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⚡️ VOTER GUIDE: Senate District 48 Q&A

Candidates for Senate District 48 are Democrat Norm Bossert, 67, of Pisgah Forest, and Republican Chuck Edwards, 57, of Flat Rock, the incumbent.

 

Why are you running for the North Carolina Legislature?



Bossert: A few elections ago, I started to become concerned with the morale of the teachers who worked with me at Black Mountain Elementary. I’ll address some of those concerns in a later question. I saw families struggling without health care. Hard working parents working several jobs were unable to keep afloat financially. Homelessness and unchanging free / reduced lunch percentages spoke volumes of an economy that was leaving too many behind. More recently, I was disturbed by a legislature that cuts the budget of our Attorney General and works to consolidate power in themselves, subverting our tri-cameral checks and balances. I was upset by legislative leadership that failed to be transparent and above board.

Edwards: More than ever we need representation that employees compassionate listening, with a broad set of skills and experiences. We need a Senator that understands the requirements for a strong economy, and that it is that economy that enables us to provide for families and fund necessary government services like an education system that effectively serves children. We need a Senator that has the ability, and the courage to seek out wasteful spending, that will insist on government efficiency, and that will challenge the status quo. As a small businessman with a history of community service I have demonstrated these abilities.

 

There are six constitutional amendments on the ballot. Which ones do you favor and which ones do you oppose and why?

 

Edwards: The beauty of our legislative process is that our citizens will decide on the terms under which we will be governed. I supported each bill that enabled these amendments to be on the ballot, and I will vote for them each. Voter Photo ID will give our citizens confidence in the integrity of our elections that we are currently lacking. A Bipartisan Board of Ethics and Elections will help ensure a fairness that is missing if either party can control its make-up. I believe crime victims deserve the right to receive notice of their hearings, and their opinion should be considered in plea deals and sentencing. Hunting and Fishing have been fundamental means by which we provided for our families and that heritage should be preserved. Future legislatures should know through the income tax cap that the pockets of taxpayers are not unlimited. I believe that Judicial Vacancies should be filled by a broader body than by one person. I hope that everyone will take the time to evaluate each proposed amendment on its own merits instead of succumbing to the advertising and influence to vote for or against all six. For a more thorough summary of why I supported the legislation that created these amendments, voters can visit NC48.com/6.

Bossert: I favor none of the proposed constitutional amendments. Not one of them has any of the ‘laws’ that will have to be written to underpin them. In other words, legislative leadership wants to have a blank check from the people. What sort of ID have they in mind for voting? What about the oystermen working the east coast? Victim’s rights? If they are concerned about that, mightn’t leadership undercut North Carolina’s already incredibly strong victim rights laws? They even want a lame duck session to write laws to underpin their amendments, without transparency and accountability. They may be doing so against the will of the majority of our citizens!

 

Are you in favor of or opposed to expanding Medicaid in North Carolina to provide health care to more people? Why?

Bossert: I am in favor of expanding Medicaid. By so doing we would be returning $2,000,000,000 a year to our revenue stream. We would create 23,000 good paying jobs. We would reinvigorate our rural health care facilities. Most important of all, we would be able to provide health care to up to 500,000 of our neighbors living in poverty. Doing so would save lives. Doing so would make it possible for people to get care outside of the emergency room – for which we all pay, raising the cost of health insurance.

Edwards: I agree we should help care for those who indeed cannot help themselves. This Obamacare “add-on” doesn’t accomplish this goal. 82% of new enrollees would be single, able-bodied adults. NC now provides care for our most vulnerable; children, single parents, elderly, and disabled. Since my election we’ve added 179,000 more citizens to state-funded plans- bringing the total number served to 2.2 million. This means 20% of our population is already covered by a taxpayer-funded plan. I supported budgets that added $917 million for needs over and beyond Medicaid without accepting the baited, one size fits all, inflexible federal option.

 

The Republican leadership of the Legislature touts its record on teacher pay and smaller class sizes. “The average base salary for a teacher in North Carolina increased by $8,700, or nearly 20 percent, since the 2014 school year,” Senate leader Phil Berger said on Aug. 30. “More than 40,000 teachers – close to half of all public school teachers in the state – will have received at least a $10,000 pay raise by the 2018-19 school year. In fact, over a 30-year career, a teacher will earn $237,200 more on the 2018-19 salary schedule than he or she would have earned under the old Democrat plan.” Is the record Berger cites deserving of voters’ endorsement? Why or why not?

Edwards: Our substantial increased spending on public education is indisputable. But I don’t believe we should keep score by how much money can we spend. The meaningful endorsement comes from parents who have a child in school, and how they feel about that child’s preparation, cradle to career. For this, one need not look further than Henderson County public schools. Under the same funding formula used statewide, these remarkable teachers, principals, administrators, volunteers, and support staff are continually recognized for exemplary achievements. I hope to help make their jobs easier by reducing testing and bureaucracy, and with adequate, transparent funding.

 

Bossert: There are their facts, our facts, true facts, fake facts and then there is Phil Berger. Teachers used to get longevity pay . . . gone. They used to be paid for advanced degrees . . . gone. They used to be able to earn annual raises with a ladder that encouraged educators to call teaching a career. Today, at year 15, teachers are pretty much making all they are ever going to get. In fact, from year 25 to 30 there are no longer raises. There is talk that pensions are going away. Health care for retirees is already on the ropes. In short, it has become increasingly difficult for our state to attract people to the profession. Berger doesn’t get it! Of course I am running against someone else.

What specifically are your highest priorities in the Legislature for serving your district?

Bossert: In canvassing, I have learned that my priorities aren’t dissimilar from many of the people I meet. But one of their biggest priorities has nothing to do with legislation at all. People are sick to death of the animosity and anger. They are sick of the lack of transparency in government. They want to know that regardless of party affiliation, their representatives will speak with each other and conduct the business of government in an open fashion. My highest priority will be to renew trust in one another and build good working relationships with my colleagues. I will be transparent and will hold regular Town Halls.

Edwards: The things citizens constantly tell me that are important to them are; a strong economy, good jobs, Pre-K to 12 then post education, protecting tax dollars and using them wisely, and keeping us safe. I intend to keep NC a leading business-friendly state so employers want to be here, earning us an economy that presents job opportunities, and generates a strong tax base. I intend to work with experts to improve our educational systems. I will insist on government spending efficiency. I will continue to support our law enforcement and first responders- and I will continually review school safety measures.

 

What other major priorities do you have for your district and the state?

Edwards: In addition to the priorities I just mentioned, one of the biggest issues our district faces is to determine how we spend highway dollars that we now get from Raleigh. For decades Henderson County did not get our fair share. Now that we have a reliable highway funding stream we must improve on the STIP process to get more public input earlier in the planning process. Case in point- we spent $1mm before deciding against the Balfour Parkway. I invite everyone to learn more about me, our priorities, my record, and to stay abreast of issues at chuckedwardsnc.com.

Bossert: I will work to fully fund our children and the schools they attend. Another priority will be to work with my colleagues to expand Medicaid. I want to increase the minimum wage and work with communities and colleagues to establish a living wage. I want to restore funding to our Attorney General’s office in order to expedite the delivery of justice in North Carolina. Other priorities would be to restore funding of the Department of Environmental Quality and help them to have real ‘teeth’ in dealing with pollution.