Name as it appears on the ballot: Allen Buansi 

Age: 35

Party affiliation: Democrat

Campaign website:

Occupation & employer: Assistant City Attorney, City of Greensboro 

Years lived in North Carolina: 20

1. What in your background qualifies you to represent the people of your North Carolina district effectively? What would you cite as your three biggest career accomplishments?

I am qualified to represent the people of North Carolina effectively because of my experiences as a civil rights and municipal lawyer, an elected Town Council member and a working parent.

First, as a civil rights lawyer, I have experience on the ground with people suffering from harmful laws and practices. I have also built connections with leaders outside of our district on common-ground issues, such as supporting public schools, affordable healthcare and the environment. I have worked on public education and environmental justice cases.

Second, as an elected Chapel Hill Town Council member, I have a track record of spearheading innovative and progressive policy initiatives and working across the metaphorical aisle to get these initiatives passed. I supported the following policies, among others:

• The first-ever town-created criminal justice debt fund, which assists low-income defendants in getting relief from the excessive court costs and fees that are imposed upon them, even without or before a conviction.

• The Town’s first climate action response plan, with a goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050. Commitments include but are not limited to the following: net-zero emissions for new municipal facilities and upgrades for existing ones, an all-electric bus fleet and a town-wide electric vehicle (EV) charging station network.

• The Town’s first affordable housing bond in 2018, dedicated to developing 400 new affordable housing units and preserving 300 existing affordable units over a five year period.

Third, I am one of a handful of working parents in the General Assembly. This is a critical perspective our General Assembly is lacking, particularly when it comes to decisions to not increase the number of childcare subsidy slots, deny state funding for after school programs and to otherwise not provide needed support to working parents across the state. My wife and I have three young children and have personal experience with education and the high costs of childcare. We see the need for our state legislature to alleviate these burdens on other working parents. I want to bring this perspective and push for much needed support for the parents and children of North Carolina.

My three biggest career accomplishments include the following:

• The creation of the aforementioned Town Criminal Justice Debt Program, which is the first in North Carolina. It assists people who are working to get their lives back on track but who are burdened with excessive court costs and fees.

• Settlement with DEQ that yielded commitment to an adequate system for receiving and responding to third-party complaints and information against operators of industrial hog facilities for violating permit standards and regulations.

• The creation of the Training for Action and Progress (TAP) program in 2018, which recruits and trains young people and people of color for public service, including town advisory boards and elected office.

2. What do you believe to be the three most pressing issues facing the next General Assembly? What steps do you believe the state should take to address them?

I believe the three most pressing issues facing the next General Assembly include: (1) public education, (2) the climate crisis and (3) lack of access to affordable healthcare. We should take the following steps to address each issue:

With public education:

• Pay our school personnel fair and competitive wages.

• Expand the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program.

• Pass a school construction bond to repair public schools.

With climate action:

• Open the way for more bicycle and pedestrian projects.

• Invest in clean, renewable energy.

• Provide state funding to support public transit in all parts of North Carolina.

With healthcare:

• Expand Medicaid.

• Protect access to abortion care.

• Provide more support for county public health departments.

3. To what extent do you support municipalities exerting local control over issues such as regulating greenhouse gas emissions, criminal justice reforms and police oversight, and passing development-regulating ordinances?

One of the reasons why I am running for office is to empower local governments to provide better for their residents. I have a great deal of experience in municipal law, having served on the Chapel Hill Town Council, taught a law school course on municipal law and practiced in this area of law as a civil rights attorney and assistant city attorney. I will fight to empower local governments with more authority over pollutive industrial operations. I will fight for more state funding to support alternative modes of transportation such as public transit.

I will push to reverse the criminalization of poverty such as excessive court costs and fees. I will also push for state support for community-based policing approaches, which includes funding crisis counselors, mental health resources and measures to help integrate law enforcement better into communities.

I support expanding local government authority on affordable housing and restore local government authority over stormwater control, given the worsening storms. I also support maintaining local authority to require tree surveys, certain road designs and erosion control measures, as part of the approval process for developments. This authority has come under fire lately in proposed legislation.

4. Do you support raising North Carolina’s minimum wage, and if so by how much? If not, what other initiatives would you take to support low-income families in North Carolina?

Yes, I support an increase in the minimum wage in North Carolina to at least $15 per hour. Labor shortages abound and many businesses, in response, have already undertaken efforts to recruit workers with higher pay. I would work to implement this increase through a phased-in approach.

Determining the best phased-in approach for North Carolina must include engaging with stakeholders, such as workers’ rights advocates, unions, business leaders and others to determine the best timeframe for a $15 minimum wage increase for employers in urban, suburban and rural areas.

5. With rent, property taxes, and home sale prices all rising, what, if anything, should the state legislature do to address this growing affordability crisis?

The state legislature should make significant budget appropriations for community development corporations, so they can provide much needed housing for low-income and working-class people and in doing so, relieve the burden on local governments. The state legislature should also significantly increase funding to the North Carolina Housing Trust, so the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency can effectively distribute significantly more money to support affordable housing projects across the state. The General Assembly created the NC Housing Trust Fund in 1987 and the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency administers this Fund. The Fund supports home ownership and rental apartments, new construction, rehabilitation and emergency repairs to homes.

6. Do you believe that the state government has an obligation to prevent the impacts of climate change? If so, please state three specific policies you support to address climate change.

Yes, I believe state government has a responsibility to prevent and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

First, I support reinstating the renewable energy tax credit. Until this expired in the mid2010s, this tax credit helped to create jobs and spurred economic development throughout the state.

Second, I support repealing a 2013 law that prohibits NCDOT’s financial support to towns and metropolitan/rural planning organizations for standalone bicycle and pedestrian improvement projects. Repeal of this law would open the way for more bicycle and pedestrian projects to be funded and help communities move away from cars as the only and main mode of transportation.

Third, I support increasing state funding for mass transit projects across the state, such as bus rapid transit and light rail. Local governments should be able to choose the right mass transit option for their jurisdictions and not have to bear the principal burden of funding it. Mass transit can be a part of spurring economic development because a workforce is able to use reliable transportation to get to work.

7. Would you support an independent process for drawing new legislative and congressional districts?

Gerrymandering has been used over time to dilute citizens’ votes and to pack or split communities of interests so they cannot effectively speak for themselves through voting. There have been hundreds of cases under the Voting Rights Act that have challenged gerrymandered maps. In 2022 alone, there have been 58 cases challenging gerrymandered maps. The best solution is to have properly structured independent redistricting commissions, which decide state legislative and congressional maps at the state level. These commissions can help restore voters’ confidence in our election system, and they can ultimately result in fairer maps and districts where voters are more empowered.

8. Does the General Assembly have a constitutional obligation to comply with the state Supreme Court order in the Leandro case to fully fund public schools and give every child in North Carolina a sound basic education?

Yes and the North Carolina General Assembly continues to fall short of its constitutional obligation by underfunding our public education system. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) continues to highlight the inadequacy of publicschool facilities across the state. According to DPI, $12.8 billion is needed for school facility repairs. This is nearly $5 billion more than what it reported last in its 2015-16 report. Inadequate school facilities impair safe learning environments for our children and hurt teacher recruitment efforts. Underfunded schools tend to be those in rural and lower income areas, with lower property tax revenues and higher proportions of students of color and low-income students, who deserve a sound, basic education as much as their wealthier counterparts.

Education cuts across rural and urban communities, and every child in each of these communities deserves to have quality teachers, quality schools and quality education. Our children deserve better.

9. When it comes to teacher pay, North Carolina is one of the lowest-paying states in the nation. Schools across the state are facing shortages of educators, support staff, and other key personnel. Do you support raising teacher pay to at least the national average? What else can the General Assembly do to improve working conditions for teachers and make the teaching profession more attractive to potential future educators?

Yes, average teacher pay needs to be raised to at least the national average. Teachers continue to not have paid parental leave. In fact, they don’t even get enough unpaid leave (only 8 weeks) – we should give them at least 12 weeks of paid leave.

We need to expand the NC Teaching Fellows Program, from 200 slots to at least 1,000 slots. This will help with building a sustainable pipeline of teachers in North Carolina. We should also develop and fund a state loan repayment program for young people looking to enter the teaching profession.

The Great Recession hurt our state’s ability to ensure teacher assistants in every elementary school classroom. This has meant teachers have a harder time managing their classrooms, without the support of another trained educator in the room. In the years since the end of the Great Recession, North Carolina has operated with a sizable budget surplus, and we have seen an increase in the number of public school students. Yet, the General Assembly has not restored funding levels for teacher assistants. We need to fund many more teaching assistant positions to support teachers and students. 

10. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling this spring that overturned Roe v. Wade. The legal cutoff for abortion in North Carolina is now 20 weeks. Do you believe the 20- week cutoff is too restrictive, not restrictive enough, or just right? As a state lawmaker, would you support legislation that further limits or prohibits abortion in North Carolina, or punishes/criminalizes abortion providers or patients?

I would not support legislation that further limits or prohibits abortion in North Carolina or that punishes abortion providers and patients. North Carolina should codify the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. We also need to pass the Whole Women’s Health Act, which would eliminate arbitrary restrictions, such as the currently required 72-hour waiting period to get an abortion. These measures present undue burdens on women and endanger the health of women.

11. Should North Carolina expand Medicaid? Where do you stand on increasing the number of slots for the Innovations Waiver for special needs individuals?

We must expand Medicaid. Medicaid expansion would add over a half million North Carolinians to needed healthcare coverage. It would add over 37,000 good paying jobs to our state. And it would throw a critical lifeline to rural hospitals at risk of closure. Five rural hospitals have closed since 2013 and dozens more are on the brink. Medicaid expansion would generate nearly $2 billion annually in hospital reimbursements and rural hospitals, in particular, would receive a substantial share of these financial benefits.

We need to eliminate the waiting list for the North Carolina Medicaid Innovations Waiver and increase the number of slots immediately. The waitlist for the waiver has more than 15,000 people on it due to the current, limited number of slots. Many families whose loved ones are on the waitlist have waited more than 10 years for this assistance.

Eliminating this waitlist would mean relieving an unnecessary burden on more than 15,000 families. In the 2021-22 Legislative Session, a bill would have added 1,000 slots. In the spring, NC Medicaid received approval to increase its Innovations Waiver by 1,000 slots. However, this is a paltry number compared to the need. A good start is a commitment to adding at least 2,000 new waiver slots per year, as Disability Rights NC has recommended.

12. Do you support reforming North Carolina’s marijuana laws? Do you support full legalization? Please explain your position.

I support legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in North Carolina. Medical marijuana has been shown to be a safer treatment for chronic pain in adults than some current legal treatments. It also reduces vomiting induced by chemotherapy and can improve outcomes for other health conditions. The majority of the country (37 states) has legalized medical marijuana and there is bipartisan support for it here.

In North Carolina, 22 percent of the state’s population is African American, yet over 50 percent of arrests for marijuana possession involve African Americans. This is in the face of data that indicates that people in every racial category use marijuana at the same rates. Legalization can remove one of the largest racially disproportionate practices our state has and keep many young people out of our justice system, where recidivism becomes increasingly likely.

Legalization and regulation of marijuana would create jobs, eliminate racially-disparate enforcement and promote safe use of marijuana through formal, science-based product testing.

13. Do you support strengthening gun safety regulations such as expanding background checks, banning bump stocks, and raising the age to buy or otherwise regulating the sales of assault-style weapons? Please explain.

Yes, and other measures I would support include the following:

• Keep pistol purchase permits on the statutory books. Over the past several years, Republican lawmakers have consistently tried to repeal these permits, more recently through HB 398 in the 2021-22 session, which Governor Cooper vetoed. Pistol purchase permits remain one of the few effective methods of gun safety that North Carolina has at its disposal;

• Pass red flag laws that would empower healthcare providers, law enforcement and family members to petition a court to temporarily restrict a person’s access to guns when they show warning signs that they are a threat to themselves or others; and

• Pass legislation that would require registration and a purchase permit for long guns and rifles. Currently, no state permit is required even though federally licensed dealers are required to run background checks on potential buyers of long guns.

14. Are there any issues this questionnaire has not addressed that you would like to address?

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