Charles Thomas

Charles Thomas

Age: 34
Residence: Buncombe County
Occupation: Financial adviser
Education: B.A. government, Wofford College
Party: Republican
Political experience: no previous elected office

1. What was the best piece of legislation the General Assembly passed last session? Why?

While no single piece of legislation stands out, there were several notable accomplishments. HB 248 strengthened our drug laws. Legislation was passed that provides credits to certain businesses that offer health insurance to employees, and there was child-care support for poor working mothers.

2. What was the worst piece of legislation? Why?

Tuition waivers that could support illegal aliens. Our tax dollars need to support our citizens.

3. What would be your three top legislative priorities?

• Improving education

• Improving health care (to include mental health)

• Improving our economy

4. Should our local legislative delegation have sponsored Sullivan Acts II and III in 2005? Why?

Yes, but only after allowing all available time for a local solution. Water should not be used as a political tool.

5. What’s your stance on capital punishment?

I support it. The problem is not with the punishment. The problem is wrongful convictions for any crime. To address this, we must properly support our court system and law enforcement.

6. What most distinguishes you from your opponent?

Relevant work experience. I am a veteran, a small-business owner and a financial adviser. I helped construct two regional cancer-treatment centers, and I have attended both public and private schools at almost every level.

7. What reforms are most needed in state politics?

While I believe most people offer themselves for public office with the best of intentions, power can corrupt. In our state, power is concentrated in the leadership positions within the General Assembly. I support term limits on these positions.

8. What’s your position on the proposed passenger-rail service between Raleigh and Western North Carolina?

In theory, I support the idea. I look forward to the opportunity to review the final and complete proposal. It would be irresponsible to promise funding without seeing the complete plan.

9. Would you support state funding for renovating or rebuilding the Asheville Civic Center? Why or why not?

I first need to see a detailed long-term plan for viability of the center. I will make my decision based upon the substance and quality of the plan presented when contrasted with our area’s other needs. A participating revenue muni-bond structure may work without raising any taxes.

10. Name three state budget areas or items that should be reduced and three that should be increased.

Reduced: executive discretionary funds; legislative discretionary funds; remove redundant funding through zero-based budgeting

Increased: support for the classroom; childcare; health care/mental health

About Jon Elliston
An Asheville-based mountain journalist: Former Mountain Xpress managing editor. Investigations and open government editor at Carolina Public Press. Senior contributing editor at WNC magazine.

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