I will work on a home ownership program so that every family has an opportunity to own a quality affordable home in a good neighborhood, a home that builds value; building equity for the home owner, and adding value to the community.
I will work for additional state investments in the North Carolina Center of Health and Aging, here in Western North Carolina. We must lead with a world class medical center here in the mountains if we want to participate in the medical economy of the 21st century.
I will work to illuminate the unfair distribution formula governing lottery proceeds. Lottery proceeds should be distributed equally on a per student basis, period.
I will work on a legislative solution to protect Lake James and the Catawba River Basin, including the prohibition of Inter Basin Transfers.
What are three of the most pressing issues facing the people of your district, and how can the state legislature deal with them?
First is enhancing and developing a strong and diverse economy here in the mountains, a sustainable economy that will create jobs and opportunities for all.
Second we must work for affordable, accessible healthcare for all. We must work to bring costs down and coverage up. A strong emphasis on preventative medicine, wellness and healthy lifestyle is a promising strategy. I will continue to support Healthy Choice for our children whose parents cannot afford health insurance. I will work for effective mental health services for our citizens. I will continue to work for comprehensive tort reform, reducing the cost of medical liabilities and improving medical outcomes for all.
The third compelling issue for the mountains is growth. The state can offer local government guidance, leadership, and incentives to plan for smart growth. They can encourage regional collaboration for common goals and best practices. The state needs to step up and provide planning assistance to local government. Many of our small towns and counties just don’t have the resources or expertise needed to meet the challenges. We need to assist our local governments with flood plain mapping and geological mapping so they know the areas of greatest risk and can protect their citizens. The state needs to facilitate a regional partnership with local government to save our mountain farmlands and forest, to protect our water and air, our views, and our rural landscape, and make sure the future of the mountains remains bright and not blighted.
Fourth, the Meth problem continues to need our full attention. We’ve made progress, but there is still much to do. I will continue to support law enforcement, expanding our state’s crime labs and supporting our district attorneys in their efforts to convict Meth dealers and producers.
Should the legislature help seniors with property taxes by adjusting the homestead exemption on their homes?
I am in favor of a homestead exemption. I will support a study commission to explore the options, and I will work with local government officials to explore the benefits and impacts with the goal of creating a fair public policy that protects our seniors and add stability to our communities across our state.
What is your position on lobbyist and campaign reform?
All political contributions should be reported publicly with nothing “under the table”.
Campaigning is way too expensive. The current system can not be good for the public interest in the long term. The major cost is communicating over the public airways. I’m open for some sort of public use of these airways for the public good of open political discourse.
Do you support more extensive state action to help with farmland preservation? If so, what specific measures should be enacted?
I do. I sponsored the Farmland Preservation Study Bill in the previous session and will continue to advocate for state investment and incentives in this area. The promotion of conservation trusts is one of the best strategies. Another real need is funding to support farmland preservation. I am committed to finding a funding source for this purpose, but with out a doubt, the best strategy is to support our farm families staying on the farm. I will work to keep our small farmers competitive, innovative, and on the land.
What is the most pressing educational need in the state?
I believe addressing the drop out problem is critical. I will support educational innovations and alternatives that will help us cut the drop out rate, keeping our students in school preparing for a productive life. We must also keep high educational opportunities affordable for all our students.
What can the state afford to do to help counties with increasing Medicaid costs?
We can negotiate with local government taking on the full burden at the state level, perhaps in a trade that would include more effective homestead exemptions at the local level.
When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A teacher, a carpenter and a farmer.
What is your favorite television show?
I like “Booknotes”, a show where authors talk about their books, why they wrote them, and why it’s important that we read them.
Describe your philosophy of government in 100 words.
My philosophy of government is captured in the opening line of the Appalachian Square Dance “Let’s all joins hands in one big circle.” It’s about government of the people, by the people, for the people, with liberty and justice for all.
The foundation of our Democracy is the dignity and worth of each and every individual. Good government creates and protects opportunities for all of us. It guarantees equality under the law. It promotes the common good, and provides for the general well fair. It is balanced and fair. It checks the abuses of the powerful and respects the rights of the individual.