Name as it appears on the ballot: Mike Woodard
Party affiliation: Democratic
Campaign website: mikewoodard.com
Occupation & employer: University Administrator, Duke University and Health System
Years lived in North Carolina: 54 years
1. What in your background qualifies you to represent the people of your North Carolina district effectively?
I have served the people of Durham County and the region for 17 years, first on the Durham City Council (seven years) and currently in the State Senate (ten years). Before being elected, I was active in a wide variety of civic and non-profit organizations.
What would you cite as your three biggest career accomplishments?
I have worked on a number of bills in recent sessions that became law. Three I am proud of are:
- H951 Energy Solutions for North Carolina: This historic law codifies steps to get North Carolina a 70% reduction in carbon emission by the year 2030 and to carbon neutrality by 2050.
- H95 Wholesale Rx Distribution Licensee Change: This law provides drug manufacturers a quicker and easier process to begin distribution of FDA-approved medications.
- H77: This law restructured DOT’s budget to close a $740 million gap and introduced new oversight measures to avoid such funding crises in the future. It also set the stage for revenue modernization.
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?
Providing a first-class system of public education, from pre-K through post-secondary
- Raise teacher and principal compensation to the national average
- Protect and expand use of teachers’ assistants
- Provide more nurses and healthcare resources
- Universal Pre-K
- Enhance racial equity efforts
Accessible, affordable healthcare for all North Carolinians
- Expand Medicaid
- Implement Medicaid Transformation
- Enhance rural healthcare, especially medical specialties
- Enhance behavioral health
A strong economy that works in every part of the state
- Rebuild and expand infrastructure
- Expand opportunities for work
- Economic development projects
- Training, retraining, and apprenticeship projects
- “Ban the Box” and other programs to hire formerly incarcerated people
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?
As a former City Council member, I support giving local governments greater authority to enact ordinances within their jurisdictions.
4. Do you support raising North Carolina’s minimum wage, and if so by how much?
I support raising the minimum wage and the goals of the “Fight for $15” movement.
As for a specific amount, I have read recent studies that suggest the ideal minimum wage should be set by pegging a local minimum to a percentage of the local median wage. This is an idea worth exploring, as it addresses communities like San Francisco, San Jose, and Washington, DC, and even Durham where a minimum of $15 per hour is still not providing a living wage.
Additionally, this method would be reasonable for the rural communities in North Carolina where an artificially high minimum would be detrimental to the local economy.
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 General Assembly should:
- Maintain—and even increase—funding to affordable housing grant programs.
- Remove regulatory barriers that limit local governments’ abilities to provide affordable housing options.
- Provide local governments the ability to develop tax abatement plans.
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.
- Protect the work of the Utilities Commission outlined in H951 to move North Carolina to carbon neutrality by 2050.
- Enact the regulatory and budget steps needed to fully implement Executive Order 80.
- Revise the Strategic Transportation Investments to allow funding of projects devoted solely to bicycling and walking.
7. Would you support an independent process for drawing new legislative and congressional districts?
Yes. I have introduced bills in two sessions that would establish such a process.
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?
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?
- Reinstate increased pay for teachers with master’s degrees
- Expand the use of teachers’ assistants, which was cut over the last decade
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?
20 weeks is about 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?
11. Should North Carolina expand Medicaid?
Where do you stand on increasing the number of slots for the Innovations Waiver for special needs individuals?
These slots should be increased.
12. Do you support reforming North Carolina’s marijuana laws?
Do you support full legalization?
I support legalization of various amounts and with various safeguards.
Please explain your position.
The General Assembly should pass S711, which would establish a program of legal medical marijuana.
I’m not exactly sure what our questioner means by “full legalization,” but I favor decriminalizing marijuana and establishing a program for personal recreational use with vigorous safeguards.
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. I would add closing the gun show loophole.
14. Are there any issues this questionnaire has not addressed that you would like to address?
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