The Times-News is broadcasting the responses of the two candidates in the race for District 117 of the North Carolina House of Representatives.
The seat is currently held by Republican Tim Moffitt, who is now running for North Carolina Senate District 48.
Democrat Michael O’Shea takes on Republican Jennifer Balkcom.
If you are elected, what are your main political priorities?
We need to expand Medicaid, protect our reproductive rights, support public education and raise teacher salaries, protect our environment, raise salaries for vital public workers like police and firefighters, legalize cannabis (and do it in a way that gives priority to small family farms rather than large agricultural monopolies), to develop rural broadband and to increase the minimum wage. There are many issues that have broad bipartisan support that would help people tremendously, but the General Assembly has been dragging its feet for more than a decade on these issues under the scrutiny of GOP lawmakers. It’s time for Raleigh politicians to start delivering real solutions to the problems facing working families, because we can’t afford any more inaction.
In your opinion, what is the role of the General Assembly in the fight against rising inflation?
We are all feeling the effects of inflation and working families are hurting right now. Unfortunately, this is a complex global economic problem that even the federal government cannot solve alone, but there are actions the NC General Assembly can take to help directly. Corporate profits are up and clearly price hikes are happening, so we can help level the playing field for working families by raising our minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 since 2008. and we can increase pay rates for vital workers in the public sector like educators, police and firefighters. We currently have excess tax funds in North Carolina and can afford to implement these measures while providing tax relief to working families and helping North Carolina residents weather this storm. We know that when we put money back in the pockets of ordinary people, they reinvest it directly in their communities and the local economy grows stronger. We must foster an economy in North Carolina that prioritizes working families and sustainable communities, not just ultra-wealthy and international corporations.
Would you support legislation that limits or prohibits abortion in North Carolina?
I believe that your health care decisions should be made by you and your doctor, not by politicians. There is simply no room in your doctor’s office for you, your doctor and the NC General Assembly. The simple truth is that you cannot ban abortion – just safe abortion. Nobody wants to be faced with this extremely difficult decision, but in many cases it is a life-saving medical procedure and, if we really want to respect individual freedom, politicians must trust people and their health professionals. health to make health care decisions.
What is your position on Medicaid expansion in North Carolina?
This is a campaign priority for me. Medicaid expansion in North Carolina is very popular and long overdue. It’s time to close the coverage gap and provide affordable health insurance to the more than half a million North Carolinas who desperately need it, create thousands of healthcare jobs in Carolina North and help keep rural hospitals open. NC has lost billions by delaying expansion, while paying federal taxes that we could see returned to the state. 90% of the cost of the expansion comes from federal funding. NC would raise more than $500 million per month in federal funding and the state would save about $15 million per month in expenses. This decision is common sense and it is time for the NC GOP to stop the political games they have been playing for a decade and we finally got there.
What is the role of the state government in addressing gun violence and crime?
I am a gun owner myself, but I support the common sense gun control measures that the majority of Americans support. The sad reality is that 1,470 North Carolina residents die by guns in an average year – that’s four lives lost every day – and our country experiences gun violence at a rate several times higher than all of us. other developed countries. We owe it to our future generations to try to solve this public health crisis and bring our numbers down. Responsible gun owners generally have no problem with measures such as expanding licensing requirements to apply to all gun sales instead of just handguns or the prohibiting those convicted of crimes of domestic violence from owning firearms. I support these kinds of common sense laws, but I also recognize that 57% of gun deaths in North Carolina are by suicide and emotionally healthy people just don’t commit murders and mass shootings. mass so I also think we need to fix this just as much from the perspective of it being a mental health crisis and stop gun violence before it starts by fully funding and expanding services mental health services and health insurance coverage to ensure that everyone can get the mental health help they need.
What do you think of going across the aisle to advance issues that affect the citizens of North Carolina?
I will likely be in the minority party, so from the beginning I have focused on policy issues that have bipartisan support so that I can work with my colleagues across the way to deliver victories for the people of NC GOP, Lawmakers have finally come forward to support Medicaid expansion, so it’s time we did. We need to fight inflation and help working families who are hurting right now, and we can immediately raise the stagnant minimum wage which has been $7.25 since 2008 and raise pay rates for essential public sector workers like educators, police and firefighters. The NC GOP is now open to the legalization of medical cannabis and I would be happy to work with them to ensure that we prioritize cultivation licenses for small farms, instead of creating another large agricultural monopoly, so that the cannabis becomes the new cash crop that saves our family farms. We can help rural communities expand broadband infrastructure by getting rid of laws that restrict municipal control and are unnecessary excesses of state government. With some bipartisan cooperation, these are the kinds of common sense measures to help people that we can push through next quarter.
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