Name as it Appears on the Ballot: David C. Rollins
Date of Birth: 23 January 1969
Campaign Web Site: http://keepdurhamdifferent.com
Occupation & Employer: Banker, Credit Suisse
Years lived in North Carolina: 14 since 1987 (most recently from 2002 to the present)
1) What do you see as the most important issues facing North Carolina? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?
The most important issue facing North Carolina is how to manage growth without leaving the poor behind.
First, we must repeal the gas tax and return highway maintenance to the counties as is done in SC. It doesn’t matter whether the roads are funded through tolls or property taxes — local governments must have the authority to spend their transportation dollars on mass transit or other priorities as the taxpayers demand. Urban counties such as Durham should not be held back by the rural and Republican coalition in the General Assembly.
Second, we must expand tax credits to owners of homes in historic districts. Elderly and low-income people should not be forced out of their homes by urban developers and rising property taxes.
Third, we must provide an income tax deduction for renters similar to that enjoyed by homeowners. The current crisis in collateralized debt obligations must not be allowed to repeat itself.
2) Are there specific needs in your district that you would add to that list? How do you propose to address them?
The downtown Durham renaissance threatens to disenfranchise the minority and immigrant populations through gentrification. We need mass transit, affordable housing, and expanded protection of our historic districts.
3) What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the issues you’ve identified? Please be as specific as possible in relating past accomplishments to current goals.
My political experience as a “bleeding heart libertarian” in the first Bush administration gave me the opportunity to reach across party lines and find common ground on progressive issues. I am particularly proud of having helped gain support for Urban Enterprise Zones among traditional Democrats such as Congressman Robert Garcia of the South Bronx.
As a community organizer I have been a tireless advocate for animal rights and the protection of the poor. I mentor a group of young men who went from living in a homeless shelter to budding Boy Scouts. I have organized multiple animal rescue efforts following hurricanes or other natural disasters and have been among the first responders for Hurricanes Katrina, Gustav, and Ike.
In my professional career, I have spent ten years advising Wall Street firms on disaster recovery, business continuity planning, and enterprise software asset management. Having attended Duke, I was a natural choice for the first wave of senior managers relocated from New York to RTP.
4) How do you define yourself politically, and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
In conventional terms, I’m a Waffle House Democrat, a South Park Republican, or a bleeding-heart Libertarian. Party affilitation should not be an impediment to meeting the basic needs of the citizenry for equal protection under the law.
The purpose of government is to provide a level playing field so that all of us can enjoy the pursuit of happiness, unfettered by the abuse of power wielded by criminals, crooked politicians, dishonest businessmen, or the “town fathers” who proclaim to have our best interests at heart.
5) The Independent’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. Please point to a specific position in your platform that would, if achieved, help further that goal.
Stop the genocide of young black males by reforming our criminal justice system and making law enforcement focus on community policing, stopping assaults, and prevention of property crimes rather than consensual misdemeanors (minor drug possession, alcohol violations, and prostitution). We need more jobs, not more jails.
6) Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
My support of universal health care has made me unpopular within the Libertarian Party, but I believe we must make health care as widely available as public education. Most people will continue to enjoy health care coverage as it is provided now by their employers, but the state medicaid and medicare programs must provide preventive care and triage for all citizens. Elective procedures or lifestyle treatments (e.g., Viagra) would not be covered under a basic plan, which I estimate would cost only $50 per month for a 35-yr. old nonsmoker.
7) If these issues haven’t been addressed above, would you please comment on:
a. Poverty: What steps, if any, do you advocate to lift up the poor in North Carolina?
Renter’s tax deduction, means-tested property tax abatement, and the elimination of the 2% tax on groceries.
b. Transportation needs in the state, including roads and transit in the Triangle?
The best intentions of our liberal-minded legislative delegation have been wasted in traditional party warfare. While they debate boat trailers, the environment suffers and urban sprawl continues unchecked. The Triangle cannot afford to wait for mass transit!
c. Crowded prisons: Should we be moving toward more alternative-sentencing programs instead of prison time?
Yes. A great majority of our prisoners are detained for drug offenses, which require compassionate treatment rather than incarceration.
d. Health care: What should the state do next to address the problem of adults and children without adequate health care or insurance?
e. Foreclosures: What more should the state be doing to help consumers avoid foreclosure and hold onto their homes?
Halt property tax increases for the poor, the elderly, and owners of historic structures.
f. Energy: Do you support off-shore drilling in the state’s coastal waters? Other state initiatives to reduce gasoline and other energy costs?
Yes. We must stop prosecuting those who make or grow their own biodiesel, and we should encourage the development of more nuclear power plants.
g. The mental health crisis: Everyone agrees it’s a mess. Now what?
See above (universal healthcare).
h. Taxes: Given the needs, are they too high? Too low? Too regressive? What direction should the state be taking on the revenue side?
History has shown that higher revenue can best be achieved by lowering taxes. I would also adopt tax increment financing as an alternative to bond issues. Unlike the incumbent, I am opposed to the Prepared Meals Tax because of its regressive nature and would work to exempt meals under $20.
i. School vouchers: Should the state provide vouchers to parents who choose private (K-12) schools for their children? If so, for what amount?
Yes, for 50% of the amount spent per pupil in the public education system (currently $8,000 per year).
8) What is your position on capital punishment in North Carolina? If in favor, will you support a moratorium on executions while the question of whether the death penalty can be administered fairly is studied by the General Assembly?
I am opposed to capital punishment in all its forms and will support a moratorium on executions.
9) What is your position regarding LGBT rights? Please address whether gay marriages or civil unions should be made legal in North Carolina; also, whether sexual orientation and identity should be added as a protected class under state anti-discrimination laws, including state personnel laws.
I fully support the rights of gay persons to enter into marriage contracts with the full protections accorded them under NC law. Furthermore, I support plural marriage and the rights of any number of persons over the age of 17 to enter into consensual contracts for the purposes of maintaining a home, raising children, etc.
10) Do you support women’s reproductive rights, including the “right to choose” as set out by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade? Given that North Carolina has the ninth highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, do you support medically accurate sex education that includes information about birth control?
I support abortion on demand and sex education in the public schools, provided that parents have the option to refuse this instruction and educate their children on sexual matters in a manner consistent with their religious beliefs.
11) Should public employees have the right to bargain collectively in North Carolina?
Yes, with the exception of law enforcement and essential personnel.
12) One of the most controversial issues in this election year is illegal immigration. Recently, several N.C. countiesincluding Alamance, Johnston and Wakehave employed the 287(g) program, which streamlines local law enforcement and federal immigration enforcement. What is your assessment of the success, or failure, of these programs?
The 287(g) program is a failure and an unfunded mandate for state governments. Federal immigration laws should be enforced by by federal officers. State law enforcement should have no role in immigration matters (unless we want to start turning people away at Pedro’s South of the Border).
13) Despite the Department of Homeland Security’s finding that admitting Illegal Immigrants to college did not violate federal Immigration law, the N.C. System of Community Colleges ruled to maintain a moratorium on admitting Illegal Immigrants to degree-granting programs. How will you vote on legislative proposals to either ban, or permit, Illegal Immigrants attending college In North Carolina?
Illegal immigrants should be able to attend public colleges in NC at a higher tuition than NC citizens. Furthermore, illegal immigrants should be granted driver’s licenses under the same terms offered to NC citizens (age, proof of insurance). It’s simply a license to drive, not a license to vote or to reside in NC.