Durham County

N.C. House Candidates

Marcia Morey (D – Incumbent) – State House District 30

1. What plans do you have to boost NC economy and address the rising unemployment rate?

We must have a fair tax system.  I have opposed the drastic tax cuts to corporations and the most wealthy.  Over $1 billion in revenue has been lost over the last few years resulting in less funding for  public education, public services and infrastructure needs and repairs.  I believe we should have an earned income tax credit and do more to help our community colleges and schools to ensure we have job ready qualifications.   NC’s unemployment benefits are the shortest term and lowest in the county during this pandemic.  Relief for college loans must be available so new college graduates are not saddled with debt.

2. How do you plan to  promote racial equity in NC?

I am a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Racial Equity in the criminal justice system.  As a former judge, I know the impact of racial inequities in the court system.  We criminalize over one million people for traffic offenses which we classify as criminal offenses. We incarcerate people because of poverty.   Racial equity training must be mandatory for all those in law enforcement, criminal justice and social services.  We must do more to provide services to those with mental illness and substance abuse and not criminalize those who suffer.   Our country’s history of slavery, Jim Crow laws, the war on drugs,  and blatant discrimination must be rectified by looking at the foundations of our society to become a more tolerant state.

3. What does an effective and equitable healthcare system look like to you?

I have fought for expansion of Medicaid and believe in the principles of the Affordable Health Care Act.  Universal health care for all is important but will come gradually in the legislative process.  Prescription drug prices must come down so people don’t have to choose between food, rent and health.  The pandemic is proof to how health disparities are disproportionally impacting people of color.

4. What are your plans to promote environmental protection and fight climate change?

Fighting climate change must be a top priority.  North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality must be adequately funded.   We must promote alternative energy sources like wind and solar.  Everything must be done to protect clean water and air.  The Gen X crisis must be addressed and polluters like Chemours and industrial hog farms should be held accountable for their toxic waste.

5. How do you plan to address inequities in K-12 school system across North Carolina?

Twenty years ago the NC Supreme Court decided in the Leandro decision that every child has the constitutional right to a sound and basic education.   We have failed in that promise.  Public schools must be adequately funded and teachers and staff appropriately paid.  We cannot continue to support two school systems, one private and one public with declining state revenues.  More diversity is needed to attract teachers and staff that reflect the students they educate.

Vernetta Alston (D – Incumbent) – State House District 29

1. What plans do you have to boost North Carolina’s economy and address the rising unemployment rate? 

First, we have to follow scientific guidance in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In the Legislature, we do that by funding DHHS and expanding our public health capacity, expanding Medicaid for our uninsured, protecting our elections, and following guidance from the Governor’s Office.  If we don’t, our economy will continue to suffer and our unemployment rates will continue to increase.  

2. How do you plan to promote racial equality in North Carolina? 

Systemic racism infects all of our institutions.  We have to prioritize racial equity, challenge the assumptions that underlie our policies to ensure that bias is not a motivating factor, and be prepared to restructure a lot of our processes to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of Black people, and correct centuries of harm and injustice in our country.

3. What does an effective and equitable healthcare system look like to you?  

Expansion of Medicaid to more than 500,000 North Carolinians is the most urgent policy decision we can make right now to help us and health care community move toward effective and equitable healthcare.

4. What are your plans to promote environmental protection and fight climate change? 

One thing I want to work toward is clean energy transformation in our transportation sector, i.e. planning and building mass transit systems, supporting the transition of our fleet to electric vehicles, make public transportation more accessible statewide, and incentivize energy efficiencies in transportation services.  

5. How do you plan to address inequities in K-12 school systems across North Carolina?  

Fully fund our public schools which have been chronically underfunded and failing our most vulnerable students.

 

N.C. Senate Candidates

Natalie Murdock (D – Incumbent) – State Senate District 20

1. What plans do you have to boost North Carolina’s economy and address the rising unemployment rate?

    • Raise the minimum wage. The General Assembly must commit to increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024 for all North Carolina workers.
    • Consider the impact on small business. All state agencies must be required to write up a small business impact plan for any proposed regulations.
    • Make entrepreneurship accessible. North Carolina needs small business one-stop shops where entrepreneurs can apply for licenses, ask legal questions, and learn more about starting their own business. These should be focused in rural counties and in areas with high concentrations of poverty.
    • Invest in innovation. North Carolina should invest in research and development grants and loans for early-stage and start-up businesses, with funding for businesses marketing sustainable products.
    • Protect LGBTQ+ workers. The General Assembly must pass a workplace harassment statute that includes harassment on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation and establish a nondiscrimination ordinance so that employers cannot fire anyone on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
    • Provide employees with benefits.  For the workplace to be accessible to and respectful of all workers, North Carolina must require 12 weeks of paid family leave for all businesses with 50 or more employees. All employers must allow employees twelve paid sick days per calendar year. Further, all employers must give employees notice of work schedules at least one week in advance, with the exception of emergencies.
    • Uplift local talent. North Carolina state policy must incentivize large employers to hire locally. Tax credits will be provided for businesses with over 50 employees that hire over half of their employees from within a 50 mile radius of their business.

2. How do you plan to promote racial equality in North Carolina?

  • Offer alternatives to incarceration. Research shows that restorative justice can be an effective alternative to traditional trials and sentencing. North Carolina must invest in alternative programs, including restorative justice, behavioral health programs, and treatment centers to better rehabilitate and prepare people who break the law to be better citizens.
  • Evaluate the justice system. The General Assembly must require regular evaluations of the state justice system to ensure it is meeting our goals and standards for re-entry.
  • Decriminalize non-violent crimes, including marijuana. North Carolina must allocate research funds to the health impacts of marijuana, with the goal of legalizing and selling marijuana in North Carolina. Further, the state must release individuals incarcerated for non-violent crimes and explore alternatives for rehabilitation.
  • Update the rules. North Carolina needs an independent commission that will fairly draw legislative and congressional districts, as well as clear and fair rules for operation of the legislature to make sure it works to improve life for all of North Carolina’s residents. 
  • Make voting accessible. The state must establish automatic voter registration, make election day a holiday, and guarantee that voters continue to have access to at least two weeks of early voting dates, including the Saturday before an election.
  • Protect minorities. North Carolina needs to repeal HB142 and establish an LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination statute, guaranteeing nondiscrimination protections in housing, employment, public places and spaces, credit, insurance, education, and jury service. Further, North Carolina must end the 287(g) program, in which local agencies work with ICE to deport community members. Finally, North Carolina must allow for gender neutral markers on state documents and establish a robust hate crime policy that includes crimes committed because of gender identity and sexual orientation.
  • End the school to prison pipeline. I will fight for a mandatory implicit bias and restorative practice training for all members of school communities, regular audits of North Carolina school districts’ disciplinary procedures, and research-based alternative education programs in every community. I will require school districts to create memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with law enforcement agencies limiting when school-based arrests and court referrals can occur. School districts will better define the role of SRO in the MOU to decrease criminalized interactions with students and SRO’s I will hold administrators and sheriffs accountable to collect the data that reflects accurate contact they have with students to get the baseline and accountability that the MOU is being followed. I will support and fund race equity training and trauma informed classroom training. 

3. What does an effective and equitable healthcare system look like to you?

  • Expand Medicaid. Accepting federal funds to expand Medicaid will close the insurance gap among thousands of North Carolinians who currently lack access to care.
  • Improve data collection. Data on health outcomes in North Carolina is limited, particularly when it comes to outcomes by gender and race. By committing to improving data collection on health and wellness at the county level, researchers and policymakers can better understand the issues North Carolinians face and how to address them and fund preventable health measures.
  • Health care in every county by 2025. The General Assembly needs to address the inequity in primary, mental/behavioral, and dental health care providers across the state. North Carolina must establish a state goal of equitable distribution of health care providers in every county by 2025.
  • Invest in care at school. We need to fund the education budget so that nurses, school psychologists, and social workers serve every school. The health habits children build early in their lives last into adulthood.
  • Reproductive health care for all North Carolinians. The General Assembly must create a mechanism for students, parents, and teachers to report violations of the Healthy Youth Act, fund doula programs for black women and other people at a higher risk of dying in child birth, and restore the state abortion fund. Access to reproductive health care gives North Carolinians the resources they need to live healthy, fulfilling lives.
  • Expand health care services for LGBTQ+ individuals. People who identify as LGBTQ+ often have poorer health outcomes than their cisgender and heterosexual peers. The General Assembly can remedy this by establishing research and development funds dedicated to gender-affirming care, banning conversion therapy for minors, and changing state domestic violence laws to give people in homosexual relationships the same rights as their heterosexual peers. 

4. What are your plans to promote environmental protection and fight climate change?

    • 100% renewable energy by 2050. The North Carolina legislature needs to commit to funding projects necessary to reach Governor Cooper’s goal of producing 100% renewable energy by 2050, including funding Cooper’s offshore wind farm job study in full.

    • Higher water treatment standards. While the Federal Administration rolls back regulations on coal ash disposal, North Carolina must lead the nation in continuing to uphold Obama-era standards, as well as moving toward proactive, higher standards for our air and water with clear consequences and means of enforcement. This includes reevaluating state water treatment processes to ensure that in cases of water contamination, contaminants are properly removed or inactivated.

    • Expand mass transit. The General Assembly must commit to expanding mass transit across the state, with an emphasis on low-cost or free public transit systems. This will drastically reduce emissions polluting our air and help reduce the effects of climate change.

    • Greater energy efficiency. The state legislature needs to implement energy efficient building code and appliance regulations. Companies need to internalize the negative externality created by carbon emissions through 1) environmental taxes on unsustainable production and 2) cap and trade policies for companies over 50 employees.

    • Repeal harmful policies.  The NC Farm Act of 2018 and House Bill 56, “Amend Environmental Laws” has the potential to allow for more pollutants and contaminants in North Carolina air and water. It’s time to review and amend these  laws and commit to higher environmental standards.

    • Invest in STEM. North Carolina has the brightest minds in the country. We can lead efforts to create a sustainable world by creating STEM project grant funds to get young people excited about environmentally-friendly innovation.

5. How do you plan to address inequities in K-12 school systems across North Carolina?

  • Raise wages. North Carolina must provide ALL public school personnel with a $15 minimum wage, $45,000 starting pay for teachers with a bachelor’s degree, raise wages 5% for all non- certified staff, teachers, and administrators, and provide a 5% cost of living adjustment for all retirees.
  • Meet national staffing standards. The General Assembly must ensure that public schools have adequate school librarians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, and other health professionals.
  • Restore benefits. The General Assembly must reinstate retiree health benefits and compensation for advanced degrees taken from teachers in 2017 and 2013.
  • Fund early childhood education. The state legislature must commit to funding Pre-K for all children and ensure that every child in North Carolina who qualifies for child care assistance receives it.
  • Increase funding to HBCUs & community colleges. According to the North Carolina state constitution, all schools in the UNC system should be free to North Carolinians “as far as practicable.” Let’s start with community college.
  • Make community college free.  Community colleges act as a platform for many students to attain a high-quality education with skills and training that are imperative for their success as well as our economy. However, “community college students end up with lower incomes and default on their loans at higher rates,” Young Invincibles Report. We need to push for funding for public education and free tuition at community colleges.
  • Address infrastructure. I will work to ensure the state fulfills its obligation to fully support state public education facilities by dedicating $8 billion to updating and repairing school infrastructure.
  • End the school to prison pipeline. I will fight for a mandatory implicit bias and restorative practice training for all members of school communities, regular audits of North Carolina school districts’ disciplinary procedures, and research-based alternative education programs in every community. I will require school districts to create memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with law enforcement agencies limiting when school-based arrests and court referrals can occur. Better define the role of SRO in the MOU to decrease criminalized interactions with students and SRO’s. Hold administrators and sheriffs accountable to collect the data that reflects accurate contact they have with students to get the baseline and accountability that the MOU is being followed. Support and fund race equity training and trauma informed classroom training.
Durham County