Name as it appears on the ballot: Julie von Haefen
Party affiliation: Democrat
Campaign website: juliefornc.com
Occupation & employer: Retired Attorney
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 ran for office because of my past work in public school advocacy. I have been involved in the public schools in Wake County and North Carolina for the past ten years, as a Parent Teacher Association leader at the school, county, and state level. I am a Guardian ad Litem in Wake County and a retired attorney who practiced law for nearly ten years. During that time, I served as a public defender for several years, and later worked in medical malpractice defense, municipal law, and education law. I am a strong advocate and supporter of our public schools and feel that we need to fully fund and support them at every level.
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 General Assembly needs to restore respect and dignity to the teaching profession in North Carolina by increasing teacher pay, restoring advanced degree pay, and ending pay incentives based on test scores. Additionally, we must immediately align our school funding model with the Leandro court decision and fulfill our constitutional obligation to provide all children in North Carolina with a sound basic education. North Carolina also needs to bring our federal tax dollars home and expand Medicaid. Stroke and heart disease are preventable with treatment but are still leading killers in our state. Expanding Medicaid would save lives by providing access to preventative healthcare to people across NC. Constituents in HD 36 know more than most what gerrymandering can do to their representation. It’s time for the General Assembly to establish an independent, non-partisan redistricting commission. Representatives should no longer have any part in drawing their own districts.
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?
For too long, the General Assembly has given sweetheart deals and massive tax breaks to large, out of state corporations. Last year, the General Assembly tried to pass $100 million in new corporate tax cuts. I would support legislation to repeal corporate tax cuts from the past decade and use the additional revenue to help fund our public schools and enhance our mental health support networks in North Carolina.
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?
Raising the minimum wage is vitally important to provide a living wage to our workers and families. Our current minimum wage of $7.25/hr. ($2.13/hr. for tipped workers) forces working families to choose between keeping the heat on and putting food on the table. The cost of living has risen without wages keeping pace. Raising the minimum wage to $15/hr. and ensuring that it continues to adjust for inflation each year would assist in the reduction of poverty, address issues of racial and gender inequity, and encourage economic growth.
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?
Our state is growing rapidly, and as a result, our housing market is becoming more competitive and housing prices are on the rise. Families who have lived in their neighborhoods for decades or even generations are being pushed out, and teachers, police officers, and local employees are having great difficulty finding reasonably affordable housing options near their workplaces. We need to pass renter protections to prevent no-cause evictions, provide more down-payment assistance to first time home buyers, and pass a non-discrimination ordinance to provide specific protections for renters and homebuyers who are section 8 recipients, who are people of color, low-income, and/or LGBTQ. I would also support repealing the legislation that prohibits municipalities from instituting rent control policies.
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.
Blocking further pollutants from entering the ecosystem is step one in mitigating the further effects of climate change. That is why I believe that North Carolina must block fracking, prevent offshore drilling, and do everything we can to stop toxic and hazardous waste from seeping into our soil, water, and air.
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 believe we all deserve the reasonable expectation not to be gunned down at our workplace, at shopping malls, or in schools. That is why I support sensible reforms around firearms, like universal background checks and eliminating gun-show loopholes. There is a way for us to balance our safety and the safety of our children with the rights of hunters and sportsmen. During my time in office, I’ve supported legislation that would require would-be purchasers of assault weapons to obtain a permit beforehand and that would require the safe storage of firearms.
8. Do you support the Black Lives Matter Movement? What steps would you take to address racial equity in North Carolina?
Racism is systemic in our nation. American history continues to privilege “whiteness” in access to quality education, decent jobs, livable wages, homeownership, retirement benefits, and wealth. Black people have worse health, economic and educational outcomes because our society has limited their access to opportunity through policies that uplift white Americans over their peers of color. We will never overcome these unjust inequalities until we confront the racism built within our society. This is why I have worked diligently on policies such as expanding Medicaid, passing the Equal Rights Amendment, raising the minimum wage, funding our public education system robustly, and enacting “ban the box” policies that prevent employers from asking job applicants about their criminal history. I was a public defender for several years, and I’ve seen how fines and fees disproportionately affect poor people of color. Jails should not be our state’s response to poverty and systemic inequality. Cash bail, fines, and fees are trapping many poor people of color in a cycle of poverty and incarceration. We should reform this system, eliminate cash bail, and reduce or eliminate fines and fees where at all possible.
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?
Yes, I would support granting civilian oversight boards the ability to access police records when conducting an investigation.
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?
Our district knows far too well how gerrymandering has affected their representation. The courts declared House District 36 to be unconstitutionally gerrymandered only a few days before Election Day in 2018. The General Assembly must provide the voters of our state with the opportunity to vote in fairly drawn districts. To do so, we must remove elected officials from the redistricting process entirely. I have supported legislative efforts to enact different types of redistricting reform, and if re-elected, I will continue working with my colleagues to ensure the creation of an independent, nonpartisan redistricting commission.
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?
The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled in Leandro v. State of NC that the state legislature has a constitutional obligation to fully fund our public schools, but that our legislature has not been fulfilling that obligation. The court then issued a study to calculate how much additional funding the state must appropriate to align our funding with the obligations of our constitution. The resulting WestEd report recently identified that the North Carolina public school system is underfunded by $8 billion. Funding education isn’t up for debate – it’s obligated by the constitution and protected by the court. I understand that we cannot undo decades and billions of dollars of underfunding overnight, but we must begin to prioritize investments that get us back on track. For too long, the General Assembly has given massive tax breaks to large, out of state corporations. It’s time they pay their fair share to help educate children in North Carolina.
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?
We need more oversight and accountability for charter schools so that we can be sure they are benefiting our students. Evidence suggests that school choice initiatives have failed to fulfill the promise of improving education. Data also tells us that charter schools are exacerbating the trend of re-segregation of our schools. In times like these, I feel it is irresponsible to expand funding for programs that are proven not to improve education outcomes. The state of North Carolina has a constitutional obligation to meet the needs of every child in our public schools, and our General Assembly must provide for those needs by focusing on funding our public schools.
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?
Yes, I support expanding Medicaid. Most importantly, Medicaid expansion will save lives, but it will also bring billions of dollars back to North Carolina in federal funding to create health care jobs and expand our health care infrastructure. Our state currently ranks 5th in the nation for the number of people who have lost their health insurance due to the economic downturn during the pandemic. We must act now to provide North Carolinians with an affordable healthcare option.
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?
Our state has a history of limiting access to the ballot box, especially along racial lines. Our General Assembly must focus on policies that make voting easier and more secure, not on creating structural barriers that make it difficult for constituents to exercise their constitutional rights. I would support legislation aimed at changing the 2018 amendment to our constitution.
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?
Yes, I would support the repeal of the death penalty in North Carolina.
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