Candidates for N.C. Senate District 48, 2018 general election voter guide

Norm Bossert

Democrat
Website: Norm4NC.com
Occupation: Retired educator
Previous candidacy or offices held: Ran for state Senate in 2016; ran for state House 2014; ran for Transylvania County school board on two occasions
Key endorsements: N.C. Association of Educators, Planned Parenthood, AFL-CIO, Equality North Carolina
Amount of money raised: As of Sept. 8, +/- $47,000
Top three donors: Audrey Stelloh; Carter Hayward; a local woman who requested to remain anonymous

Why are you running for N.C. Senate?

As a career educator, I was dismayed about many issues regarding our public schools. Staff was reduced, funds cut, charters allowed to proliferate as public/private entities, teacher salaries (especially for senior educators) not growing, per pupil expenditures $500 less than in 2008 (prior to the recession). There are many other education-related issues as well, but concern for the schools is what started my pursuit for public office.

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

Health care: I would work to expand Medicaid for our poorest neighbors start an impact study for a North Carolina single-payer system. Schools: I would work to fully fund our public schools. Good-paying jobs: I would work with industry to identify trades most in need of workers, including electricians, plumbers, roofers and construction jobs of all sorts. Then I would work to fund our community colleges with the tools they need to train people to do these jobs.

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?

I would work to bring our per-pupil expenditures to the national average and better. I do not believe that we need to increase taxes to pay for such an increase. We need, instead, to revisit how we spend our money. Education is about 60 percent of our state budget. As a career educator, I believe that I am in a better position to know how to fully fund our children.

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?

They should be redrawn by a nonpartisan agency or committee. Politicians should remove themselves from this process as much as is constitutionally possible.

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?

Yes. A living wage is different in every community. It costs more to live in Asheville than it does in Hendersonville, for example. That means, to me, that communities need to be involved in determining fair wages for their communities. Labor might cost more to run a fast-food place in Asheville than Brevard. Some would argue that with low unemployment, that could set up competition to find employees that would favor richer communities. Such competition is, ultimately, good for 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

A. I know of no legislator who has ever tried to restrict hunting and fishing. No laws or definitions of laws have been written for this amendment
B. North Carolina already has some of the strongest victim protections in the U.S. No laws or definitions of laws have been written for this amendment.
C. This amendment might hurt tricameral government in North Carolina. No laws or definitions of laws have been written for this amendment.
D. Same as C.
E. This amendment could harm our schools and would fail to protect the poor and middle classes. When personal income taxes fail to raise adequate funds, the legislature must raise money through other sources of revenue, such as fees, property taxes, sales taxes and taxes on services. This places an unfair tax burden on those less able to afford it and lessens the fair contributions of corporations.
F. Photo ID has made access to the polls more difficult for African-Americans, the poor and the elderly, despite no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Republican-supported laws in this matter have been struck down, owing to their discriminatory nature. Republicans are enthusiastic about absentee ballots, which require no photo ID and which can be more easily filled out fraudulently!


Chuck EdwardsChuck Edwards

Republican
Website: chuckedwardsnc.com
Occupation: Self-employed small-business owner
Previous candidacy or offices held: Elected to N.C. Senate in 2016
Key endorsements: Did not answer.
Amount of money raised: Work in progress, refer to State Board of Elections records
Top three donors: Work in progress, refer to State Board of Elections records

Why are you running for re-election to the N.C. Senate?

I am running because more than ever we need representatives in Raleigh that are compassionate listeners with broad sets of skills and experiences, that seek out wasteful spending, that insist on government efficiency, that have had to earn their living in the private sector and are sympathetic to all those who do the same and who fully understand how to build our economy. We need representation that can adequately fund needs like public education without breaking the backs of taxpayers.

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

Employers need skilled and motivated employees to fill jobs to fuel our economy, and everyone wants to see more of our citizens landing in the middle class and living the American dream. I have and will continue to support legislation that helps remove obstacles to achieving these goals, such as ApprenticeshipNC, community college funding and their career coaches, NC Promise investing in public education, including early childhood, and programs like the STOP and the HOPE Acts.

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?

I supported teacher pay raises each of the two years I have served. North Carolina is now recognized as having one of the fastest-growing pay rates for teachers in the nation, and average teacher pay is now $53,700. I voted for budgets that added $1.5 billion to K-12 education and restored the Teaching Fellows program. I supported funding that eradicates the pre-K waitlist so that at-risk children will have a better shot at a solid 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?

Judges have also found in favor of the same maps. The Obama administration approved the maps that later became challenged and so controversial. There are laws that govern the drawing of maps such as the Stephenson rule, and there are specific measures for characteristics such as size and compactness. The problem is that different judges interpret the same laws differently, and they often change the rules. It is my objective to draw maps that meet legal standards at that time.

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?

My answer to both of these questions is no.

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 supported the legislation that created each of these amendments, and I intend to vote for each of them in November. A wonderful component of our democracy is that now our voters will decide. Please look at NC48.com/6 for a bit more background on why I support each.

A. Hunting and fishing is an important part of our heritage. To preserve this right would also serve to remind future generations the importance of environmental protection and wildlife management.
B. Victims are often left out of the conviction process and should have rights, too.
C. A bipartisan board would protect election integrity no matter which party holds the majority.
D. Historically, this authority has been abused by governors from both parties. One person, no matter from what party, should be able to appoint up to 40 percent of judicial seats in our state.
E. This serves to protect citizens from future assemblies with runaway spending plans.
F. Photo ID is a common-sense measure that helps protect the integrity of our election system.

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