Political party: Democrat
Occupation: Resigned from Governor’s Office to be available as full-time legislator
Political experience: Very active in community, seven years in Governor’s Western Office
Endorsements: Police Benevolent Association, Conservation Council of NC, State Employees Association, Lillian’s List, NC Association of CPAs, NC Academy of Trial Lawyers, National Association of Social Workers
1) How much money have you raised for your campaign? Who are your top three donors, and how much has each contributed?
Total: just over $50,000 (as of June 30)
Top three: David Kirby $2,859, James Blaine $2,000, Mack Pearsall $1,500.
2) What most distinguishes you from your opponent in this election?
“I’ve taken the time to personally knock on 2,000 doors and actually speak with hundreds of voters about their concerns. I know I don’t have all the answers, but I have clearly demonstrated that I am willing to take the time to hear the issues facing our community.”
3) What are your top three legislative priorities?
“Creating jobs in Buncombe County by supporting small businesses and making sure we have an educated and prepared work force. Making sure our public schools have their fair share of [state] money. Helping increase health-care access and affordability by giving small businesses tax credits for offering employees health insurance.”
4) What is your position on the NCSAVE$ proposal, currently before the Utilities Commission, for a statewide energy-efficiency program managed by consumers instead of public utilities?
“The idea of consumers managing the energy-efficiency program does make sense, but in order to take a hard stance on this issue I would need more information.”
5) Are further reforms needed to curtail undue influence by lobbyists in the Legislature? If so, what are your recommendations?
“Lobbyists are one source of information … for legislators. The problem … is that some legislators see lobbyists for the money that’s behind them rather than the information they provide. I support the existing ban on lobbyist contributions and believe all interaction between legislators and lobbyists should be public record.”
6) What do you recommend to remedy shortcomings in the state’s mental-health system?
“Set up a system that allows mental-health professionals to focus energy on treating clients rather than filling out paperwork. [State] standards [are] necessary, but [they] should be created after consultation with those [working] in the field. The state should step in and help those the private sector is leaving behind.”
7) What transportation-efficiency and public-transit initiatives, if any, do you plan to support?
“I will support responsible transit initiatives that are cost-effective and that help alleviate congestion. Most of the planning for such a transportation system needs to take place at the local level. Alternative forms of transportation should also be a part of regional plans.”
8) Do you support drilling for oil off the North Carolina coast? Why or why not?
“It should be an option, but I think [we should] focus on alternative [sources]. We need to move toward energy independence. I believe [alternative sources are] the only way to significantly reduce the price of fuel. We must make sure proper oversight is in place for all offshore drilling.”
9) What changes, if any, would you recommend in the state-lottery program and how its proceeds are disbursed?
“Lottery-money allocation should be based on the number of students in each county. Buncombe County students are currently being punished because state budget writers don’t think our property-tax rate is high enough. That’s an unrealistic standard that does not take into account our higher property values.”
10) Do you support comprehensive sex education in the public schools, abstinence-only education, or some other approach?
“Local school boards make this decision. I personally believe that with parental consent, comprehensive sex education should be an option in the public schools.”