Wake County

N.C. Senate Candidates

Larry Norman (R) – State Senate District 18

1) What do you look for in a Board of Governors candidate?The most important attributes in my opinion of possible members of the Board of Governors would include an understanding of how our universities are organized and a recognition of the importance of a balanced education for student attending those universities.  Any candidate that I would support would need to be a Christian, an person with educational experience and a conservative who recognizes the important values upon which our country was founded.

2) What’s your long-term plan for the UNC system and higher education in North Carolina?

I would like to see our UNC system makes changes in the ways that history and politics are taught to our young people.  I am concerned that many of our history and political science professors are more interested in teaching liberal philosophies and inaccurate facts of history instead of teaching true history. I would also favor policies that would assure that freedom of expression is encouraged and that violence and destruction of property is not tolerated on our college campuses.

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

I favor a healthcare system based on free enterprise and choice and I do not support national takeover of healthcare for citizens who desire to make their own choices.  We should make sure that children have adequate healthcare.

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

I do not believe we need any new laws to “promote racial equality.” Any laws that create preferences based on race should be repealed and eliminated.

5) I have no plans to promote “environmental justice” except to support measures which will improve our environment in reasonable ways. I

N.C. House Candidates 

Ronald Smith (R) – State House District 34

  1. What do you look for in a Board of Governors candidate?

Competency, proven success in their professional experience, a desire to make the UNC System the premiere college system in the United States.

  1. What’s your long-term plan for the UNC system and higher education in North Carolina?

I believe we need to make big investments in education, beginning with our world class universities. While improvements have been made in North Carolina, we need to do more to keep our best teachers in the state. That means raising teacher pay and extending loan repayment plans such as the Teaching Fellows Program. For our students, we should be promoting more mentorship opportunities so students have access to good role models they might not have at home. As your representative, I will put students first and politics last.

  1. What does an effective healthcare system look like to you?

Anyone with private insurance keeps their program. Limit government involvement in your healthcare while taking care of NCs most vulnerable populations. Supplement premium payments for college students and recent graduates. Allow, the State Treasurer, Dale Folwell to implement the Clear Pricing Project for all State organizations to reduce medical, hospital, and pharmacy costs.

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

Help get NC businesses and families back on their feet from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic  Work to create more school choice opportunities for families, while supporting public education. Keep taxes low for North Carolinians. This allows minorities to keep more of their own money and be more upwardly mobile.  

  1. Do you have any plans to promote environmental justice?

If we do not value our natural resources, we are mortgaging our future. I will support existing environmental laws such as carbon emissions, forest replanting, mine restoration, and the Clean Water Act.

Terence Everitt (D – Incumbent) – State House District 35

  • North Carolina can have a strong economy that creates high paying jobs and, at the same time, protects our environment – the two are not mutually exclusive. But we cannot let big polluters evade the laws designed to protect our air and water.
  • If we are going to compete in a global economy, then we need to start treating our teachers like the professionals they are, and that begins with raising teacher pay to at least the national average. It is time for North Carolina to commit to a comprehensive plan to raise all teachers’ pay and set real benchmarks that will serve to hold future elected leaders accountable.
  • Decreasing the number of people without health insurance will lower health care costs for everyone.
  • support the measures proposed by Governor Cooper and Democratic members in the General Assembly, including banning bump stocks, expanding background checks, and raising the age to buy assault-style weapons.

Julie Von Haefen (D – Incumbent) – State House District 36

  1. What do you look for in a Board of Governors candidate?

Our Board of Governors should be made up of professionals with experience running and leading institutions of higher education. We need new leaders on the Board of Governors who accurately represent the people of our state, who are knowledgeable about higher education issues, and who are invested in strengthening North Carolina’s public goods and resources. We must bring our university system forward by appointing members to the Board of Governors who are well vetted professionals, not just wealthy political donors. 

  1. What’s your long-term plan for the UNC system and higher education in North Carolina?

North Carolina has some of the best institutions of higher education in the world. We need to ensure that our colleges remain fully funded and have the resources they need to continue to grow, but we should not do so by raising tuition on students who are already feeling pressed by stagnant incomes and an increased cost of living. Our General Assembly must also act quickly to provide solutions for students and alumni of UNC system schools who are struggling with their student loan debt. We should create a student loan-refinancing program so that NC residents can refinance student loans at a lower rate and we should better regulate predatory lending practices to protect student borrowers.

We must also keep in mind that a four-year degree isn’t for everyone, and in many cases, those who learn a trade have a higher earning potential than those with a bachelor’s degree. That’s why we need to invest in our local community colleges and trade schools. In 2017, Governor Cooper proposed a plan to fully fund a community college education for students who meet a few very attainable academic benchmarks. This plan would be fully funded without raising any taxes, and I support its goal of providing a community college education to any North Carolinian who meets the necessary academic criteria. 

  1. What does an effective healthcare system look like to you?

When it comes to healthcare, lowering out-of-pocket costs is my number one goal. This means getting more families covered and one way to do this is through the expansion of Medicaid, under the Affordable Care Act.  Medicaid expansion will also help our economy by supporting rural hospitals and providing jobs to many in those areas.   It will provide healthcare in areas of our state where we most need additional coverage and more medical providers.

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

Racism is systemic in our nation, and American history continues to privilege “whiteness” in access to quality education, decent jobs, livable wages, homeownership, retirement benefits, and wealth. Black and brown people have worse health, economic and educational outcomes because our society has limited their access to opportunity through policies that uplift white Americans over their peers of color. We will never overcome these unjust inequalities until we confront the racism built within our society. 

The cost of a college education, including the debt that follows many people for decades, is far outpacing the return that students can expect to receive from their degrees. We also know that rising college tuition disproportionately affects people of color by limiting institution choice and directly impacting life incomes after graduation. The cost to attend our public universities has to change if we want to give the next generation of workers, home owners, entrepreneurs, and parents a fair shot. 

  1. Do you have any plans to promote environmental justice?

Climate change is a global issue that is not going away. We need to start addressing it now, and we need a plan for how to mitigate its effects in the future. I support policies that hold corporate polluters accountable, that block fracking and prevent offshore drilling. We know that those practices endanger water supplies and local ecosystems. I also support legislation that bans forever chemicals like PFAS to prevent them from seeping into our water supply and endangering our local communities. 

I also have a keen interest in reimagining the structure of our transportation funding system as we work to mitigate the effects of climate change. As vehicles become more fuel efficient, revenue from our gas tax is decreasing. Some members of the General Assembly have favored increasing registration fees on elective vehicles over studying alternatives to the gas tax, but I disagree with the idea that electric vehicle owners should shoulder higher upfront costs than vehicle non-electric vehicle owners. All vehicles are being built with greater fuel efficiency, regardless of whether they are electric or not. Reduced revenues from the gas tax will not go away, and we must prepare our transportation system’s funding model for the day when the gas tax becomes obsolete. 

Joe John (D – Incumbent) – State House District 40

1. What do you look for in a Board of Governors candidate?

Ideally, individuals appointed to the Board would make decisions based upon the best interests of the citizens of North Carolina, the students, and the member institutions, seeking to advance all without reference to ideology or partisanship.  Unfortunately, since I joined the General Assembly in 2016, the majority party has used its numbers and dominance to pre-select Board members through a partisan political lens.   

2. What’s your long-term plan for the UNC system and higher education in North Carolina?

I envision the UNC system as a world-class teaching and research institution operating to provide higher education access to all North Carolinians.  Ensuring college affordability for every NC student is critical to opening opportunities across the board.  Investing in education to create those opportunities should be considered with a view towards the return of that investment to our communities and State.  

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

Access and affordability are critical.  Every North Carolinian should have a means to ensure appropriate heath care.  The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the significant role that Medicaid Expansion, without work reporting requirements or annual premiums, could have in NC.  Expansion would provide health insurance to hundreds of thousands of uninsured North Carolinians and funds to NC hospitals, many of which are struggling to survive. This is also the most fiscally prudent option, as North Carolina taxpayers are, through their federal tax dollars, currently paying for expansion in the 38 states which have closed the coverage gap without any benefit flowing to our State.  

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

 Systemic racism must be addressed on multiple fronts, both in the UNC system and our North Carolina society as a whole.  The General Assembly has an important role in that process.   

In the UNC system, the recent creation of a “Race and Equity” task force is encouraging, especially with the focus on equity, which seeks to ensure fair treatment and equality for all participants in the UNC system–students, staff and faculty.  A report is due soon based upon input and discussion with all these groups.  I look forward to examining the results for potential system improvements and possible legislation. 

 With reference to aspects of our society, as a former Judge, I have experience with overdue reforms needed in the NC justice system to ensure it is fair and equitable for all citizens.  I will continue working to end the “school-to-prison” pipeline, to eliminate outdated offenses, to reform bail and pre-trial release policies, and to increase diversion courts. 

In addition, I support legislation addressing inequities in NC’s public schools, which disproportionately affect children of color.  The “sound basic education,” required by the NC Constitution, fairly provided across all schools, would begin to open economic opportunities more equitably for all NC children.  As a legislator, I have co-sponsored several pieces of legislation with the intent of accomplishing these goals. 

5. Do you have any plans to promote environmental justice?

As a legislator, I have advocated a healthy environment for all communities, regardless of racial composition, location or socio-economic status.  For example, I fought efforts to weaken the ability of hog farm pollution victims to take legal action.  In addition, I have consistently supported, and will continue to support, funding the NC Department of Environmental Quality, as well as measures to promote clean water, air and energy.  My efforts in promoting environmental justice have repeatedly earned election endorsements from the Sierra Club and the NC League of Conservation Voters and I have received the NCLCV “Green Tie Award.”

Gerard Falzon (R) – State House District 40

1. What do you look for in a Board of Governors candidate?

Up-front, I have zero experience in interviewing Board candidates.  That said, I believe that I would want someone who understands their responsibility to both students who pay tuition and to taxpayers who supplement the funding of the university system.  I would want someone with relevant experience, innovative ideas, and an understanding of how to improve our state through its public university system.  

2. What’s your long-term plan for the UNC system and higher education in North Carolina?

Long-term, I believe that higher education needs to be able to deliver a better educational product online than it does in-person.  This would help to “bend the curve” of skyrocketing college tuitions.  

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

An effective healthcare system is one: that is easy to access, geographically speaking, that teaches the individual how to be his or her own primary care provider, backed up by a team of nurses, PA’s, and physicians where pricing is disclosed up-front, just as is expected of all other service providers, where licensed providers are free to offer their services to the marketplace without onerous statregulation, where private health insurance policies are not tied to employers.  Rather, they can be bundled with personal home and auto policies for greater discounting and customization, that takes advantage of technologies such 5-G communication networks, cloud storage, and blockchained databases. 

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

Racial inequality truly begins with a K-12 school districting model that gives minority parents no options to send their children to private or charter schools.  When K-12 schools lose racial diversity, race problems on both sides begin to develop, become ingrained at young ages, and begin to manifest themselves within university environments; if minority students even qualify for admittance.  School districting with no other viable options perpetuates cycles of poverty and racial tensions.  We MUST allow minority parents to access good schools as early as possible through Opportunity Scholarships.  Through racial diversity in private and charter schools, every student will benefit and we will be able to overcome racial inequality in higher education.  

5. Do you have any plans to promote environmental justice?

  1. I plan to request funds to clean up all the trash on I540, I440, and around Falls Lake.  
  2. I would like to request funding for further investment in generating clean electrical power offshore – from wind, waves, and currents. 
  3. I plan to request more funding for bike lanes on our major streets. 
Wake County