North Carolina State House District 114

The candidates are Susan Fisher, Democrat, and Bill Porter, Republican.


Susan Fisher

Age: 49
Occupation: Member of the N.C. General Assembly; former director, Kids Voting/Buncombe County
Years in WNC: Fifth-generation native
Education: B.A. in speech pathology and audiology, University of Maryland
Political party: Democrat
Political experience: Eight years on the Asheville City Board of Education (four as chairperson). Gov. Hunt’s four-term appointee to the N.C. Council for Women. Worked on the D.C. staff of U.S. Rep. James McClure Clarke. Serves on the Asheville Regional Airport Authority board.

1. What sets you apart from your opponent?

“I have held public office, for one thing. I’m a native familiar with the people of this county. And I’m 49 years old and have many years to commit to this position. And I have experience in the legislature — I know how to get a bill passed.”

2. What’s the biggest problem facing the state? What would you do about it?

“The loss of manufacturing in North Carolina. We are facing a job shortage in this area in particular, and we are working hard currently to bring new businesses to Buncombe County and this area. But what I would work on is encouraging the businesses that are already here — the small businesses and the [other] businesses that are already here — to stay here and to help them to thrive.”

3. I-26 Connector: Six lanes or eight? Why?

“I’m still in the information-gathering mode, but I tend toward six lanes. The reason I do is that I’ve seen larger cities that have done very well with eight lanes — but, again, they are larger cities. I don’t think that Asheville lends itself to eight lanes, and I think we need to look at alternative transportation. We need to look at doing things other than putting more asphalt in.”

4. Should electronic voting machines in N.C. be required to provide a paper trail?

“I would like to see that, yes.”

5. Do you support spending limits for local elections?

“Yes, I do; and public financing.”

6. Apart from judicial races, do you support voter-financed state elections?

“Yes.”

7. How much money do you plan to spend in the general election?

“I am brand new at this — I have never run for elected office before. Some of my peers have told me I should plan to raise between $50,000 and $65,000.”

8. What’s the first legislation you would propose or support if elected?

“There are several, but I’d like to see the legislature address the death-penalty moratorium.”

9. Do you favor a death-penalty moratorium? Why or why not?

“Absolutely. I know that there are backlogs of evidence — particularly DNA evidence — that could prove very helpful to folks who have been incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. I’d like to give ample time to do that research, to look into that. We need to use the technology.”

10. How would you highlight WNC issues at the state level?

“I think that it has a lot to do with building relationships and building coalitions among your seatmates in the Legislature. You have to build those relationships. I think that working together with those folks and with the local delegation, we can make sure that Western North Carolina gets its fair share of notice.”

11. What WNC funding priorities will you push for?

“One of the things that will have to be at the top of the list when we go back is taking care of the flood situation. We had a lot of damage, and I know that there was plenty of legislation for the eastern part of the state when it came to finding the funds to get them back on their feet. I think it’s going to take a lot to bring us back, and I want to work to get what we need to do that.”

12. Do you support “pop the cap” legislation? Why or why not? [Editor’s note: The legislation would eliminate North Carolina’s requirement that beer contain less than 6 percent alcohol by volume.]

“Yes. There are some really nice sipping beers that restaurants can’t sell. We sell alcohol with a higher proof than most beers, and we sell them at state stores, but we don’t allow lesser-proof beers to be sold.”

13. What should the General Assembly do, if anything, about rising medical-malpractice-insurance rates?

“That’s another area where I’m still gathering information, but I know that there needs to be some changes. I don’t by any means want to limit citizen access to the judicial system, but we need to make some adjustments.”

14. What’s your position on lowering the tax rate on corporate profits?

“We need to be careful about what we do to turn business away, but at the same time I know we’ve made mistakes as far as giving corporate breaks that have really not given them any incentive to stay here. I think we need to do whatever we can to encourage businesses to stay in the area.”

15. What changes, if any, would you propose to the state’s economic-development-incentives policy?

“One thing that has to happen is that we don’t just give money away without conditions. We need “claw back” legislation that would provide for [repaying the] funding if a business, for whatever reason, decides to go elsewhere.”

16. The Canary Coalition is pushing for reform of the state Division of Air Quality. What’s your position?

“I am absolutely in support of legislation that will improve air quality.”


Bill Porter

Age: 66
Occupation: Semi-retired investor and businessman
Years in WNC: 17
Education: B.A. in finance, Northwestern University
Political party: Republican
Political experience: Advance man for Pennsylvanian John Heinz’s U.S. Senate campaign

1. What sets you apart from your opponent?

“I think I have a lot more experience in finance and economics.”

2. What’s the biggest problem facing the state? What would you do about it?

“I think it’s economic policy. I would cut wasteful spending and eliminate the state income tax and replace it with additional taxes in other areas.”

3. I-26 Connector: Six lanes or eight? Why?

“Eight lanes. I don’t think there’s a significant difference in them, and it would allow for growth.”

4. Should electronic voting machines in N.C. be required to provide a paper trail?

“Yes.”

5. Do you support spending limits for local elections?

“No.”

6. Apart from judicial races, do you support voter-financed state elections?

“No, I don’t support that.”

7. How much money do you plan to spend in the general election?

“I don’t know at this point.” Candidate declined to give a ballpark figure.

8. What’s the first legislation you would propose or support if elected?

“We need to start getting rid of a lot of the wasteful spending and the politically motivated spending.”

9. Do you favor a death-penalty moratorium? Why or why not?

“If I had any doubts I would, but I don’t. I don’t support a moratorium, but I do support possibly some sort of way of verifying if the person is really guilty.”

10. How would you highlight WNC issues at the state level?

“I’d try to relate them to broader statewide issues.”

11. What WNC funding priorities will you push for?

“We could use more funding for infrastructure.”

12. Do you support “pop the cap” legislation? Why or why not? [Editor’s note: The legislation would eliminate North Carolina’s requirement that beer contain less than 6 percent alcohol by volume.]

“I don’t think I’d oppose it.”

13. What should the General Assembly do, if anything, about rising medical-malpractice-insurance rates?

“We need to pass a reasonable tort reform.”

14. What’s your position on lowering the tax rate on corporate profits?

“Corporations don’t pay taxes — the customers do. My main focus on taxes is to eliminate the state income tax.”

15. What changes, if any, would you propose to the state’s economic-development-incentives policy?

“I would eliminate the incentives policy and reduce taxes for everybody. I don’t believe in playing favorites.”

16. The Canary Coalition is pushing for reform of the state Division of Air Quality. What’s your position?

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One thought on “North Carolina State House District 114

  1. Bob Ryder

    Thank you, your questions to the candidates were both relative and illuminating. I am unaffiliated but,must admit that I have leaned left since registering over thirty years ago. I did vote for Obama. I will probably never vote for a Democrat again! Sixteen months after Obama has taken over as President, I’m worried. He has proven to me what all the nay-sayers were uttering when his name was first mentioned, “NO EXPERIENCE”. He has shown no leadership skills whatsoever. His foriegn policy, I believe, reveals he had his lunch money taken away frequently as a kid. I will continue to drink Arizonia(made in Long Island) sweet tea even if I agree that that bill will promote racial profiling. Those southwestern states are tired of waiting for the federal goverment to enforce the law. I apologize for going off on a rant but if local democrats support this president and this congress, they don’t deserve my vote!

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