Pitt County

N.C. House Candidates

Kandie Smith (D – Incumbent) – State House District 8

1) How do you plan to promote racial equality in North Carolina and in the UNC system?

Unfortunately, there is no quick or easy solution to bring about racial equality in North Carolina, but there are a few different things we can focus on right now that would help achieve meaningful progress.

One of the best things we can do to move us closer to that goal of equality is to make sure that people of color are included in spaces like the UNC system. When students see people that look like them in positions of power, whether that is a black elected official or a black professor, it opens up a world of possibilities that can make all the difference.

We also need to ensure that we are starting the work of promoting racial equality from the bottom up. Our local communities are where we will see the biggest impact almost immediately, so we need to ensure that we are engaging and pushing the people that live and work in our immediate area towards these goals of racial equality.

2) Many students are concerned about student debt, do you have plans to address increasing student debt in the UNC system during the pandemic?

Student debt has been an issue that has only increased in severity over the past several decades, and with the impacts of the COIVD-19 pandemic, it is frankly a crisis we should expect to get worse.

On the state level, we must continue to ensure that UNC system schools are not only providing students with a quality education that sets them up for success post-graduation by preparing them to enter the workforce, we need to ensure that we are supporting students while they are still in school.

We have seen success in certain UNC system schools through the NC Promise Program, which caps tuition at $500 a semester for in-state students. This is something we should consider expanding, while simultaneously continuing our investment in financial aid and fixed-rate tuition.

While not part of the UNC school system, ensuring that community colleges across the state are accessible, affordable, and well supported is another key way North Carolina can work towards providing a quality education that will set our students up for long-term success.

3) What qualities do you look for in a Board of Governors candidate?

For me, there are a few key things I look for in a Board of Governors candidate. The first, and arguably most important qualification, is a history of robust experience in the field of education. I believe that our schools work best when the people making decisions for them are educators, or former educators themselves.

When examining candidates, it is also important to look at their passion for the area, their eagerness to participate, diversify and serve in the interest of the people, and their ability to enact actual and meaningful change that will improve the lives and working conditions of all students, faculty, and staff at our states educational institutions.

4) What are your plans to promote environmental protection? Do you have any plans to promote environmental education?

When it comes to protecting our environment, education is paramount to not only making people aware of environmental issues but solving them as well.

Young voters in particular are incredibly passionate about the environment, and the reason is clear. What will the future of our world look like for the young people of today in 20 or 30 years? Tackling climate change will be humanity’s greatest challenge, and we need to be working right now to prepare for a future in which we have professionals who are educated and ready to tackle these issues.

Part of this solution will be found through making education more affordable and accessible to all, but we also have to ensure that North Carolina as a state is working to promote and grow businesses that operate and are managed in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

Here in the east, we can’t separate our livelihoods from our environment – It is simply not an either-or option. Whether it is the practice of agriculture in one of our areas many farms, or the tourism industry that is dependent on our beautiful coastline and beaches, the future of Eastern North Carolina depends upon a thriving and protected environment.

5) What does an effective healthcare system look like to you?

An effective healthcare system would be a system in which everyone, no matter their income or employment status, has access to the care they need, including emergency care, prescription, and preventative treatment.

While achieving that goal might seem far off, there are things we could do today to make that dream a reality. The biggest thing we could do right now would be to pass Medicaid Expansion in the state, which is something Democrats have been trying to do for years now.

North Carolina is one of only 13 states that have not expanded Medicaid, but if we did, the impacts would be almost immediate. Across the state, more than 500,000 North Carolinians who currently fall into the “coverage gap” would gain access to health insurance, and locally, we could add more than 6,000 new jobs in Pitt County alone.

Investing in a better healthcare system is a direct investment in the future. We have an option available to us today that we have seen make a massive difference in the 37 states that have adopted it – We must work harder than ever to pass Medicaid Expansion in the upcoming 2021 session as a way of building a more effective healthcare system.

Tony Moore (R) – State House District 8 

1) How do you plan to promote racial equality in North Carolina and in the UNC system?

As a business owner, I still employ my first employee of whom is African-American, since it started in 1989. He is a teacher in one of the public school systems I serve.  Approximately fifty percent of my 180 employees are African-American teachers. Before I can give you a plan I would need data.  If elected to the House I would ask to be appointed to a committee that will investigate racial equality in the UNC system.

2) Many students are concerned about student debt, do you have plans to address increasing student debt in the UNC system during the pandemic?

I am very concerned with the other costs added to attend school. The General Assembly must place limits on increases of tuition and other costs of attending it’s public universities.

3) What qualities do you look for in a Board of Governors candidate?

A board of trustee’s member needs life time experiences that would make him/ her a knowledgeable member of the Board of Governors. Being wealthy is not one of them.

4) What are your plans to promote environmental protection? Do you have any plans to promote environmental education?

As a former State Senator I was given the highest honor for being a supporter of environmental issues. As a member of those friendly to our (Earth) movement I have always supported environmental issues. As a forty-plus years of teaching I believe the curriculum must include promoting environmental education.

5) What does an effective healthcare system look like to you?

The costs are out of control. We must look more closely at making insurance affordable to everyone. The present system is not working!  Look closely who gives to the candidates and you will see the influence of the insurance/medical lobbyists?

Pitt County