What are your top three legislative priorities?
• Reinvesting in our public schools and teachers. I will support a state budget that boosts education spending and increases teacher pay to match or exceed the national average. We also need to ensure all school employees and retirees have fair and adequate compensation as well. I will also support investments in our schools’ infrastructure and in classroom resources.
• Expanding Medicaid to provide access to affordable health care. We have over 500,000 people in North Carolina without health care, which is why I support expanding Medicaid. Everyone deserves access to affordable health care, and by expanding Medicaid we can lower insurance rates as well as create jobs and help our rural hospitals.
• Protecting our drinking water and waterways from pollutants and poisons. I will work for stronger protections of our drinking water and waterways and hold those accountable who have damaged it. Additionally, we need a countywide water system.
What policies should be enacted to avoid loss of life and property in future hurricanes or other flood events?
• Create forward-looking mitigation plans including buyouts of property in the 500- or 1000-year floodplain, as well as relocation assistance
• Expedite the development of new housing by reducing barriers in financing the early stages of development to local governments, nonprofits and public housing authorities.
• Increase funding for the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund to protect and restore wetlands, to acquire buffers and floodplains, and to assist communities in converting properties bought out by FEMA into parks, greenways and green infrastructure.
Water sources such as the Cape Fear River contain contaminants, known and unknown. What can and should the state do to ensure our drinking water is safe?
Safe drinking water shouldn't be a partisan issue, and protection of our drinking water and waterways should be a top priority. This is a public health issue and demands our attention. We need to provide the resources to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Department of Health and Human Services, especially the Water Quality Division of the DEQ as they are the first line of protection for our environment. The General Assembly needs to review and potentially reverse many of the environmental deregulation bills that have been put in place in the last eight years. Many of these laws gave polluters of our water amnesty for their dumping and passed the cleanup cost on to taxpayers.