Name as it appears on the ballot: Valerie P. Foushee
Party affiliation: Democrat
Campaign website: valeriefoushee.com
Occupation & employer: Retired Police Administrator
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 had the honor and privilege of serving my community for 23 years; on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board, the Board of Orange County Commissioners, the NC House of Representatives and the NC Senate. During my tenure as a School Board member, the district opened three new schools and an alternative school. Additionally, many recommendations from the Blue-Ribbon Task Force were implemented to close the achievement gap between majority and minority students. As a Commissioner, the process to close the County landfill which had negatively impacted a historic predominately African American community for more than 40 years,
began and has since been completed. As a member of the General Assembly, I have had
success passing local bills and a state-wide bill expanding pharmacy immunizations.
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 health and safety of North Carolinians is our top priority right now. That includes expanding Medicaid to ensure that every person has access to affordable healthcare in this pandemic. We also need to take action on the Leandro case by giving our schools the resources they need to see that every child has a sound basic education regardless of their zip code. We also need to take stock in our infrastructure and natural resources. This means passing a statewide bond to rebuild our schools and utilities and protecting clean air and water.
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?
Republican tax cuts cost the state $3.5 billion annually in state revenue and have done little to move the needle for working families in North Carolina. The wealthy and out-of-state corporations have enjoyed a massive windfall on behalf of these tax policies. Targeted tax relief needs to be enacted, including restoring the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low-income workers.
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?
Every working adult should earn a living wage — and they shouldn’t have to work two or three jobs to make it happen. I fully support raising the minimum wage over the next several years to ensure that, if you have a job, you can afford housing, food, and healthcare.
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?
The solution to the affordable housing crisis needs to be comprehensive. Our cities must commit to maintaining an affordable housing inventory. But we also need to improve public transit across North Carolina in order to expand job opportunities for everyone.
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.
In the absence of leadership at the federal level, I fully support Governor Cooper’s decision for North Carolina to adhere to the Paris Climate Agreement. We need to act now to reduce CO2 emissions and increase renewable energy sources. We need to strengthen incentives for renewable energy use for families and our businesses. We also need to rethink how we recover from natural disasters. We cannot continue to rebuild the same kinds of homes in the same areas, only to have them flooded again.
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 don’t support expanded access to assault weapons, I do support stricter bans on assault weapons. We need universal background checks on all gun purchases and limits on the number of guns and ammo a person can buy. We also need to enact red flag laws to protect people in times of domestic violence and crisis.
8. Do you support the Black Lives Matter Movement? What steps would you take to address racial equity in North Carolina?
Yes, I support the Black Lives Matter Movement. The General Assembly should first work to eliminate the vestiges and current impacts of systemic racism that exacerbate income inequality, lack of affordable housing, employment and educational opportunities. I would propose reinstating the Earned Income Tax Credit, raising the minimum wage to $15/hr, discontinuing tax cuts for wealthy corporations while reducing taxes for middle class families, and banning the box for initial screening processes for certain employment opportunities. Additionally, I would propose legislation to ensure fair housing practices through local ordinances and for lending institutions.
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?
I would support bills that would provide public access to certain police records such as body camera footage and information that show patterns of misconduct. The increased acts of police violence/misconduct across the country, underscore the need for reforms in policing that include accountability, transparency, better training for law enforcement officers and the elimination of unnecessary police actions. Additionally, doctrines of qualified immunity, duty to intervene and use of force must be revisited and reformed.
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?
We need to take the politics out of the redistricting process as much as we can. I fully support redistricting reform and establishing an independent redistricting commission to take this on in 2021.
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 public schools are not adequately funded. They are starving for resources and professional support to ensure that our children are getting the education and services they need to succeed. I support restoring previous corporate and wealthy tax levels in order to give every child a quality education.
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?
I cannot support the expansion of charter schools until we have better regulations and measures in place to ensure that these schools meet the educational and social standards of their public-school counterparts. Charter schools are failing our students at a higher rate. We need to give students consistency, and we need to give families assurances that private charters are not re-segregating our communities for the sake of profit.
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?
We need to join the 39 other states that have already expanded Medicaid and bring those federal dollars back into North Carolina. It is reprehensible that Republicans have blocked access to affordable healthcare for more than a half-million people in the midst of a public health crisis.
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?
I would support a repeal of the enacting legislation for Voter ID. The measure has already been added to the state constitution with the people’s support. But we need to pass laws to enact this that both protect the voting process and help to expand access to the ballot. We need to make voting easier, not more difficult for North Carolinians.
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?
16. Are there any other issues you would like to address that have not been covered by this questionnaire?
The General Assembly must enact legislation that will assist in expanding access to broadband across the state. In 2019, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) voted to make expanding broadband access the number one legislative priority for North Carolina’s counties. This can be accomplished by establishing beneficial public-private partnerships using county assets. Last year, without warning, and certainly without adequate preparation, every k-12 public school student became a virtual learner – many without access to high-speed internet. Many students who live in rural areas or other underserved communities cannot join their classes from home using one of the video web-based platforms. We must acknowledge that access to high-speed internet is not a luxury; it is a utility.
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