes, we have political partisanship on the BOE at the state and local levels). D. Yes. Limiting the political appointments of judges predicated upon which party is in power in the legislature. E. Yes. Definitely! Goes to waste and keeping our budget in check. F. Yes. We must protect the integrity of our election process from those who are not qualified voters and those who would take advantage of it.

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