Name as it appears on ballot: Dan Blue, Jr.
Party affiliation: Democrat
Campaign website: danblueforsenate.org
1. What in your background qualifies you to represent the people of North Carolina effectively? What would you cite as your three biggest career accomplishments?
I have served North Carolinians for over 35 years in the General Assembly, both in the House and in the Senate. I am proud to have served as the first Black Speaker of the House, as the President of the National Conference of State Legislatures, and As Chairman of the Duke University Board of Trustees.
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?
The most important priority right now is the health and safety of North Carolinians, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to lay the foundation for a statewide economic recovery after the pandemic. And we need to get serious about the state of public education and respond to the State Supreme Court’s Leandro decision that highlights our failure to provide every child a sound basic education.
3. Do you believe the Republican tax cuts over the last decade have been effective in stimulating the state’s economy? If given the choice, are there any tax cuts you would rescind or any new taxes you would enact? If so, what would you put the additional revenue toward?
The Republican tax cuts have done nothing to improve the lives of North Carolina families. These cuts have jeopardized our ability to meet the needs of our state, and have driven a grater wedge between the haves and have nots. We need to reinstate the Earned Income Tax Credit for working families, and make sure that top earners and corporations are paying their fair share.
4. North Carolina’s minimum wage is among the lowest in the country. Do you support raising the minimum wage, and if so by how much? If not, what other initiatives would you take to support low-income families in North Carolina?
I believe that every person should earn a living wage. But that is not the case for more than 725,000 North Carolinians who live in deep poverty. We need to start raising the minimum wage so that it reflects a living wage for all state and private industry workers.
5. Housing affordability is rapidly becoming an issue in the major metros like Charlotte and Raleigh and pushing low-income families further from their jobs. What policies would you support to ensure North Carolinians can live near where they work?
We need to address housing affordability as well as the growing homelessness epidemic in Raleigh and other metro areas. This includes ensuring we have an adequate number of affordable housing opportunities. But it also means we need to address the reasons that people are struggling to find and stay in a home: crippling student loan and healthcare debt, stronger career opportunities, and reduce the number of people caught up in the criminal justice system.
6. Scientists say the increased threat of hurricanes and the resulting coastal devastation is only expected to worsen in the coming years due to climate change. Please state three specific policies you support to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard the environment in North Carolina.
Climate change is real, and it’s having a devastating impact on our state. We need to continue doing our part in North Carolina to reduce our carbon footprint and strengthen renewable energy development. We also need to address our aging infrastructure that is especially vulnerable to extreme weather events, and to update long-term rebuilding plans so that we don’t face the same tragedies after each natural disaster.
7. Do you believe assault weapons should be commercially available in North Carolina? Do you support universal background checks for all gun purchases? What policies do you support to address gun violence?
I fully oppose making assault weapons commercially available — we need fewer assault weapons, not more. It is a matter of public safety to ensure that every gun owner is a responsible gun owner, and that means enforcing strict background checks, limits on purchases, and stronger red flag laws to keep vulnerable parties safe from potential threats and violence.
8. Do you support the Black Lives Matter Movement? What steps would you take to address racial equity in North Carolina?
Black lives matter, and that cannot be overstated. At the state level, it is crucial for us to enact policies that reflect this moment, including criminalizing hate crimes, reducing the prison population, bail reform, and putting an end to the school to prison pipeline that has been so detrimental to students of color.
9. One of BLM’s key demands is police accountability, however, municipalities have struggled to enact oversight boards with teeth as police records are safeguarded by state statute. Would you support bills that would make public certain police records, such as internal investigations after use of force incidents, body camera footage, and personnel files?
The police are here to serve the public — and the public has a right to know about police activity. I believe it is local police departments’ responsibility to provide transparency in a productive and safe manner. I would support legislation towards this effort.
10. The battle over gerrymandering has stalled out in the courts. What do you believe needs to happen with the state’s district maps? Would you support an independent process for drawing new legislative and congressional districts?
Democrats and Republicans have both practiced partisan gerrymandering. Republicans took it to a new level, and rampant abuse of the practice has made it clear that we need redistricting reform ahead of the 2021 process.
11. Republicans boast to have increased school funding during their tenure controlling the legislature. Do you believe the state’s public schools are adequately funded? If not, would you support a tax increase to pay for it?
Our schools are not adequately funded, and they’re not adequately staffed. Republican tax cuts have siphoned funding away from public schools, and we need tax policies in place that allow us to meet the basic needs of our classrooms.
12. Research suggests the state’s charter school system is increasing segregation in the schools. Do you support the expansion of charter schools? Why or why not?
Charter schools were intended to be education incubators — instead they have become a tool to renew school segregation and to allow the private sector to profit off our students. We need to freeze charter school expansions and study their success before allowing more to open.
13. More than 3,000 North Carolinians have died from COVID-10 since the onset of the pandemic and thousands more left with crippling medical debt. Do you believe the state needs to invest in an expansion of Medicaid? How would you address healthcare affordability for North Carolinians?
It is unconscionable that Republicans have continued to deny affordable healthcare to over 500,000 working adults. Medicaid expansion is the strongest tool we have available to help people and to help our economy.
14. The state’s Voter ID law, which has been criticized as targeted to disenfranchise African American voters, is temporarily blocked by the court. After the election, would you support repealing this law? Why or why not?
The voters passed a Voter ID amendment to the state Constitution. But we cannot trust the current Republican majority to pass fair enacting legislation to enforce Voter ID. The current law needs to be scrapped, and lawmakers need to work in a bipartisan fashion to pass an inclusive Voter ID law that does not disenfranchise voters.
15. North Carolina has not executed anyone since 2006, and challenges to the constitutionality of the state’s death penalty continue. Would you support the repeal of the death penalty in North Carolina? If not, do you believe the legislature should change the law to restart executions?
There is no repeal process for those that have been executed. With the rapid advancements in forensics and DNA testing, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that justice is served fairly and accurately.
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