Candidates for N.C. Senate District 49, 2018 general election voter guide

Mark Crawford

Republican
Website: N/A
Occupation:Administrator of a small nonprofit medical center
Previous office held: Representative, N.C. House of Representatives
Key endorsements: (Past and/or present) NCAR; PBA; SEANC; GRNC; State Party
Amount of money raised: Third-quarter report not prepared yet
Top three donors: Third-quarter report not prepared yet

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

In the 2015-16 Legislative session, my opponent, Terry Van Duyn ranked below 85 percent of all state senators in the most respected effectiveness rating provided in the state (Public Interest Research Group). In this year’s Civitas effectiveness ratings, Van Duyn was tied for dead last. Not a single bill she sponsored this year ever got out of committee. We need someone in Raleigh who can actually accomplish something for Buncombe County’s citizens. I will be that senator.

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

I’m a longtime educator. I spent parts or all of 13 academic years teaching, at all levels, in Buncombe schools as a full-time substitute, and 11 years as an instructor at Western Carolina University. Education is paramount. Recently, at a candidate briefing, information was given that only 18 percent of all North Carolina students taking the ACT met all four areas required to be deemed prepared to enter college. I will do anything and everything possible to better these results.

In a report released in the 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?

When I served in the House of Representatives, I made the statement that we should pay for what is needed. This applies to our children’s education, and that’s exactly the funding approach I will take. I should note, however, that the report cited did not take into account cost of living, but rather compared raw dollar spending, which can be very misleading. I should add that Republican raises to teachers exceeded a combined 10 percent over the past four years.

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?

When I served in the House of Representatives, I was the only member — on either side of the aisle — when Rep. Justus gave a redistricting presentation to call for the drawing of clear, unbiased, nonpartisan, geographically compact districts. I stand by this 100 percent. Though federal judges may have “deemed” a number of North Carolina’s electoral districts illegal, congressional districts drawn in 2011 received full pre-approval from the Obama Justice Department.

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?

Recently at the Mountain State Fair, I saw many people approached by a company’s representative, offering jobs at $13 an hour. Currently, our economy is strong enough to make adjustments without this being mandated. Likewise, to the best of my knowledge, our cities or counties are not currently forbidden from doing this if they choose. As your senator, I would not work against their choices to raise wages, because $7.25 an hour is not feasible to live on locally.

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

This year, I was asked to be, and served as, Buncombe County’s coordinator for Marsy’s Law, which was to strengthen protections for crime victims’ rights. This evolved into the constitutional amendment cited as B. I strongly and absolutely endorse this. As for allowing North Carolina citizens to keep more of their hard-earned money in their own pockets, to be used as they see fit (E.), that’s just common sense and has proved to be an economic boon to our state. After the 2012 election, a study involving the voting records of 29 states, it was found that 35,750 individuals who shared the same names and dates of birth appeared to have voted in two different states. Of that number, roughly 760 of them had the same names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers! All of this appears to be voter fraud! This is why F. is so vitally important. Remember when a local municipality had such a problem with wildlife destroying property? Amendment A. addresses that. As for C. and D., I’m all for a greater effort to make the state Elections Board more nonpartisan. Likewise, I’d rather have merit-based judges filling vacancies than the governor’s political cronies.


Lyndon John Smith

Libertarian
Website: N/A
Occupation: Small-business owner
Previous candidacy or offices held: N/A
Key endorsements: N/A
Amount of money raised: We ask anyone who would want to contribute to our campaign to donate to their favorite local charity instead. One of the fundamental problems with the current election system is that money influences elections. Candidates should use the vast network of social media and conventional media to communicate with voters.
Top three donors: N/A

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

As a father of two children and a small-business owner, I want to increase understanding, decency and equality by removing barriers to quality education and the free market. I aim to add more solutions choices and ideas to a two-party political environment where only two polar options are considered. There are almost always more than two ways to solve a problem. I also believe that government’s role is to protect and serve its citizens, not to regulate its citizens.

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

Education, rational gun control, limited useless regulation and affordable housing is what’s on voters’ minds. Improving education is paramount. If we enable and facilitate learning, we can avoid many problems. Let’s focus on improving and increasing access to education and lessen the social disruption and human cost of economic determinism.

In a report released in the 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?

We need to spend wisely and provide better learning environments before we change anything else. A simple example is that hard research confirms that young children do not learn well at 8 a.m. in the morning. So, why do schools start at 7:30 a.m.? Standardized testing also represents just one kind of intelligence. Let’s strengthen and recognize other types of intelligence as well.

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?

Districts should be drawn by a third nonpartisan group without regard to party affiliation or other demographics.

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?

Setting a minimum wage is only a Band-Aid and will not fix the underlying sources of low income. Instead, let’s focus on the causes of low wages, improve education and remove barriers to opportunity.

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. For. Although the right is not currently at risk, there is no harm in declaring that citizens are allowed to hunt, fish and harvest.
B. Against. The name of this amendment sounds great, but in application, it interferes with the Sixth Amendment, undermines youth offenders and creates additional bureaucracy.
C. Against. This amendment consolidates power with the legislature and goes against the fundamentals of the North Carolina constitution. It is a shameful power grab.
D. Against. This amendment consolidates power with the legislature and goes against the fundamentals of the North Carolina constitution. Balance of powers is a central principle of American democracy
E. Against. The amendment would further consolidate wealth with the wealthy.
F. Against. This creates more bureaucracy and further marginalizes lower-income voters.


Terry Van Duyn

Incumbent, Democrat
Website: VoteVanDuyn.com
Occupation: Former systems analyst
Previous candidacy or offices held: N.C. Senate District 49 — 2 previous terms
Key endorsements: N.C. Association of Educators, AFL-CIO, Sierra Club, Lillian’s List, N.C. Policeman’s Benevolent Association
Amount of money raised: $217,739.83 (as of June 30)
Top three donors: Myself, Ron Edgerton, Mack Pearsall

Why are you running for re-election to North Carolina Senate?

Democrats are united behind Gov. Cooper’s vision for a North Carolina economy that works for everyone. The strategy is to attract high-paying jobs by making North Carolina a top 10 educated state through investments in early childhood education, raising teacher pay to at least the national average, making community college affordable and our universities world-class. That’s a vision worth fighting for, and I am proud to be part of the team.

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

In Buncombe County, we want government that is prudent, responsible and responsive to the needs of its citizens. That means being fiscally vigilant but making the kinds of investments that will ensure our children get a good education, that we can access affordable health care and that we protect clean air and water. The North Carolina Legislature is failing to adequately address all of these issues.

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?

For too long, we have prioritized corporate tax cuts above funding for education. That’s why we’re still at pre-recession levels. Employers I talk to need a highly educated workforce in order to grow their businesses and be successful. Gov. Cooper put forth a fiscally responsible budget that eliminated the waiting list for pre-K, raised teacher salaries, made community college affordable for all North Carolina high school graduates and invested in our universities. I support that.

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 support independent redistricting. With big data and big computers, partisan gerrymandering has gotten so precise, many voters believe the system is rigged. I recently met with members of the California Independent Redistricting Commission. They adopted an open, transparent process that severely limits the legislature’s involvement. Since then, voter turnout has been as high as 75 percent, approval ratings for the legislature went up to 50 percent, and they have never lost a court challenge. Independent redistricting works!

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! Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have raised their minimum wage above the federal floor of $7.25 an hour. We need to gradually get to $15 an hour over five years. People who are willing to work hard deserve a livable wage.

And yes, local government should have the ability to craft minimum-wage legislation. The General Assembly was wrong to take away our local prerogative to set wages for contractors that are paid with our tax dollars.

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

Our federal constitution is a sacred document; we need to honor its basic principles in our state constitution. Instead, for political gain, the legislature has chosen to ignore constitutional concepts like separation of powers and the right to vote. That’s why I oppose all six amendments.
A. There is no impediment to hunting or fishing. This amendment has no practical impact.
B. We already have a Victims Bill of Rights in our constitution. This is an unfunded mandate that could collectively cost our counties $30 million a year.
C. A 4-Democrat/4-Republican Board of Elections is designed to cause gridlock; that would make it difficult for local boards to respond to the needs of their communities.
D. The ability of the governor to appoint judges when vacancies occur between elections ensures judicial independence as our Founding Fathers intended.
E. Capping state income tax makes it more likely sales taxes would need to be raised in a crisis, shifting the burden to low-income taxpayers.
F. Voting fraud is virtually nonexistent. This is a cynical way to deprive honest North Carolinians of their right to vote.

SHARE

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.