ON THE ISSUES
State Legislators control the state budget, and how that budget is written is a matter of priority. Let's make sure North Carolina prioritizes the things that truly matter.
Our priority must be to save the lives of our friends and neighbors. We must look to, and trust, public health officials on what to do. Many people in NC are hurting right now, both physically, and financially.
There are two states in America that offer only 12 weeks of unemployment -- NC is one of them. This is because, in 2013, the state's unemployment insurance program was slashed by Republicans in the General Assembly.
From providing health care to those who don’t have it, to paid leave, to relief from foreclosures, we need to put people in North Carolina first.
COVID Healthcare: We need to expand Medicaid, which will increase access to affordable healthcare to North Carolinians without raising taxes. Right now, uninsured North Carolinians could expect to pay up to $20,000 dollars out of pocket for Coronavirus treatment. Getting sick is something that could happen to anyone and no one should have to go into crippling debt from a medical emergency.
COVID's Effect on the Economy: We need to reduce taxes on small businesses and offer grants to allow them to stay open. We must increase unemployment benefits, and extend the delay on evictions and foreclosures so people aren’t at risk of losing their homes.
Addressing Systemic Racism
The legacy of this country's history persists today and is weaved into everything from education, jobs, and housing to generational wealth and opportunities to succeed.
As legislators, is it not enough to say we oppose racism, we must acknowledge its existence and explicitly work to address the ways it has permeated every facet of society.
All communities deserve safety, and I will not turn a blind eye when communities of color feel unsafe. When police act violently, and over-police black neighborhoods and communities of color, we have created a society that is separate and unequal. In areas where people love their police force, it is because the police force is treating the community with respect, and there are good educational opportunities, good housing, and social services.
Every North Carolinian deserves to live in a peaceful community. This means investing in the services that allow them to grow and succeed.
Reforming Policing: Tax money should not be spent on militarizing police forces but rather go to supporting education (not school officers), mental health services, and social workers who focus on de-escalation as opposed to using violent force to address conflict. We cannot invest in the type of policing that hurts our communities but rather, towards initiatives that aim to build communities up, and show respect.
The first things that should be done are to fund affordable housing, education. We must also remove officers who show an inability to de-escalate, and invest in alternative first responders like social workers who are trained to address conflict in nonviolent ways.
Racism in Healthcare, Education, and the Environment: While COVID-19 has affected us all, it disproportionally affects communities of color. This same truth exists for disparities in education and environmental impact. Policies to address these disparities include funding Medicaid for all, increasing school funding and teacher pay, and holding corporate polluters accountable (discussed further below).
Education & Our Teachers
Public Education used to be a big point of pride in North Carolina. As a parent, I know raising teacher pay and classroom resources are vital. In 1997, the NC Supreme Court declared all children had the right to “sound basic education.” An entire generation has passed and are still being denied this basic constitutional right. It is long past time for us to make the serious, necessary investments in our schools, our teachers, and in our children.
North Carolina spends $3,000 less per student than the national average, putting us 40th in the nation. Our teachers make $9,000 less than the national average. This is unacceptable.
Right-wing politicians talk about “school choice” as they repeatedly underfund our public schools, driving families to private and charter schools. Real choice means fully funding our public schools so that they are the first, best option for North Carolina’s families. It is time to stop cutting and start investing in our public schools, in our children, and in our future.
Increase Teacher Pay: I supported a budget in the General Assembly that would have given teachers twice the pay raise -- but the Republican-held legislature struck it down. I plan to continue to support teacher pay increases in budgets until they pass. I also support accelerating the opportunity for raises. Right now, it takes teachers 23 years to reach the $50,000 threshold. We should not be taking advantage of those who educate our children.
Increase School Budgets: I support providing additional funding per student in public schools. We must get to a place where we are investing at least the national average per student, if not more.
North Carolina's beauty and natural resources rival all others, and yet, Republicans continue to allow large corporations to do as they please to poison us, and our environment. From fracking, to coal ask ponds to GenX contaminating our drinking water, corporations get richer, and we get sticker.
We must hold the rich and powerful accountable for the mess they're making. No one has a right to come into our district and take advantage of us. We all deserve a safe and healthy environment.
We also must continue to invest in clean energy technology and development. Right now, we are second in the country for solar power production, and have a huge potential to produce wind power at a low cost. Unfortunately, Republicans have voted to halt wind farm development, and expired the renewable energy tax credit. Clean energy doesn’t just benefit North Carolina’s environment and the health of our families – it also creates jobs, and has been a significant source of economic development in the Tar Heel State. In the last two years, the clean energy sector has added 110,000 jobs to the state. Imagine how many more could be created if Republicans stopped blocking our attempts.
Protect Our Environment: I voted against a bill proposed by the Republicans that would have allowed landfills to spray "garbage juice" on people's land without permission. I also voted against Republican laws that would have provided corporate polluters a free pass to dump chemicals into our rivers and left us to pay for the cleanup. I will continue to vote against any bill that attempts to harm the environmental health and safety of North Carolinians.
Increase renewable energy: By adding back tax incentives, we can encourage the industry to grow and create tens of thousands of new jobs in the process. We should also enact the Energy Freedom Act, which gives North Carolinians the power to make their own energy choices and buy electricity from third parties. This would breathe life into the renewables industry.
Out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, NC is ranked 50th for health care costs.
This is because, in 2013, NC Republicans blocked Medicaid expansion. Now, an estimated 650,000 North Carolinians are without insurance, and the cost for the rest of us rises too.
Rejecting Medicaid expansion has already cost our state billions of dollars – it is time to put partisan politics aside and do what is right for North Carolina’s families. The Republican-controlled General Assembly has not made the health of North Carolinians a priority.
Expand Medicaid: The NC General Assembly must expand Medicaid. It would insure 634,000 more North Carolinians by 2022. It would also mean $506 million more in tax revenue for our state, and the additional economic activity would mean our counties would see an additional $106 million.
Small businesses are the engine of the North Carolina economy, creating about two-thirds of the new jobs in our state, but our small businesses are suffering while mega-corporations and their CEOs continue to get rich, despite the pandemic. Our Republican-controlled state legislature has favored big business over local economies time and time again. They eliminated a tax break that saved small business owners more than $300 million per year while increasing the sales tax on goods and services. It's just not right.
Lower Tax Rates: Our small businesses should get the same low tax rate that corporations get, with an exemption of the first $50,000 of business income.
Invest in Small Businesses: We must invest in more programs for small businesses that provide grants and loans so we can all get through this pandemic together. We do not want to lose the mom and pop shops that give life to our district.
An overwhelming majority of North Carolinians want commonsense gun safety reform. But, for far too long, Republicans have stood in the way. While my opponent believes teachers should carry guns in schools, I support the measures proposed by Governor Cooper to keep us safe. We can have gun safety reform in North Carolina and still protect the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners – the two are not mutually exclusive
Commonsense Gun Safety Reform: I support banning bump stocks, expanding background checks, raising the age to buy assault-style weapons and allowing courts to take away guns from anyone deemed to be a threat.
Increased Funding for Counseling: I also support increasing funding for school psychologists and counselors. We must address mental health issues that turn to violent action.
Gerrymandering makes partisanship worse by valuing political power over the will of the people. North Carolina needs to get back to the way our democracy is meant to work with fair maps and fair elections.
I pledge to support the creation of an independent, nonpartisan redistricting process for congressional and legislative districts. We must put an end to the practice of gerrymandering in this state once and for all.