Putting PEOPLE and PRIORITIES Before Politics

Issues

Improving the Rural Economy

We need economic policies that promote sustainable economic development while creating jobs that pay living wages.

As a North Carolinian born in the 1950s, I know how hard our state was hurt when R.J. Reynolds took their headquarters to Atlanta. I know how hard we were hurt when China took over the furniture market using cheap labor and unsustainable forestry practices. I remember how much we were hurt when raising tobacco and cotton became rare. If we keep doing what we have been doing, we will keep getting what we have been getting and we deserve much better!

There are exciting opportunities for rural North Carolina in the areas of raising hemp for CBD oil, fiber, and more! Hemp is a God given healing plant that is legal cannabis since 2015 in North Carolina. Draft versions of the US Constitution were written on paper made from hemp, and during the first and second world wars, farmers were encouraged to raise hemp for the strong fibers that were woven into the typical green tents needed for the Army. If common sense governance practitioners are elected, soon all cannabis will be legal, and that will create a very lucrative lifestyle for farmers in our District, and will create more jobs to process cannabis. The BIG pharmacy forces that influenced our Congress to make cannabis illegal made billions of dollars and since then, and because of them, we now find ourselves in an opioid crisis.

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In April 2018, the first hemp in NC was processed into fabric right here in Asheboro for the first time in over 70 years! Products made from hemp are many and the manufacture of those products can and should happen right here in NC. Hemp is replacing petroleum in the manufacture of plastics for building car parts and is replacing radon containing stones in the manufacture of HEMPCrete in nearby Winston-Salem, for a stronger and lighter form of concrete. The health aspects are many, and in states where cannabis is legal, the number of deaths from opioid overdoses plummet 20% – 40% because cannabis is a proven pain reliever that is not addictive and is much safer than prescription pain relievers that often addict innocent patients in real pain. Cannabis is an important plant in reducing health care costs and expanding our health care options.

Our NASCAR tradition is based upon the bootleggers of NC running moonshine during prohibition and that gives a perspective to consider when looking at our agricultural opportunities in NC. Cannabis is not as dangerous to use as alcohol and does not require the varied processes employed by the alcoholic beverage industry to serve as a medicinal plant proven to reduce anxiety, neuromuscular disorder symptoms, pain, and the negative effects of chemotherapy and a variety of diseases. Instead of being hypocritical about the glorious bootlegging traditions memorialized by the lucrative NASCAR industry while treating the God given cannabis plant as if it were a dangerous substance, decriminalizing cannabis will eliminate the violence employed by drug dealers defending their territories and will generate tax revenue. This new and abundant form of tax revenue can solve many of our state’s challenges like the lack of affordable health care and our sad public education system without raising YOUR taxes at all.

When Colorado decriminalized all cannabis, it was treated like other controlled substances and taxed like alcohol and tobacco. Colorado has experienced such a dramatic increase in tax revenue from the sale of cannabis that they are now enjoying a huge budget surplus and offering grants to organizations doing good work for the first time ever. This will be the influx of prosperity that North Carolinians deserve and that will make our rural economies thrive.

HB2

Make no mistake: HB2 caused immense damage to our economy and our reputation as a welcoming state. Whether this "Bathroom Bill" cost our state economy $400 million (Business Insider 2016) or closer to $4 billion ($3.76 billion of known public loss projections by AP analysis 2017) the fact is: it cost us.

When HB2 was replaced by HB142, it contained a clause which prevented local governments from raising the minimum wage in their communities. I believe local governments should have the autonomy to choose to raise their minimum wages. It also did not strike the prevention of municipalities passing rules to protect the LGBTQ people in their communities from discrimination, and frankly that is UN-Constitutional on its face and will be overturned in the Supreme Court at great and un-necessary taxpayer, read your, expense.

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This legislation was a smoke screen created by large corporate interests to divide and conquer North Carolinians about a poorly understood issue and NON-PROBLEM. I believe laws should be enacted when they will help the majority of people and never when they hurt the majority of people. I believe HB2 should be repealed, and the legislators who supported it be replaced by people like myself who will practice and enact common sense governance. I believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every North Carolinian. Our laws should promote equality and justice. Only supporters of “big government” want to legislate who we are or who we love. I practice, to the best of my ability on a daily basis, love, acceptance, forgiveness, inclusion, and kindness. I will work to add sexual orientation and gender expression to the classes protected under North Carolina's Civil Rights Statute and a full repeal of HB2. Last year, after realizing how damaging and expensive the original HB2 was for ALL people in North Carolina, the legislature voted for a compromised replacement of HB2, which still restricts local communities from passing nondiscrimination ordinances.

Land, Air, and Water Resources

As a native North Carolinian, I grew up loving and valuing nature, farming, and strongly believe that North Carolina's natural resources are precious and feel a strong responsibility to protect them and be an excellent steward.  I promote clean air and water policies to ensure that North Carolina's natural beauty is protected for all of us and for the future generations.  Tourism is a very important industry in NC, and I propose making the CEOs of polluting companies criminally liable for toxic waste since it is clear they feel paying fines is business as normal. 

I strongly support renewable and sustainable energy, such as wind, solar and wave technologies to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases and grow the green energy economy of our state. There are opportunities all over North Carolina to create jobs in solar power manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and training. This will benefit all North Carolinians and reduce the dangers associated with coal mining and coal burning. The concept of “clean coal” is based upon misleading marketing and is not a reality.

Champion the State's proposal to raise recycling rates from the current dismal 36% rate to a much more ambitious 75% goal, and to encourage businesses to begin using recycled materials to create much needed MADE IN USA products. 

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For instance, plastic can be turned into fence posting and made right here in North Carolina.

I will work to create a North Carolina that is cleaner, healthier and less dependent on fossil fuels to stimulate the economy, create jobs, and improve the health of all of us. I will work to pass legislation that prevents fracking in North Carolina and overturns the current Federal plans to drill for oil off the beautiful coast line of North Carolina. Our coastline not only brings precious experiences to our citizens, but also fuels the vitally important tourism industry within our state. There is nothing like coal ash spills, oil spills, and poisonous water to stop anyone from wanting to “call North Carolina home” or even visit for a vacation or conference.

Public Education
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All of our children from pre-school through trade schools and graduate schools deserve the best and most beneficial education our state can provide.  The history of our great state was built on the foundation that education is a right to every person in North Carolina. Our forefathers thought education was so important that they put it in Article 1 in our state’s constitution, which reads, “The people have a right to the privilege of education, and it is the duty of the State to guard and maintain that right.”  I will uphold that duty when I am elected.

In order to uphold the spirit of our state constitution's guarantee to a sound, basic education, I will work to:

Increase per-pupil spending in North Carolina, which is ranked 43rd in the United States.

Use public money for public education and stop spending taxpayer dollars for vouchers or private schools.

Increase teacher pay, which is ranked 41st in the United States.

Reduce the class room size so each child gets the attention they need to learn effectively in school, and when a child transfers to a different school, the money for that student goes with the student and not stay with the school they left. This ensures that each child receives a quality education instead of making some schools dramatically better than others. This will require allocating construction money and that will create more jobs for North Carolinians, and attract more employers to NC when they realize that we are making improvements to the standard of education in our state. Most employers will avoid moving to a state when they realize that they will have trouble attracting and retaining quality employees because they will not want to raise their families in an area with substandard school systems.

Continue providing health insurance and pension benefits to attract and retain the best teachers.

Work to create a safety net for all children in North Carolina to have adequate nutrition for their health and development. Children cannot learn well when they are hungry and their brain and physical development will be compromised if they are struggling with food insecurity. This is not only a necessary part of improving the public education for all North Carolinians, but it is a moral imperative.

Healthcare

I will push for North Carolina to expand Medicaid by accepting the federal money which has already been set aside for our state, and was rejected by the current legislature for partisan power plays. I will always put PEOPLE BEFORE POLITICS and work for you to have the best access to affordable healthcare possible. I will do my best to make sure that you understand the facts about the options available and avoid being seduced by the sound bites and propaganda that have hurt Americans and benefitted the largest for profit corporations for far too long.

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Planned Parenthood provides health care and pregnancy planning for the low-income and marginalized women of our state. Too many individuals and families are at risk without this funding, and if we stop and think about it, we can all agree that an unplanned family, without the financial resources to support the children born into that family are one of the biggest challenges to our state’s quality of life for all North Carolinians. Planning is just plain wisdom, and not planning is folly. I will work to correct that.

Farmers, Food, Suicide, and Immigration
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Farm workers are the key to the U.S. food system, and although our population relies on their labor to put food on the table, these workers lack basic rights, face exploitation and live in fear of reporting abuses. This is immoral and I will fight for the rights of farm workers, immigrants, and protecting the US food production system in a moral and comprehensive way. While farm workers run the gamut of being U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, seasonal laborers on special guest worker visas, or undocumented workers, most are affected by immigration status; it is estimated that at least 6 out of 10 of our country’s farm workers are undocumented (Southern Poverty Law Center).

Farmers have needed more help than American citizens will provide since the beginning of farming in North America. The vast majority of farm workers–78%, according to the most recent National Agricultural Workers Survey– is foreign-born and crossed a border to get here (NAWS, Farmworker Justice). The current anti-immigrant sentiment is not only short sighted, un-American, and causing undue suffering for documented and undocumented immigrants, it is also hurting our rural economy, our food production, and will hurt our country deeply unless compassionate and wise policies are developed to replace what is happening now. We are a nation of immigrants, who tried to destroy the native peoples and almost succeeded, but one of the best things about America is that we once stood for being a refuge for immigrants seeking a better way of life, and I want to work to re-establish that welcoming culture for those who want to live and work with us in North Carolina.

Farmers must have access to affordable labor, clean water, clean air, and clean healthy soil to grow food for America to live on. The worsening climate changes make crop production much more difficult than it was 20 years ago. The current tariffs will hurt all Americans, but especially the farmers. Since our food comes from farmers, how can anyone in a position of leadership or knowledge agree with the actions of the current administration? We are in a serious farm and food and environmental crisis, while too many politicians and pundits are ignoring the threats to our farmers and future food supply. I continue to believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and tragically we are now in desperate need of that CURE!

I will work to restore a viable way for the people brought to our state as children and those who have demonstrated a desire to live and work in North Carolina to have a viable means of becoming a documented citizen or at the very least, obtain a work visa and be treated with the dignity, rights, safe working conditions, and compensation any human being deserves.

The unequal economy that's emerged over the past decade, combined with erratic weather and patchy access to health care in rural areas, have had a severe impact on the people growing America's food. Since 2013, farm income has been dropping steadily, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This year, the average farm's income is projected to be 35 percent below its 2013 level.

Longtime farm advocates see parallels between today's situation and the farm crisis of the 1980s, when many U.S. farmers struggled economically.

"The farm crisis was so bad, there was a terrible outbreak of suicide and depression," said Jennifer Fahy, communications director with Farm Aid, a group founded in 1985 that advocates for farmers. Today, she said, "I think it's actually worse."

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a widely cited study, pointing to high rates of suicide among agriculture workers. Although the CDC retracted that study recently, suicide is much more prevalent in rural areas than in urban ones, according to other CDC studies. Between 1990 and 2016, suicide increased in almost every state, with the largest increases in Western states. The link between farm failures and suicide has been demonstrated outside the U.S., in places like India, where tens of thousands of farmers have died by suicide in recent years. We must come together as human beings to protect the people who labor to bring food to all of our tables.

Make Sure Everyone you know is registered to vote and help them get to the poles early. And PLEASE vote no on all of the proposed amendments to the North Carolina Constitution