Name: Jane Whilden
Occupation: Representative, state House
Party affiliation, if any: Democrat
Political experience: One term in N.C. House
Endorsements: N.C. Association of Educators, Sierra Club, N.C. Police Benevolent Association, Asheville Citizen-Times, Headwaters Campaign, N.C. Advocates for Justice, N.C. Assoc. of Social Workers, Lillian's List, Emily's List
1) How much money have you raised for your campaign?
Who are your top three donors, and how much has each contributed?
N.C. Advocates for Justice – $4,000
Speaker Joe Hackney – $4,000
Lillian's List – $4,000
2) What most distinguishes you from your opponent?
I have experience serving the community (Pisgah Girl Scout Council, Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC, MANNA FoodBank, among others). I can dedicate myself to being a full-time House representative. Also, most of the money I’ve raised has come from individuals as opposed to special interests.
3) What are your top three legislative priorities?
• Getting our citizens back to work;
• protecting education;
• ensuring a healthy environment for future generations.
4) Do you support authorizing Asheville to raise its hotel-room tax?
As of this writing, I haven’t heard from any of my constituents on this issue. However, it’s my understanding that these funds are used to help Asheville's infrastructure. It’s something I would need to research more and would consider if our area shows a need for increased revenues.
5) What methods do you favor for dealing with the state budget crunch, and how would they affect the Asheville area?
We're still waiting to see what position we'll be in; it will need to be approached methodically, line by line. We must ensure that our tough decisions don’t overly burden any one segment of the population. Education must remain our top priority to prepare our citizens for the work force.
6) Do you favor changing state law governing involuntary annexation? If so, how?
Yes. I think we need a public vote of those who are about to be annexed. We also need to study how other states handle annexation, and see if we can put to use some of their ideas in helping us solve this divisive issue.
7) North Carolina had more people on its AIDS Drug Assistance Program waiting list last year than all other states combined. Do you favor fully funding this program?
I believe that every North Carolinian, especially those with with life-threatening diseases and limited financial resources, deserves access to quality, affordable health care.
8) What’s your position on legalizing medical marijuana?
If it’s used for legitimate medical reasons, prescribed by a licensed physician and monitored, it should be legalized. We would want to make sure it would generate revenue for our state. This isn’t something we should rush into; obviously a lot more research would need to be done first.
9) Do you favor providing benefits for same-sex domestic partners of state employees? Why or why not?
Looking at other N.C. cities/counties, there’s relatively little additional cost. Evidence shows that these benefits help recruit/retain quality employees, which would keep our state competitive. In tough times, every penny spent must be carefully weighed. I would want to see how this would factor into our projected state health plan.
10) Do you support state assistance to local municipalities in financial trouble? If so, in what form?
I would hope that our cities, towns and counties across the state have made sufficient adjustments to their budgets so that the state would not have to bail them out. I think it would have to be looked at on a case-by-case basis, carefully considering the circumstances.