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The Election Guide Part 1: National and State races

by Jordan Green

I. National races

President

Republican John McCain

Website: www.johnmccain.com

Political CV: Senator from Arizona

On the record:

On earmarks and spending in general:

“Senator Obama suspended those requests for pork-barrel project after he was running for president of the United States. He didn’t happen to see that light during the first three years as a member of the United States Senate, $932 million in requests. Maybe to Senator Obama it’s not a lot of money. But the point is that ‘— you see, I hear this all the time. ‘It’s only $18 billion.’ Do you know that it’s tripled in the last five years? Do you know that it’s gone completely out of control to the point where it corrupts people? It corrupts people. That’s why we have, as I said, people under federal indictment and charges. It’s a system that’s got to be cleaned up. I have fought against it my entire career. I have fought against it. I was called the sheriff by the – one of the senior members of the Appropriations Committee. I didn’t win Miss Congeniality in the United States Senate. Now, Senator Obama didn’t mention that, along with his tax cuts, he is also proposing some $800 billion in new spending on new programs. Now, that’s a fundamental difference between myself and Senator Obama. I want to cut spending. I want to keep taxes low. The worst thing you could do in this economic climate is to raise people’s taxes.” (Source: Sept. 26 presidential debate)

Democrat Barack Obama

Website: www.barackobama.com

Political CV: Senator from Illinois; former Illinois state senator

Endorsements: National Education Association, bluesman Chick Willis

On the record: ‘Click here for expanded info

On the $700 billion financial bailout:

“If the American people are being asked to pay for the solution to this crisis — a crisis they didn’t cause — then you have a right to make sure that your tax dollars are protected. That’s why I set up four conditions for Washington. We need to set up an independent board set up by Democrats and Republicans to provide oversight and accountability for how this money is spent every step of the way. Secondly, I said, ‘If American taxpayers are financing this solution, you should be treated like investors.’ That means that Wall Street and Washington should give every penny of your money back once this crisis is over and the economy recovers. Third, we simply cannot and will not bail out Wall Street without helping the millions of innocent homeowners who are struggling to stay in their homes. They deserve a plan too. And Washington needs to feel the same sense of urgency in passing an economic stimulus plan for working families — a plan that would help folks cope with rising costs of food and gas, would help save one-million jobs by rebuilding our schools and our roads, and help the cities avoid drastic budget cuts and tax increases. And finally — this is important, Greensboro — the American people should not be spending one single, solitary dime to reward the same Wall Street CEOs whose greed and irresponsibility got us into this problem.” (Source: Sept. 27 Greensboro speech)

Libertarian Bob Barr

Website: www.bobbarr2008.com

Political CV: Former US congressman, 1995-2003; former US attorney, 1986-1990; CIA official, 1971-1978

On the record:

On privacy and surveillance:

“We may not yet be in the nightmare world of George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, but time is fast running out for a society that values freedom and liberty. Certainly, the government must be able to confront crime and terrorism, but its powers must be limited to those truly necessary to protect Americans and which are consistent with the Constitution.” (Source: Candidate website)

On the Iraq war:

“The invasion and occupation of Iraq were two separate mistakes, which collectively have cost thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of US taxpayer dollars. Every day that the occupation of Iraq continues without a withdrawal plan is a day that more American blood and treasure (some $400 million a day) is needlessly wasted.” (Source: Candidate website)

On foreign intervention and foreign bases:

“It is time to reemphasize the word ‘defense’ in national defense. By maintaining a military presence in more than 130 nations around the world in more than 700 installations, with hundreds of thousands of troops deployed overseas, the US spends more to protect the soil of other nations than our own. Bringing these soldiers home would better protect America while saving lives and money.” (Source: Candidate website)

US Senate

Republican Elizabeth Dole, incumbent

Website: www.elizabethdole.org

Political CV: Serving first term in US Senate; former president, American Red Cross; former US secretary of transportation; and former US secretary of labor

Endorsement: Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes

On the record:

On financial bailout plan:

“After a week of closely scrutinizing the Bush administration’s Wall Street rescue proposal, I have concluded that it violates every principle of American capitalism and free enterprise that I have been taught, and that our country has always held…. I do not believe a plan that has drawn such wide criticism from experts and such anger from many of my constituents will create the kind of consumer confidence and market stability that we need to get our economy back on track. Most importantly, asking each household in America to in effect fork over $10,000 to help save Wall Street from itself is not something I can support. To be clear, I am opposed to the plan the administration has put forward, and I will not vote for it.” (Source: Sept. 26 statement)

Democrat Kay Hagan

Website: www.kayhagan.com

Political CV: Serving fifth term in NC Senate; co-chair, NC Senate Pensions, Retirement & Aging Committee

Endorsement: NC Association of Educators

On the record: ‘Click here for expanded info

On trade:

“When we engage in negotiations for free trade agreements with other countries and other institutions, we need to ensure that all parties are working on a level playing field. Businesses in North Carolina and the United States must compete while respecting important labor and environmental regulations that protect our workers and our environment. Our trade agreements need to include enforceable labor and environmental standards to prevent businesses from engaging in a race to the bottom by off-shoring their factories to newly opened markets with little or no environmental and labor protections. American workers and American businesses can compete with anyone, but only if they participate on a level playing field.” (Source: Candidate website)

On federal legislation that would overturn North Carolina’s prohibition against collective bargaining by public employees:

“Once I’m elected to the US Senate, I want you to know that I will never support a bill at the federal level that mandates states allow collective bargaining of state government employees. I truly believe that’s a state’s rights issue. That’s my strong belief and that’s how I’ll vote. You know, first-hand, how business friendly I am. That’s my inner workings, that’s my gut feeling and I think I have a very strong business record having served in the state Senate ten years.” (Source: Sept. 8 call to News & Record)

Libertarian Christopher Cole

Website: www.lpnc.org/2008/us_senate.php

Professional: Contract postal worker

On the record:

On abolishing minimum wage laws:

“I compare it to drug prohibition: that by making low-end labor through minimum-wage laws and the ban on piecework that the government created a black market on low-end labor…. Picture a mother with young kids that wants to be at home with her kids but wants to do work. In the past she could do piecework while her children were asleep or at school, but when federal government mandated that workers had to be paid by the hourly wage, she lost that income, she was forced out of the home against her wishes or she could no longer work.” (Source: Sept. 16 interview)

On Russia:

“Ron Paul actually made a prediction when he referred to it as empire building along the edge of Russia that we were going to provoke them into an aggressive response. Vladimir Putin said after we supported the secession of Kosovo that he would consider that a blueprint for his foreign policy. Have you heard the term ‘poking a bear’? I think we’ve been poking Russia for a few years now and it’s starting to bite. I advocate that we stop poking. I support a non-interventionist foreign policy.” (Source: Sept. 16 interview)

US House of Representatives

5th Congressional District

Republican Virginia Foxx, incumbent

Website: www.virginiafoxx.com

Political CV: Serving second term in Congress; Served in NC Senate for 10 years; former deputy secretary for management under Republican Gov. Jim Martin; former member, Watauga County Board of Education

Endorsement: National Federation of Independent Business

Honor: Recipient of US English Inc.’s “A In English” honor

On the record: Click here for expanded info

On the Republican cause:

“Our federal government is broken right now, and the best thing in the world we could have is a couple of reformers to come in and fix it. We must fix the broken federal government, and we must stop the socialistic tendencies of the folks running on the Democratic ticket. They don’t like people who work. They don’t like business and industry. They’re doing everything they can to drive it away from this country. We need to recruit every single person we can, male and female, to be working on behalf of this country through electing the Republican ticket.” (Source: Republican National Convention, St. Paul, Minn.)

Democrat Roy Carter

Website: www.roycarterforcongress.com

Professional: Fraser Fir tree farmer, former teacher and football coach

Endorsement: NC Association of Educators

On the record: Click here for expanded info

On Iraq:

“Roy Carter was opposed to the war in Iraq from the very beginning. He does not believe that spending four hundred million dollars a day in Iraq building their hospitals and their roads while they have a multi-million dollar surplus is a good investment for the United States while we are seeing our gas prices, our grocery prices go up and unfortunately some of our veterans hospitals decline.” (Source: Interview with campaign manager Ryan Eller )

6th Congressional District

Republican Howard Coble, incumbent

Website: www.cobleforcongress.com

Political CV: Has held the 6th District seat for 12 terms

Endorsement: National Federation of Independent Business

Honor: Recipient of US English Inc.’s “A In English” honor

On the record: Click here for expanded info

On earmarks:

“There are many valuable projects and programs that need federal dollars in order to grow and thrive. Further, as a public servant, I feel it is my job to promote these projects if I find that they would likely enrich the lives and opportunities of those who reside in my district. I must reiterate that my desire to do this is driven solely by what is best for my constituents and not by a hidden agenda for personal gain. Moreover, I fully support the notion that the actions of the federal government should be as open and transparent as possible, and that taxpayer dollars should never be used for dishonest or dubious purposes.” (Source: Candidate website)

Democrat Teresa Sue Bratton

Website: www.teresasuebratton.com

Professional: Pediatric allergist

On the record: Click here for expanded info

On the war on terrorism:

“On September 11 we were attacked. We were attacked by al-Qaida. We did strike back against al-Qaida. And then we chose to occupy a country that did not have al-Qaida…. This is a very confusing situation for me. It does not seem as if we confronted al-Qaida, nor did we even contain it. It is still there. As a matter of fact, in our haste to get into Iraq we pulled resources out of Afghanistan, which might have contained the terrorists that could attack us. I think we were containing the problems in Iraq very well before we became involved there. And I think that we have to look at containment and remember that this confrontation that we have had has raised our national debt to historic proportions and has cost our country almost $500 billion in the last, so I would have to say I’m going to go with containment.” (Source: Sept. 16 candidate forum)

12th Congressional District

Democrat Mel Watt, incumbent

Website: www.wattforcongress.com

Political CV: Has held the 12th District seat for eight terms; served one term in NC Senate

Endorsement: NC Association of Educators

On the record:

On the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008:

“This is a big, big deal when it comes to housing, when it comes to responsible credit, when it comes to economic recovery in our nation. This could perhaps be the most important bill that we have considered during the sixteen years certainly that I’ve been a member of Congress. And to the extent that a lot of these reforms were already in the pipeline and well thought out and are now being implemented in response to a crisis, the fact that the crisis has occurred has forced us to do it. And there are some things in the bill that are being done solely in response to the crisis, and some of those things have been questioned by our colleagues on the other side as perhaps extending more responsibility to Fannie and Freddie, while at the same time increasing their risk, and there are some concerns about that.” (Source: Speech on the House floor, July 23)

Republican Ty Cobb Jr.

Website: www.tycobbforcongress.com

Professional: Retired US Army research and development engineer

On the record: Click here for expanded info

On the war on terrorism:

“When my country is attacked, I react. Almost three thousand people — innocent people, like people sitting in this room — gave up their lives because a few people don’t like us. I’m not one to sit back and say, ‘Oh, we’ll contain it.’ Because all we’re doing when we contain it is they’re festering and getting worse than they were before. If America is not secure, all our other problems pale in comparison, because without our freedom… healthcare, education, everything else goes out the window if we’re not secure. In my opinion, as a military veteran, the best defense against terrorism is an aggressive offense. I say we go, hit them wherever they are and take innocent lives.” (Source: Sept. 16 candidate forum)

13th Congressional District

Democrat Brad Miller, incumbent

Website: www.bradmiller.org

Political CV: Has held 13th District seat since its creation in 2002; served three terms in NC Senate; served a single term in the NC House

Endorsement: NC Association of Educators

On the record:

On predatory lending:

“The deed to a home is the membership card in the middle class. Families living on the fringes of poverty can begin to get their footing when they own their own home, and become part of a neighborhood where parents know their children’s playmates. But financially vulnerable homeowners are even more likely to have to borrow against the equity in their home to provide for life’s rainy days. Every homeowner faces a mountain of papers to sign when they use their homes as security for a loan. Every borrower has to trust that the lender is not taking advantage of them. Too often their trust is betrayed. They find out much later that when they signed the closing papers, they signed away a big part of the equity in their home, of their life’s savings. I have introduced federal legislation based upon North Carolina’s proven predatory lending law. The law forbids a variety of abusive practices, such as excessive fees and costs that get built into the loan, and it has not cut off credit for lower-income borrowers.” (Source: Candidate website)

Republican Hugh Webster

Website: www.websterforcongress.com

Political CV: Served six terms in NC Senate before losing his seat to Democrat Tony Foriest in 2006

On the record: Click here for expanded info

An assertion that WMD was found in Iraq:

“Six hundred tons of yellow-cake uranium found in Iraq — I’m sure that many of you think that that was not weapons of mass destruction? I’m sure the Iraqis were saving that for Christmas fireworks, not weapons of mass destruction.” (Source: Sept. 16 candidate forum)

* The BBC reported in 2003 that the International Atomic Energy Agency kept 500 tons of unrefined uranium under seal at Tuwaitha in Iraq for 12 years until the US invasion. Barrels holding the material were reportedly looted at that time, emptied of the unrefined uranium and sold to villagers to hold drinking water.

On No Child Left Behind:

“Accountability for education. The reason we had the federal government… was because… there was an atmosphere of a lack of trust in what was really happening in our schools. Do I favor it? No, I don’t favor it. Was it adequately funded? No, it probably was not. I think our schools, we had better schools, better universities, better public schools here in North Carolina when they were under the control of the state of North Carolina. I don’t even understand why we are getting the federal government involved in education.” (Source: Sept. 16 candidate forum)

II. State races

Governor

Republican Pat McCrory

Website: www.patmccrory.com

Political CV: Currently serving seventh term as mayor of Charlotte; member, Homeland Security Advisory Committee; chairman, US Conference of Mayors Committee for the Environment

On the record: Click here for expanded info

Basic platform:

“I’m running for governor because I want to change the culture of state government. I want a culture which is more accessible, a culture which is not corrupt, a culture that is efficient, a culture that fixes the criminal justice system, a culture which creates new and keeps existing jobs in our economy, a culture in which you can trust state government and we can break this power elite that’s controlling — I think in a very efficient way and at times a very corrupt way — the way we run government. North Carolina government deserves a strong leader. I have the leadership skills. I have thirteen years experience in a very successful city at creating jobs, and being accessible, and being extremely ethical. And I want to take that leadership to the rest of that state.”

Source: WRAL-TV debate, Sept. 9

On drilling off the coast of North Carolina:

“Why should North Carolina be exempt from the energy crisis? If we’re good enough to fill up our gas tanks with offshore drilling off of Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana or Cuba — which China is about to do — why are we exempt from that? I think we’re total hypocrites if we don’t do it right here.” (Source: “Triad Today” interview with Jim Longworth, Sept. 10)

Democrat Bev Perdue

Website: www.bevperdue.com

Political CV: Current lieutenant governor; former chairwoman, NC Senate Appropriations Committee

Endorsements: NC Association of Educators, Conservation Council of North Carolina

On the record: Click here for expanded info

Basic platform:

“I know how to continue to build public schools to give kids the backbone that they need to achieve the capacity to have high-paying jobs. I understand healthcare. I understand that Children’s Health Insurance is very clearly very important to families across North Carolina, and I will continue to work to do that. The mayor is opposed to that. I will also work very hard — I’ve been very fortunate to live in the Triangle and the coastal plains during the last decade — and I understand clearly that to build jobs you’ve got to have different kind of opportunities. One size does not fit all in North Carolina. My work on the military has been fabulous. My work on building a green economy — I know how to build new, good-paying jobs across the state of North Carolina.”

Source: WRAL-TV debate, Sept. 9

On undocumented immigrants attending community colleges:

“As reported by AP on November 29, Perdue ‘does not think people in this country illegally should be able to attend our community colleges.’” (Source: Candidate website)

Libertarian Michael C. Munger

Website: www.munger4ncgov.com

Political CV: Chair of political science department, Duke University; former staff economist, Federal Trade Commission

On the record: Click here for expanded info

On mass transit:

“The big problem with mass transit is not that we don’t subsidize mass transit enough; it’s that we subsidize private roads too much. If people ask how much Amtrak makes, I’ll ask how much I-95 makes in the eastern part of this state. They’re not making anything. We’re subsidizing a culture where roads are constantly being built in new areas, but we’re not taking care of the roads and bridges that we have in poor areas. So it’s our focus on new roads and the subsidy of sprawl that makes mass transit not economical. I just spent part of the summer in Santiago, Chile and in Australia looking at their trash disposal and mass transit systems and they actually managed to build a number of private mass-transit facilities. But the reason was that they stopped subsidizing the public production of roads that maybe developers welcome. So I don’t think we need to focus on mass transit. I think we need to focus first on rebuilding the roads and bridges that common people need in rural areas and poor parts of the city. That would take care of a lot of the problem. It would also make mass transit much economically viable.” (Source: Sept. 23 candidate forum)

Lieutenant governor

Democrat Walter H. Dalton

Website: www.walterdalton.org

Political CV: Currently serving sixth term in NC Senate; co-chair NC Senate Appropriations Committee; board member, Rural Economic Development Center, NC Economic Development Board and NC Tourism Board

Endorsement: NC Association of Educators

On the record: Click here for expanded info

On illegal immigration:

“I do not think North Carolina taxpayers should be subsidizing the education of illegal immigrants in our community colleges. They pay taxes. Those seats are there for their children and for them because the community college serves so many people on a broad, broad spectrum. The illegal immigrant issue is, again, one of the biggest unfunded mandates we’ve received from federal government. They are illegal because they are here in violation of federal law. The federal government needs to step up. I supported tightening the driver’s license. We now require a Social Security number, which means the legal status has been verified. I, again, supported the additional money to 287(g) to help our law enforcement enforce this problem that we have.” (Source: Sept. 17 debate)

Republican Robert Pittenger

Website: www.robertpittenger.com

Political CV: Currently serving third term in NC Senate; president, Foundation for NC Future; board member, Jesse Helms Educational Foundation

Awards and honors: 2005 Taxpayers Advocate Award from Americans for Prosperity

Trivia: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a former presidential candidate, once used the Heimlich maneuver on Pittenger.

On the record: Click here for expanded info

On teacher pay:

“We have a standard operation in this state for teacher pay: Everybody gets paid the same. There is no opportunity for a superintendent or a school board to pay somebody more. If they want to, they’ve got to come up with the money from their own county. Some counties are doing it. Guilford County is doing that. They shouldn’t have to. The state has a requirement saying that everybody gets paid the same. We’re going to continue to lose to Asia, particularly China, as long as we have this boxed-in concept that everyone gets paid the same. If we’re going to recruit great teachers that have good product in math and science we need to pay ’em more. It’s really that simple. The leadership in our counties, our school boards and superintendents need to have that prerogative, and not have Raleigh dictate to them. This is a system that protects bureaucrats and jobs at the expense of kids.” (Source: Sept. 17 candidate forum)

Libertarian Phillip Rhodes

Website: www.philrhodes2008.com

Professional: Software engineer

On the record:

On charter schools:

“The answer is largely competition and choice. We have to give families more choices and more ability to choose how they’re going to educate their children. It means a couple of things. One: Lower barriers to home schooling, make home schooling more accessible… lower restrictions on additional private schools. I think the biggest factor is, it’s difficult to compete with free, so you can’t have families forced to subsidize public schools if they are going to choose not to use the public school system, so a tax credit or a voucher program which returns the money that you otherwise spend on the public system if you choose to use a private school. And there is research that suggests the public school system spends about $8,000 per year per pupil on education. Yet there are private schools that some parents choose, believing they offer a better education, which only charge $5,000 per year per student. I think that shows that this can be done more efficiently.”’ (Source: Sept. 17 debate)

Attorney general

Democrat Roy Cooper, incumbent

Website: www.roycooper.com

Political CV: Served in NC Senate, 1991-2001; served in NC House, 1987-1991

Endorsement: NC Association of Educators

On the record:

On DNA testing:

“All untested rape kits on local law enforcement shelves have been tested. We’re taking a DNA sample from every convicted felon and we now have over 153,000 DNA profiles in our database. The turnaround time has been improved dramatically and can be done even more quickly through our Rush Case program if necessary. As a result of the increased investments and new staffing in DNA, we helped local law enforcement catch more murderers, rapists and other criminal in 2007 than in the first 10 years of the DNA program combined. Despite budget battles and reduced federal funding, we have all worked together to make significant improvement in DNA testing.” (Source: Candidate website)

Republican Bob Crumley

Website: www.bobcrumley.com

Professional: Owner, Crumley & Associates law firm

On the record: Click here for expanded info

On the state crime lab:

“As I cross the state I ask the people, ‘If you were going to build a new crime lab, would you make that crime lab capable of doing DNA analysis or would you make that crime lab incapable of doing DNA analysis?’ Everywhere I go, people go, ‘Duh, that’s a no-brainer. Of course, you make it DNA-capable.’ Our new crime lab sitting in Greensboro, North Carolina, is incapable of doing DNA analysis.” (Source: “Carolina Talk” interview with Curtis Wright)

Auditor

Republican Les Merritt, incumbent

Website: www.auditormerritt.com

Political CV: Serving second term as auditor; former member, Wake County Commission; former director, Zebulon Chamber of Commerce; former member, Zebulon Elementary PTA

Endorsements: Former NC State basketball player Todd Fuller; State Employees Association of NC

On the record: Click here for expanded info

On oversight of the mental health system:

“I think for good intentions, [the mental health system was privatized] back in 2001 or 2002. You have shredded the safety net. I’m sort of a private enterprise guy but there are certain things you’ve got to have government do. You’ve got to provide some basic services to the most vulnerable citizens. You don’t get much more vulnerable than mental health patients. What happens when you don’t have those basic services is you end up in jail or in the emergency room.” (Source: Sept. 17 interview)

On a looming shortfall in the state employees’ retirement plan:

“The plan for retired state employees is controlled by a narrow little group of people. That can be fine as long as they do everything they’re supposed to. After this election you’re going to hear all the money that is needed [to shore up the plan]. We’re going to have to do something, either the participants in the plan will have to pay higher premiums, or you’ll see benefits cut or taxpayers who aren’t in the plan subsidizing it. They’ve got some tremendous deficits that are projected there. I think it’s projected to run out of money by the end of this calendar year, and that’s not far off.” (Source: Sept. 17 interview)

Democrat Beth Wood

Website: www.bethwoodcampaign.com

Political CV: On contract with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; employed in state Auditor’s office for 15 years, left during the administration of Les Merritt

Endorsements: NC Academy of Trial Lawyers; NC Association of Educators; NC AFL-CIO; Ralph A. Campbell Jr., former NC auditor

On the record: Click here for expanded info

Basic platform:

“Last year, the General Assembly appropriated $20 billion of your tax monies to run our state government. And last year, $13 billion of your federal monies came into the state of North Carolina to be used in programs like Medicaid and food stamps and WorkFirst and Women and Infant Children. It is the state Auditor’s Office’s responsibility to audit those tax dollars as they have been spent and how they’ve been used and report back to the General Assembly. The person who you want sitting in that seat is someone with my qualifications. When elected, I will be the first female to ever hold that seat. More importantly than that, I will be the first state auditor to bring my credentials, my experience and my qualifications to that office. I’m twenty years a CPA. I’ve spent fifteen years in governmental auditing and accounting. I have ten years experience in the state Auditor’s office.” (Source: Sept. 17 candidates forum)

Commissioner of insurance

Democrat Wayne Goodwin

Website: www.waynegoodwin.org

Political CV: Currently serving as assistant insurance commissioner; served in NC House, 1997-2005

Endorsements: Sitting Insurance Commissioner Jim Long, NC AFL-CIO, NC Association of Educators, State Employees Association of North Carolina, former Gov. Jim Hunt, former NC Supreme Court Justice Henry Frye, NC Academy of Trial Lawyers, Equality NC PAC

Trivia: Goodwin was the Democratic nominee for NC labor commissioner in 2004, but lost to Republican Cherie Berry

On the record:Click here for expanded info

On keeping insurance rates low:

“What I will do is continue doing what Insurance Commissioner [Jim] Long is doing, that’s to be our consumer watchdog. The insurance commissioner has a very important role regarding securities, insurance rates and other matters pertaining to small businesses and our families’ needs for insurance. As insurance commissioner I would contend that we should continue to have a strong regulatory role to ensure that companies that do business in this state are solvent, that rates are very low, using a modified system of what we have now, using my experience as assistant commissioner and as a former member of the legislature to ensure that this office stands up for us to make sure that we are not taken advantage of, and to make sure that we minimize any damage from what’s going on in Washington and what’s going on around the nation. So I will continue what we’re doing, but also modify it for the times to fight for consumer rights.” (Source: Sept. 23 candidate forum)

Republican John Odom

Website: www.odom4doi.com

Political CV: Former Raleigh City Council member, 10 years; owner of three Meineke Muffler franchises; executive director and CEO, Greater Raleigh Merchants Association

On the record: Click here for expanded info

On keeping insurance rates low:

“I think the most important part is jobs. Make sure that people keep their jobs. One of the things that’s not working in this state is the workman’s comp. We have one of the highest workman’s comp rates in the Southeast. So we need to work to create jobs and don’t lose them to other communities like Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee. Also we don’t need to play a shell game. We say, ‘Reduce rates.’ That sounds great, but we need to make sure everybody’s getting a quality product to make sure they’re covered. Insurance is for the catastrophic stuff, and not the everyday stuff and we need to make sure that the insurance is solvent and that we have free-market enterprise and competition. Medical insurance is a huge cost. I am a small business owner and I have personally fought that fight to have medical insurance for my employees. One of my main points is that I’m going to work to make it better for small businesses. Small businesses represent sixty percent of the people in North Carolina.” (Source: Sept. 23 candidates forum)

Libertarian Mark McMains

Professional: Cary Auto Body Specialists

On the record: Click here for expanded info

Basic platform:

“The people of North Carolina expect an individual who is devoted to understanding their needs and seeing they are satisfied. As insurance commissioner, I offer my daily experience of working with insurance companies to see a turnaround in high premiums. With my experience on the Fuquay-Varina Volunteer Fire Department Board of Directors, I understand the high standards of the fire marshal. My decision to run for insurance commissioner is because I feel that the people should be represented by a citizen who feels the effects of insurance rates each day. I intend to focus on automotive and health insurance as they are greatly impacting the young and elderly. I want to see high standards on safety issues and benefits for all firefighters and law enforcement. I promise to all citizens of North Carolina that you will see integrity at its highest if elected as insurance commissioner.” (Source: Personal statement)

Commissioner of labor

Republican Cherie Berry, incumbent

Website: www.nclabor.com/commish.htm

Political CV: Currently serving second term as labor commissioner

Awards and honors: Recipient of the 2007 Holmes-McBride Memorial Award from the NC Association of Agricultural Fairs; 2005 award from the NC Manufacturers Association; named the 2004 state official of the year by the National Home Builders Association

On the record:

Priorities:

Berry has cited employee safety as her top priority, stating, “I want to make North Carolina’s work climate as safe as possible. There is a world of potential for this agency and for businesses across North Carolina. I am eager to see what we can accomplish.” In touting her department’s approach to customer service, the sitting commissioner literally puts employers before employees, stating, “We want to provide a real service to every business and every worker in the state of North Carolina.” (Source: Candidate website)

Democrat Mary Fant Donnan

Website: www.maryfantdonnan.com

Professional: Currently employed as a program officer with Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation; former policy analyst and director of research with NC Department of Labor

Endorsements: NC AFL-CIO, former Labor Commissioner Harry Payne, NC Association of Educators

On the record: Click here for expanded info

On reducing workplace injuries:

“Workplace injuries continue to be a real issue, and you’ve seen that in the Charlotte Observer series. One of the issues that has come out of federal [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] really in the past six months is that there’s real concern that the injuries and illness are being underreported. Part of the logic behind that is because the fatalities are not going down. This is a national trend. There’s a lot of reasons this might be there. We initially thought it was because industries were changing…. Part of it is there’s a lot of pressure on workers not to report. That’s sort of what came up, at least in the poultry industry. And one of the things I think we need to do is really build a culture where people feel safe knowing that if something’s happening in their workplace that doesn’t seem fair or safe that they can report it. So one thing I have to say that we have to do is make sure we do is publicize RETA, the Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act, which was brought in after [the deadly 1991 chicken processing plant fire in] Hamlet for this very situation where you had locked doors and people weren’t reporting that you had no fire exit.” (Source: Sept. 23 candidate forum)

Associate justice, NC Supreme Court

Bob Edmunds, incumbent

Website: www.reelectjusticeedmunds.com

Political CV: Currently serving second term on NC Supreme Court; former state appellate court judge; former federal prosecutor

Endorsements: Robert Morgan, former US Senator, former NC attorney general and former director of the State Bureau of Investigation; former NC Supreme Court chief justices Rhoda Billings, Jim Exum, Burley Mitchell, Beverly Lake; Greensboro lawyers Locke Clifford, Wally Harrelson and Joe Williams

On the record:

Basic platform:

“Because the work of the Supreme Court affects all aspects of life, a justice should have the widest possible experience. My preparation for the Supreme Court included military duty, representing the people as a state prosecutor and as a presidnetially-appointed United States Attorney, litigating appeals, practicing as a partner in a firm, serving as an elected Court of Appeals judge and earning an advanced law degree. In ten years on the bench, I have earned a reputation for being fair, diligent and thoughtful.” (Source: Personal statement)

Suzanne Reynolds

Website: www.suzannereynolds.org

Professional: Associate professor of law, Wake Forest University School of Law

Endorsements: US Rep. GK Butterfield, former NC Supreme Court Justice Harry C. Martin; former NC Court of Appeals judges Loretta C. Biggs, Jack L. Cozort, Fred A. Hedrick and Sydnor Thompson; NC Association of Educators; NC AFL-CIO; NC Academy of Trial Lawyers; Equality NC; Muslim American Society; NC National Organization for Women; Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics of North Carolina; and State Employees Association of North Carolina

On the record:

Basic platform:

“Our Supreme Court should clarify and explain the law in opinions accessible to every lawyer — and, in turn — to every citizen of the state. In essence, the court’s opinions should teach the law. I have taught more than 2,000 lawyers and have written about the law for 27 years, on topics ranging from ethics to contracts. My legal treatise on North Carolina family law is recognized as the authoritative source on the subject. With family law cases on the rise, my expertise is critical for the court. As a law professor, my only agenda is to interpret and explain the law. As a judge, I would continue that work with integrity and without a poltical agenda.” (Source: Personal statement)

Race trivia: Both candidates are Episcopalians. Edmunds lives in Greensboro, while Reynolds of Winston-Salem once lived in Greensboro and worked for Smith Moore law firm.

State Senate

District 27, open seat

Democrat Don Vaughan

Website: www.votevaughan.com

Political CV: Former Greensboro City Council member for seven terms, including two as mayor pro tem

Endorsements: NC Association of Educators, NC Police Benevolent Association

On the record: Click here for expanded info

On gangs:

“I practice in the courts every day, and you cannot believe the gang problem we have in Greensboro…. The Senate in this past session passed a gang bill — one, to help law enforcement currently, and then second, to help after-school programs to give kids something to do. It is certainly a good start. We have to monitor the bill that passed this time in the General Assembly, and make sure it’s effective and make sure it’s really getting done what we want to do. We have a heck of a gang problem in Greensboro. I’m hoping that the legislation that passed last time will do the job. If not, send me to Raleigh and I’ll work as hard as I can on it.” (Source: Sept. 16 candidate forum)

Republican Joe Wilson

Website: www.joewilsonforsenate.com

Professional: Real-estate broker

On the record: Click here for expanded info

On gangs:

“We do have a serious gang problem. There’s 15,000 members, at last count, in North Carolina. I don’t know exactly how many are in District 27, but it’s more than I’d like to see…. I am definitely in favor of harsher penalties for the ones that just refuse — because the way a gang works is this: They start in elementary schools, and they start recruiting kids, literally. By the time they’re in middle school, it’s a done deal. They’re a member. By the time they’re in high school, they’re hardened. We have people in gangs from age 12 to age 40. A 40-year-old that’s in a gang is in the way. If you elect me, I’ll get them out of the way.”’ (Source: Sept. 16 candidate forum)

State House

District 58

Democrat Alma Adams, incumbent

Political CV: Co-chair, House Appropriations Committee; former Greensboro City Council member; former member, Greensboro School Board

Trivia: Adams mentioned three times at a Sept. 16 candidates forum that she was the only Democrat on the ballot for NC House District 58 on Nov. 4

Endorsement: NC Association of Educators

On the record: Click here for expanded info

On transparency and accountability:

“We have a process that is relatively open, but I think based on who you ask, they might say that some people are not included. We have a committee process. I’ve served on a number of committees. I am in this community quite a bit, not just during election time. I’m very connected with this community and with the citizens. My office is open and I do receive calls and inquiries. I do a lot of constituent service, publish a newsletter, continue communicate on a regular basis. I’ll continue to do that. I have one voice. I’ve been your voice. We do have a citizen legislature. I am one of the few legislators who actually work every day. I teach at Bennett College for Women. I have been able to fix my schedule so I can continue to serve. I’m not retired and I’m not unemployed. I do work everyday. If I’m reelected I’ll continue to do that and make sure, as much as possible, that the process is open.” (Source: Sept. 16 candidate forum)

Republican Olga Morgan Wright

Website: www.olgawright.com

Professional: Paralegal

On the record: Click here for expanded info

On gangs:

“I would like to first say that the gang problem that we’re experiencing here in North Carolina is not a new problem. There have been bills introduced in the General Assembly since the 1980s that have attempted to address the problem of gangs. Number one, I am more in favor of prevention and intervention versus incarceration…. alternative education programs that have been sponsored in bills over and over again throughout the years regarding alternative education for our children. We have an excellent program here at New Light [Baptist Church]. And they have to each year beg for money. These are proven initiatives that work. We need to address interventions, find out what’s happening, go into the homes, help the parents…. We have wonderful children, and we must treat them as children, not as thugs.” (Source: Sept. 16 candidate forum)

District 59

Democrat Maggie Jeffus, incumbent

Political CV: Co-chair, House Appropriations Committee, currently serving eighth term

Endorsement: NC Association of Educators

On the record: Click here for expanded info

On mental health:

“I don’t think anyone would disagree that we jumped into the mental-health reform too quickly without really realizing. We thought we were doing the right thing, and it just did not work out the right way. And what we need to do, I guess, is diagnose the problem, what is the problem, and then we can address it. Representative Adams has mentioned a number of things that we have done in this last session to continue monitoring it. We have put a good bit of money into it, and I’ll run down some of the list. We put $8.1 million for expanding local in-patient psychiatric services, $7.3 million for 170 positions at the state psychiatric hospitals, $6.1 million for walk-in crisis and immediate after-care, and $5.75 million for thirty new crisis intervention teams. So that’s just part of it, and we need to continue monitoring what is going on. I think we’re really at a crossroads now.” (Source: Sept. 16 candidate forum)

Republican Jim Rumley

Professional: Real-estate investor, licensed realtor and apartment manager

On the record: ‘Click here for expanded info

On corporate incentives:

Favors lowering corporate tax rates instead of using targeted corporate incentives to spur economic development. (Source: Sept. 21 interview)

On drilling off the coast of North Carolina:

“I’m in favor of drilling no closer than twenty miles from the coastline. That’s going to put it out of site. We’re not going to have a problem at the beach. It’s not going to be a visual deterrent.” (Source: Sept. 21 interview)

On illegal immigration:

“If you are here illegally, you should not be able to partake of anything. They should have to pay the price by being deported. If we have somebody that comes in and wants to get shots, get emergency health care, they should be deported.” (Source: Sept. 21 interview)

District 74

Republican Dale Folwell, incumbent

Political CV: House Republican joint caucus leader; currently serving second term in House

Awards and honors: 2006 Distinguished Service Award from NC Tax Collector’s Association, 2007 Special Achievement Award from Carolina Donor Services, 2007 President’s Award from NC Association of County Commissioners, 2007 Legislative Champion Award from Concerned Bikers Association

Endorsement: NC Association of Educators

On the record:

On legislation he’s proud of:

• Passage of the legislation that allows drivers who notify the Division of Motor Vehicles of their willingness to donate their hearts in case of fatal accident the legal ability to do so. (Source: Sept. 28 interview)

On what he would like to do in his next term:

• Pass legislation that gives public schools the same tax rebates received by churches, the Boy Scouts, private schools and film producers; and

• Continue to get the most return on the state’s investment in goods and services ranging from lawnmowers to teachers and college professors. (Source: Sept. 28 interview)

On the issues:

• Opposes allowing undocumented residents to attend North Carolina community colleges;

• Supports efforts to increase alternative fuels such as animal manure, in addition to offshore oil drilling and conservation; and

• Opposes the use of targeted tax breaks to increase economic development. (Source: Sept. 28 interview)

Democrat Wade Boyles

Website: www.wadeboyles.com

Political CV: 2nd vice chair, Young Democrats of Forsyth County; co-chair, Forsyth Citizens for Roy Carter; Obama Pride coordinator for North Carolina; volunteer, Equality NC

Awards and honors: 2007 nominee for the Kaleidoscope Award

On the record:

Priorities:

“The issues that we’ve talked about are the economy and education, and I see those two as being completely connected. What we’re seeing right now with the economy is you don’t have to look too hard to see companies outsourcing jobs. There are these holes in our communities. We want to stop tax incentives for companies that outsource our jobs. We want to bring in green jobs because we strongly feel that’s going to be the future in terms of the next wave of jobs that are coming. We want to make sure we’re innovative and in front of that. That connects to public schools and universities that surround us. That raises up the economic status of our area.”

Source: Interview with campaign manager Laura Barclay, Sept. 28

On opponent Folwell’s legislative record:

“Looking at his voting record, he voted against the minimum wage. He’s voted against one-stop voter registration. He voted against the budget that had one of the largest line items going to education.

That underscores why it’s so important to have new leadership. We want somebody who cares about bringing up the economy from the bottom up.” (Source: Interview with campaign manager Laura Barclay, Sept. 28)

District 75

Republican Bill McGee, incumbent

Political CV: House minority whip

Note: Candidate could not be reached by phone on Sunday and Tuesday, and had no campaign materials available on the web

Democrat Dan Bennett

Website: http://danbennettnchouse.com

Professional: Networking analyst, NC Department of Correction

On the record:

Basic platform:

• Pledges to improve oversight and reduce privatization in the state’s mental health system;

• Pledges to safeguard the state’s natural resources and keep its air and water clean;

• Pledges support for Forsyth Tech, Winston-Salem State University and the UNC School of the Arts, and to reduce class sizes and increase teacher salaries in the public schools; and

• Favors the use of incentives to attract and retain businesses, and pledges support for retraining workers. (Source: Candidate website)

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