Gregory L. Cathcart
Occupation: Deputy sheriff, sergeant of School Resource Officer Division
Education: A.S. degree, A-B Tech; advanced law-enforcement certificate, N.C. Department of Justice
Political experience: None
1. Do you support allowing individual municipalities to enact their own campaign-finance reform ordinances?
Yes. Voters tell me they believe money influences [elected officials’] decisions … and the high cost of conducting a campaign has kept good people from running for office. … Constituents [must] have confidence in their elected officials, and I believe campaign-finance reform on a local level will help restore [it].
2. Do you believe the state’s ethics law for legislators is adequate? If not, how would you change it?
I agree with the reforms in SB612 and will continue efforts to make the government more open and accountable to the people. … The reforms set to begin in 2007 should be implemented immediately, and legislators should create an independent ethics commission to uniformly cover legislative and executive branch candidates.
3. What’s your position on the proposed passenger-rail service between Raleigh and Western North Carolina?
I believe the planned extension of service will have a positive economic impact on tourism development and job creation, and will have a positive environmental impact by reducing traffic congestion and [improving] air quality.
4. Would you support state funding for renovating or rebuilding the Asheville Civic Center? Why or why not?
If Asheville approves a public/private partnership proposal for the Civic Center, I would support limited state funding. However, I believe there are more feasible options for funding to consider.
5. Do you support a public-funding option for Council of State candidates, similar to the judicial public-financing system approved in 2002? Why?
I am in favor of voter-owned elections for Council of State races. Candidates who choose the public-funding option are free to listen to the concerns of the average voter, rather than the voice of special-interest groups. In a voter-owned election, the voter is the special-interest group.
6. What do you plan to do to ensure equitable distribution of state lottery funds to WNC?
Every child in NC deserves their fair share of lottery funds. I support current efforts by WNC legislators to base distribution of construction dollars on the number of children in each district. I will fight to prevent lottery funds from replacing the [state] money school districts already depend on.
7. Name three state budget areas or items that should be reduced and three that should be increased.
Wasteful and extravagant spending on any budget area or item should be eliminated. I believe public education, environmental services and mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse should be increased.
8. Would you approve additional local-option rooms-and-meals or food-and-beverage taxes for Buncombe County? Under what circumstances?
I am opposed to additional taxes.
9. As WNC’s land prices skyrocket, would you support tools — such as the property-transfer tax or inclusionary zoning — to help communities keep housing affordable?
I do not support a property-transfer tax, but I might consider inclusionary zoning as part of the solution. This problem is not unique to WNC: Affordable housing is a national issue. Any approach to a solution must include the public and the private sector.
10. What most distinguishes you from your opponents in this primary?
I have no political experience, but I see and talk to people who live and work in this district, and I am running because I know what is important to them. If elected, I will make my decisions based on what is important to the people in Buncombe County.