Candidates for N.C. House of Representatives District 116, 2018 general election voter guide

Marilyn A. Brown

Republican
Website: marilynbrownfornchouse.com
Occupation: Former music teacher
Previous candidacy or offices held: Unfortunately no, but I’m looking forward to winning this seat in the legislature
Key endorsements: U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore, National Rifle Association and N.C. Right to Life.
Amount of money raised: Approximately $44,000 total
Top three donors: Speaker Tim Moore, May L. Warren, William J. Brown

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

I have served my community as a teacher, community volunteer and leader in new projects and organizations. Economic prosperity has come to our state, and I want Western North Carolina to get a stronger stake in it. I want to encourage limiting government growth by cutting taxes, keeping the $2 billion state savings fund and slashing unnecessary regulations so more jobs can be created all fiscal reforms the General Assembly has begun.

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

As a former teacher in public and private schools, I want to support ideas that work for students and parents by expanding choice and creating opportunity for our schools to thrive. We need innovative and new solutions for school construction. We need to empower and mentor students who struggle with math, reading and English skills long before they graduate, and we need to break apart large school districts to ensure a quality education for every child.

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?

The bottom line for considering all school appropriations should be asking the question, “How are this program, these resources, this new-hired person going to affect the end result of student outcome?” Sadly, half of our North Carolina seniors graduate without being ready for the workforce or college. We have to adopt an “all-hands-on-deck” alert mode immediately and rethink our educational strategy to prepare our most precious resource, our children, for life.

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?

By appointing a bipartisan committee of equal Democrats and Republicans who all have a track record of “working across the aisle.” The members of this group must be accountable to the General Assembly and be able to exercise their fair and trustworthy oath of office to do what is best for the communities they are serving. They should redraw the lines referenced by the court and let go of the “power grab” mentality and send the results back to the court. Done.

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 oppose this type of legislation because it restricts business owners from the freedom they need to exercise what is in the best interest of their unique challenges they face while trying to produce a profit margin, especially during an economic downturn cycle. Investing in health care for their employees is a better way to provide a quality work environment and retain good employees over the long haul while providing stability to the business.

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. Yes, due to urbanization and development. This amendment ensures hunting and fishing are a normal part of life and should remain in our heritage and legacy.
B. Yes, often victims of crimes don’t receive notice of hearings, nor are they included in pleas or sentencing. This amendment ensures that victims have rights, as do criminals.
C. Yes, this creates a bipartisan board to administer ethics and election laws that would be free of the influence of any party or branch of government. Nominations will come from party leaders in the legislature.
D. Yes. One governor can appoint 40 percent of the judiciary. Inequities have occurred on both sides of the aisle as a result. D. allows North Carolinians to recommend judges that the legislature can include in their selection of two choices, which they send to the governor to choose between.
E. Yes, the lower the income tax cap, the more citizens can keep their money by insisting future legislators and governors meet our fundamental needs and maintain a responsible budget.
F. Yes. Voter fraud is a problem. Americans are losing trust in election results. Thirty-eight states have this in their constitutions. It’s needed to protect the right to choose our elected officials.


Brian Turner

Incumbent, Democrat
Website: turnerfornchouse.com
Occupation: Commercial real estate broker, legislator
Previous candidacy: Representative for N.C. House District 116, 2015-present
Key endorsements: N.C. Association of Educators, Police Benevolent Association, Sierra Club, Professional Firefighters and Paramedics of North Carolina, State Employees Association of North Carolina
Amount of money raised: $265,000 as of submission date
Top three donors: While I have had a number of strong supporters, my campaign has been supported by over 1,000 individual donors, and I am proud to say I’ve never accepted a check from a special interest group or PAC.

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

Representing the people of District 116 for the past four years has been a true honor, and I am excited about returning to Raleigh to continue working to improve our public schools, protect our environment, reduce health care costs and encourage economic growth by supporting our area’s local businesses while trying to attract new ones.

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

The concerns people have are that government is protecting their air and water and ensuring that it’s clean and safe, that government is helping give people access to good, affordable health care, and that government is providing strong public education for their kids and we reach these goals by making companies that pollute pay for their wrongdoing, expanding Medicaid and fighting special interests to reduce premiums, and by restoring funding to our public education system.

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?

Having a strong and well-supported public education system is critical to the future not only of our children but our state. As mentioned, our per-pupil expenditures are still below 2008 levels, so at minimum we need to catch up to previous spending. We need to invest more in the classroom by improving funding for textbooks and digital learning, and we must not ignore the compensation for not only our teachers, but also our principals and school support staff.

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?

Gerrymandered districts are not in the best interest of the people of North Carolina. In my first term I co-sponsored legislation (HB49 and HB92) to have districts drawn by an independent commission. I believe creating a nonpartisan redistricting commission is an important step in restoring and preserving confidence in our political system.

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 think the minimum wage should be raised, but at the federal level. But I am not optimistic they will take action. At the state level I believe we can increase real incomes and give folks a much-needed boost by bringing back the earned income tax credit, which the current supermajority in Raleigh removed in 2013-14 session, since it is one of the most effective tools for lifting people out of poverty.

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 was a co-sponsor of the original Marsy’s Law legislation (B.) and supported it coming to the ballot as an amendment and as an avid hunter and outdoorsman, I also support the right to hunt and fish (A.). The other proposed amendments, half of which all five former living governors publicly came out against, and others that the six living former Supreme Court chief justices all oppose, I cannot support. Changing the makeup of the state Elections Board to eight members from nine would create potential consistent deadlocks on the board (C.), changing the appointment process for judicial vacancies between elections would amount to the General Assembly taking a long-standing power from the governor (D.). Lowering the tax cap (E.) could put us on the same downward spiral Colorado faced after enacting the same policy in the mid-’90s, and a state photo ID voting requirement (F.) could disenfranchise anyone who loses their license for traffic violations that range from DWI to driving 15 miles over the speed limit. Most of these amendments do not have enabling legislation written yet, and these are blank checks no one should feel comfortable writing the current leadership in the General Assembly.

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