Tell us about yourself
I have worked in public service most of my adult life, I began as a legal services attorney, was a prosecutor, an attorney in private practice, and then served as a district court, superior court and court of appeals judge. Thereafter, I was acting commissioner and deputy commissioner of the N.C. DMV, and director of the SBI Crime Laboratory.
I will be the first person in N.C. history to bring to the General Assembly, the legislative branch of government, extensive experience at the highest levels of both the judicial and executive branches of government.
My wife Evelyn and I have lived in District 40 for nearly 25 years and our three children have been educated in public schools located in the district.
One problem that a lot of Wake County families are forced to deal with is a loved one with mental health or addiction issues. How would you address the great needs for mental health beds in the county?
This is more of a question to be directed to county commissioner candidates. That being said, this tragic issue is one faced by families throughout the state. I would favor a cooperative local-state partnership to expand badly needed mental health and addiction services throughout the state.
North Carolina is one of just a few states with certificate of need (CON) laws that limit doctors and medical practices from expanding. Explain how the CON process affects health care in Wake County. Would you be in favor of abolishing
Frankly, this is an issue I would want to study in much more depth before responding. I note that my opponent has accepted substantial campaign contributions from organizations advancing one side of this issue. My approach would be the same as I took for nearly 25 years as a judge: Listen and weigh all sides of the issue carefully, evaluate the pros and the cons, and then make the best decision I can in the interests of the taxpayers of the state and District 40.
What would you do to address the heroin drug overdose issue in Wake County?
One of the more questionable actions taken by the current legislative majority was the elimination of funding for specialized courts such as Veterans’ Courts and Drug Courts, which address the multifaceted issues typically faced by veterans and drug-addicted individuals. Revitalizing these courts would be a significant step in connecting these individuals with needed services. A tax increase would not be needed to do this, but rather a reordering of priorities which presently fund millions of dollars of pork-barrel spending and give tax breaks to out-of-state corporations.
What are your top two priorities for the next session?
1. My number one priority is the establishment of a truly independent, impartial, non-partisan Redistricting Commission to draw N.C. Congressional and legislative districts so that every N.C. citizen has fair and equal representation, and so that N.C. voters will select their representatives instead of politicians selecting their voters as happens today. Both parties have abused the current system which has resulted in an extraordinarily high number of “safe” districts where representatives are not held accountable for their actions and may govern from the extreme right or left without considering different views.
2. A strong educational system from bottom to top, from the beginning years to the community college and university levels, is absolutely essential, not only to allowing all North Carolina children to develop their natural abilities to the fullest, but also to promoting and supporting a robust economic and business climate in our state. As the proud father of three children educated in N.C. schools and the doting grandfather of a young girl in the very early stages of that process, I believe we must maintain a high quality connected educational system in which all North Carolina’s children will be prepared for the jobs of the future. As a member of the General Assembly, I will fight for the resources to maintain such a system.
What makes you the best candidate for this office?
I believe that my training and experience in both the judicial and executive branches of government, and my years as a lawyer, mediator, arbitrator and judge, put me in a position to speak up and be heard on issues that matter, promoting good ideas and helping prevent bad ideas from becoming law. The issues facing North Carolina and District 40 are such that we should keep an open mind and carefully consider all proposals rather than rejecting a potential solution simply because of the source. My approach would be the one I utilized as a judge set out above, that is, carefully considering all sides of every issue, diligently reviewing the pros and the cons, and then making the best decision I can in the interests of the taxpaying citizens of our state.
My opponent, on the other hand, professes on her campaign website an adherence to a rigid, extremist political ideology, stating that her views and votes on issues are in accordance with that ideology. Presumably acting in lockstep with that ideology, she has been the sponsor of legislation such as HB 2 in 2016, and HB 129 in 2011, the latter of which precluded local governments from providing high-speed Internet access and effectively left small rural communities not served by a major private provider totally deprived of such access. The severe consequences of both these bills require their immediate reconsideration.