Chuck Edwards, Republican
(Appointed to finish Sen. Apodaca’s term)
Place of residence: Flat Rock
Occupation: Small-business owner
Political experience: Never before run for office
Endorsements: National Federation of Independent Business; N.C. Chamber of Commerce; former Sen. Tom Apodaca; Jeff Miller; National Rifle Association
Amount of money raised: Please refer to avl.mx/32q
Top three donors and amount contributed: Please refer to avl.mx/32q
Why are you running?
It is more important than ever to have representation in Raleigh by someone with common sense, who knows what it takes to be successful, who has accomplished many things in life, who is sensitive to, and understands, the needs of families, and who can see through all the clutter in order to fashion solutions to improve the futures of North Carolinians.
Federal judges have deemed a number of North Carolina’s House and Senate districts illegal. How would you propose districts be drawn so that they are fair?
Previous judges have ruled that the districts drawn were fair and constitutional. We should wait until we receive the next court’s ruling so we will know what will be their interpretation. Districts should then be drawn in accordance with that ruling. Numerous other cases in other states have proven there may be no such thing as an “independent” redistricting commission, and North Carolina’s constitution makes the map drawers accountable to voters every two years.
Are you in favor of using economic development incentives? If so, what kind? If not, why?
It is no one’s first choice to offer incentives. However, most of our neighboring states offer incentives and they have become necessary in order for us to compete and lure good-paying jobs to our state. As the current senator, I recently had the opportunity to participate in a summary meeting with a group of businessmen from overseas who are planning to expand into the U.S. They mentioned five states they are considering — and their first question to me was regarding incentives we offer. We must maintain a war chest for incentives but they must provide a solid return on investment for our taxpayers.
Is HB2 protecting the residents of your district? Why or why not?
HB2 was in response to the Charlotte city ordinance that effectively makes it illegal to distinguish women’s bathrooms, showers and locker rooms from those of men. It’s common sense that the situation Charlotte created lacks common sense and decency.
Should Asheville City Council elections be held by district? Why or why not? Should it be decided by Raleigh or a city referendum?
I have heard from the constituency of District 48 in South Asheville, and they are concerned that their voice is not being heard by the Asheville City Council. Since their beliefs and needs tend to often differ from those of the immediate Asheville downtown area, they would at least like to have a representative from their district so that they would have a fair chance to influence the policies of Asheville. I don’t think this is an unreasonable request. It would be my first choice that the city leadership recognize the inequity of this situation and work to correct it with a suitable redistricting plan of their own.
What is an underrated, underfunded economic engine that could help attract jobs to Western North Carolina outside of the service and tourism industries? And how would you recommend utilizing this untapped potential?
North Carolina has made giant leaps in the last few years to create the infrastructure and business climate to help us attract more businesses. The most important things we can do going forward are to keep our tax rates low, get government out of the way by reducing burdensome regulation and licensing requirements, and improve our total education system to enable our citizens to be prepared for the jobs of the future, as well as fill the 595,000 job openings that exist today.
What state-run service needs the most improvement and how would you address it?
Our K-12 education system commands $8.5 billion of this year’s budget, which is the state’s single largest expenditure, yet it is not adequately serving the needs of today’s youth. North Carolina is blessed to have teachers, principals and support staff that have entered the field of education because they care for our youth and they want to make a meaningful difference. Our standards must be raised, the time teachers spend on testing must be reduced and we must be more efficient with the tax dollars assigned to education to reward teachers and put adequate resources into the classrooms.
What is the most important issue facing the state and how do you plan on addressing it?
Our economy is at the core to provide good jobs for our citizens, ensure their happy and secure futures and to generate the income required for essential state and local public services. As a small-business person, a previous consultant to small business and a representative of small business through my various associations, I am the candidate that best understands the obstacles to help business grow and expand to meet the demand for good jobs.
How do you represent a constituency with varied political ideologies?
Regardless of party, on Nov. 9 we simply must come together to begin the work to restore our observance of our state constitution and conduct the work of operating our government to benefit all our citizens. I have conducted my business, personal and community life in a way to always help others get what they want and need. I expect this philosophy to also be required of our government officials.
What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position?
I have extensive experience in a wide array of business functions and a strong and deep record of community service. I came from humble beginnings and was blessed to have realized the pathway to a better way of life is hard work, sacrifice and helping others. I am personally involved in and fully understand our economy and the lives of many families. I will represent District 48 with common sense solutions derived from real world experience and know-how. To learn more about me, please visit my website at chuckedwardsnc.com.