Name as it appears on the ballot: Barbara Howe
Date of birth: February 13, 1953
Campaign website: barbarahowe.net
Occupation & employer: Homemaker
1. What do you see as the most important issues facing North Carolina? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?
The most important issue facing the people of North Carolina is the fact that we have an over reaching, out of control government. It takes too much of our wealth, imposes too many rules and regulations, and interferes in too many aspects of our lives.
I want to reduce government to its core function of protecting individual rights, not limiting them. My top three priorities will be: 1) to work for educational choice through a Taxpayer Choice Scholarship Plan to encourage market competition in education; 2) reduce burdensome regulations on businesses and reduce taxes so that the creative people of North Carolina can be free to voluntarily do business and provide mutually beneficial products to customers; and 3) end the practice of tax incentives (corporate welfare), a policy that allows politicians to substitute their judgment of what businesses should be in NC, ignoring the wisdom of consumers.
2. What issue or issues made you want to run for this office?
North Carolina needs common sense leadership, not power seeking politicians who want to control other people’s lives. Every year the General Statute volumes grow and grow. North Carolinians are over taxed and over “governed.” We need to get back to respecting individual rights and personal responsibility. People should be free to live their lives as they see fit as long as the respect the right of every other person to do the same.
3. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective in the U.S. House office of Governor? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.
It may be precisely because I have no record as a government official that makes me uniquely attractive to hold this office. As a Libertarian, I believe that each individual owns his or her life. What qualifies me for the office of Governor is that I recognize that fact. I want to put in place a government that is limited to the basic function of protecting individual rights, but otherwise leaves people alone to live cooperatively with others. I am not tainted by past controversy nor am I beholden to any special interests.
4. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
Immediately upon taking office, I will begin commuting death sentences to life in prison without parole and reviewing all non-violent drug related convictions with the goal to pardoning all people convicted based on unjust and unreasonable drug laws.
5. If elected, your first big challenge would be to produce a new budget. How would your budget differ from your predecessor’s? What do you see as the primary sources of our state’s budget problems?
My budget would differ from my predecessor’s because I would stop asking for funding for things government shouldn’t be doing. I’ll examine each and every line in the budget and determine if it’s something the government should be doing. The primary source of the state’s budget problem is the fact that it does things it should not be doing. One example is licensing boards. There are 700 plus in NC. These occupational licensing boards are put in place under the pretense of safety, but the ultimate purpose is to limit competition. The politically connected can get politicians to make rules so that they can keep others from competing for jobs. If it was about safety, we can achieve that goal through private certifying organizations, similar to Underwriters Laboratories.
6. If you want to decrease state education spending please explain what you would cut. If you want to increase state education spending tell us what areas would see more support.
I want to take a different approach to education. Since we are constitutionally required to provide for education, I would advocate that we implement a plan that offers parents more choice. The best way to do this at the current time is to implement what I call a Taxpayer Choice Scholarship Plan. Any taxpayer would be able to direct his or her state income tax liability toward a scholarship for any child to attend any school. Parents could do it for the own children. Other individuals, relatives, members of your church, your employer, could also use the tax credit to provide education dollars. With these dollars placed in the hands of parents rather than bureaucrats and politicians, parents would have the opportunity to find schools that meet the needs of their individual children. Competition makes all things better.
7. What is your position on Amendment One?
Constitutions are to limit government, not people. The passage of Amendment One was a very sad day in NC history. There are certain things that are not up for a vote. How I (or anyone else) form my family is one of those things.
8. Do you support women’s reproductive rights, including the “right to choose” as set out by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade? Do you support the recently passed state requirements on ultrasounds and waiting periods for women seeking an abortion? Do you support attempts to eliminate funds for Planned Parenthood?
I do support a women’s right to have control over her body and her health care choices. I oppose state requirements for ultrasound and waiting periods. I also think no taxpayer dollars should be used for abortion. As a Libertarian, I oppose government funding Planned Parenthood and all other charities and non-profits. It’s very easy to be generous with other people’s money. I know Planned Parenthood does many good things, most of them unrelated to abortion. But it is particularly objectionable to forcibly take money from people and then put that money to use on something that the person finds morally wrong.
9. Would you support Gov. Perdue’s call for a 3/4 cent increase in the sales tax or another revenue measure to restore cuts or cover other costs? Would you support a revision of the state tax code that led to an increase of revenue?
I oppose any consideration of a tax increase. Our problem is not with revenue; it’s with overspending. If we reduce government to its core function of protecting rights, we will need less revenue, not more.
10. What is your position on capital punishment and the Racial Justice Act?
The state should not be killing prisoners. Once a person is secured and no longer a threat to others, it is wrong to kill them. The Racial Justice Act was a step in the right direction of limiting the harm done by capital punishment. I prefer that we simply end the practice. It doesn’t make us safer. The risking of executing an innocent person is too great. I’ll work to abolish the death penalty.
11. Both parties have been criticized for overreaching during redistricting. Would you support an independent commission drawing the lines in the future?
Republicans and Democrats do overreach when it comes to redistricting. We are also constrained by the Voting Rights Act, so it’s not a simple matter. I would like to see districts drawn that consider only population and geographic continuity.
12. Should candidates for Governor be required to release their tax returns and submit a financial disclose report similar to members of congress?
The fact that this is even an issue is a clear indication that government is out of control. It should not be of any interest to anyone how I make my living unless you have some notion that I might be beholden to someone for political favors. Limit government to its core function of protecting individual rights and the point becomes moot.
13. Tell us about your energy strategy, specifically whether you support offshore drilling and allowing hydraulic fracking for natural gas in the state’s interior.
Energy is an important element of a sound economy. However, bureaucrats and politicians are notoriously inept at making decisions about technology and business. Solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources may be a part of the energy equation. That said, the thing that the state needs to do is to be sure there are not unnecessary obstacles in the way for private companies to enter into the energy production business, regardless of the source. The private companies that enter into the business must do so without taxpayer dollars and must accept the responsibility for producing the energy in a safe way and be held accountable for any damage they might do.
I recognize that people have serious concerns about offshore drilling and hydraulic fracking. The issue becomes do we stop all forward progress until all concerns are 100% settled. That seems like an imprudent course. Life is not without risk. Our task becomes moving forward with the least amount of risk.
To move forward with offshore drilling or fracking, two primary things will have to be in place. The company seeking to do the exploration and extraction of oil or natural gas will in no way, shape, or form receive any taxpayer money. Said business must also be held fully liable for any damage it might do. The company would need to do a thorough assessment of the possible damages and carry sufficient insurance to compensate for any damage it might do.
14. What are your views on separation of church and state?
I believe religion is a personal matter and I strongly support a separation of church and state.
15. Do you believe the state should require changes to school curriculum to allow for the teaching of creationism or intelligent design?
I don’t like the idea of the state controlling the curriculum. With my plan to introduce more competition into the school market, this question becomes irrelevant. Parents wanting creationism and intelligent design taught will be free to seek out schools that address those issues.