Frank Moretz, Republican
Place of residence: Fairview
Occupation: Retired physician, small-business owner
Political experience: None
Amount of money raised: DNA
Top three donors and amount contributed: DNA
Why are you running?
I believe in service: I served my country for eight years in the United States Air Force, I served my patients for 40 years, and since I am a believer in public education, I am serving the next generation by creating three endowments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, including one for the medical school here in Asheville. I am now offering my service to the citizens of House District 115 and of North Carolina by running for the N.C. House of Representatives.
Federal judges have deemed a number of North Carolina’s House and Senate districts illegal. How would you propose districts be drawn so that they are fair?
The computer-generated districts based on population appear to be as reasonable as any, but I would have to study them in detail before I endorsed them. Judicial precedent in North Carolina makes redistricting more difficult than most people realize.
Are you in favor of using economic development incentives? If so, what kind? If not, why?
If we do not use economic incentives, then someone else will, and the businesses will go elsewhere. Even with economic incentives, bringing new, good-paying jobs in clean businesses will improve the area.
Is HB2 protecting the residents of your district? Why or why not?
The issue is now being litigated, so I cannot say until it is fully implemented. It does not appear, to me, to offer additional protection over current statutes.
Should Asheville City Council elections be held by district? Why or why not? Should it be decided by Raleigh or a city referendum?
The district elections in the county have worked quite well, and although the state does have the right to decide this, it would be best to include the city in the process.
What is an underrated, underfunded economic engine that could help attract jobs to Western North Carolina outside of the service and tourism industries? And how would you recommend utilizing this untapped potential?
I am in favor of using TDA [Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority] money to attract and recruit new business. The money, which comes from a tax on hotel rooms, was originally used to market Asheville as a tourist destination, then some funds were used for projects that would bring additional tourists, but recently it was decided the funds will be used by nonprofits, which do not bring people or investment to the area. Business travel is equivalent to tourism because they bring visitors to the region. Additional funds could be provided by a joint effort of businesses and government. The extensions of the campuses of the UNC Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy could attract biomedical businesses, and the Mechatronics program at UNCA could attract high tech businesses.
What state-run service needs the most improvement and how would you address it?
Health and Human Services constitute 22 percent of the state budget. I think that a physician should be involved in discussions of improving mental health care, Medicaid reform, the worsening crisis of opioid addiction, certificate of public advantage and certificate of need. Currently there is only one physician in the N.C. legislature. All parties, including patients, providers, institutions, equipment manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and government must be at the table and have some skin in the game in order to effect meaningful change.
What is the most important issue facing the state and how do you plan on addressing it?
Education is our future, and it currently represents 57 percent of the state budget. To me, the purpose of education is to prepare students for careers and/or higher education. I feel that the “one size fits all” education model that is currently being used is not the best for many students. All students should have the same quality of education, but each student should have education that is tailored for their individual needs while still meeting federal guidelines. Students should be exposed to career choices as early as middle school in order to help them explore and select the educational path that is best for them.
How do you represent a constituency with varied political ideologies?
I am an independent thinker who has worked with members of both parties. I will work in bipartisan fashion using negotiation and compromise to provide what is best for the citizens of Buncombe County. Everyone has a voice and should be heard because the best solutions are found when all parties take part in the discussions. I want to hear arguments from both sides before I form my opinion on an issue.
What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position?
The incumbent was ranked 119 out of the 120 representatives for effectiveness by a nonpartisan group, the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research. Buncombe County needs effective representation and Rep. Ager’s ineffectiveness hurts the residents of the district. My experience as a physician, small-business owner (partner at Highland Brewing), a supporter of education (I serve on the Board of Visitors at UNC Chapel Hill) and a veteran will help improve the lives of residents of NC House District 115 and of North Carolina.