Political party: Democrat
Political experience: N.C. House 1979-82, 1985-94, 1997-2004; N.C. Senate 2004 to present
Endorsements: NCAE, N.C. Sierra Club, NRA, NC NOW PAC, Conservation Council of NC, the N.C. chapter of the National Assoc. of Social Workers, N.C. AFL-CIO
1) How much money have you raised for your campaign? Who are your top three donors, and how much has each contributed?
Total: about $40,000
Top three: SEANC $4,000, SEIU $4,000, N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers $2,000.
2) What most distinguishes you from your opponent in this election?
“Experience and philosophy. I believe government can create opportunities for people. My opponent sees government as the problem.”
3) What are your top three legislative priorities?
“Continuing to address problems with the North Carolina mental-health system, improving education, property-tax relief and land-use planning.”
4) What is your position on the NCSAVE$ proposal, currently before the Utilities Commission, for a statewide energy-efficiency program managed by consumers instead of public utilities?
“I am very supportive of this initiative. Progress Energy will try this program in Asheville to see how well it is accepted by the public in lieu of building another plant.”
5) Are further reforms needed to curtail undue influence by lobbyists in the Legislature? If so, what are your recommendations?
“Members are still working to interpret and comply with the sweeping reforms passed in 2006. Tweaking of the plan will continue, but the fundamentals are now in place.”
6) What do you recommend to remedy shortcomings in the state’s mental-health system?
“We are focusing this year on 1) Staffing and management in our state hospitals, 2) Crisis services at the local level, 3) Stability of our local management entities, and 4) Housing.”
7) What transportation-efficiency and public-transit initiatives, if any, do you plan to support?
“I support more mass transit, such as railroads, and cleaner, smarter autos.”
8) Do you support drilling for oil off the North Carolina coast? Why or why not?
“Not if it presents any danger to the environment.”
9) What changes, if any, would you recommend in the state-lottery program and how its proceeds are disbursed?
“The formula passed by the General Assembly is unfair to [many WNC] counties. My colleagues and I will continue efforts to change the distribution of the lottery proceeds [to make it] fairer. … We did get supplemental funding of $14 million for counties that have been hurt by this process.”
10) Do you support comprehensive sex education in the public schools, abstinence-only education, or some other approach?
“I support comprehensive sex education.”