Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Ed Ridpath

Party: Democrat

Date of Birth: Jan 26, 1960

Campaign Web Site:

Occupation & Employer: Senior IT Architect – IBM

Years lived in North Carolina: 9

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?

Economy and Jobs – Continue to promote the mix of incentives that brings jobs to North Carolina. This includes our great quality of community life, our education system, our business infrastructure, and competitive direct incentives where taxpayers get real return.

Education – Promote the idea of preparing for a career starting in middle school by providing multiple paths through CTE, smooth transitions into community college and universities, and working with employers to prepare the skilled work force they need to keep jobs here.

Transportation/Transit – we must build new roads, maintain the current roads and bridges, and at the same time, start implementing regional transit solutions, starting with quality bus service, and followed with dedicated transit such as light rail, where appropriate.

2) Are there specific needs in your district that you would add to that list? How do you propose to address them?

School Construction – we need more schools and preferably smaller schools that are closer to the community they serve. North Carolina needs to untie the hands of counties and provide them additional revenue options like impact fees to pay for building schools.

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.

I spent 8 years in the US Navy, 10 years in government contracting, and 10 years with IBM – I know how to get things done in large groups by bringing various interests together and finding common ground solutions.

4) How do you define yourself politically, and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?

Moderate and “Main Street” – I think people want their government to provide valuable services, and to do so efficiently and effectively as stewards of our tax dollars. I also know that people do not want intrusive government infringing on our freedom and basic rights.

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.

A quality education for everyone is critical to providing opportunity, and we must address all the roadblocks to success our children face.

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.

There are still a few voters who think certain groups should be discriminated against and treated differently. I will not back down on social justice issues of equal protection under the law for everyone.

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?

  • Educational opportunity that leads to a good job
  • More support for affordable housing

b) Transportation needs in the state, including roads and transit in the Triangle?

  • Push for implementation of the STAC plan
  • Congestion factors in allocation of transportation funds
  • Promote walkable communities — sidewalks, greenways, and bike paths.

c) Crowded prisons: Should we be moving toward more alternative-sentencing programs instead of prison time?

  • We need to do more to prevent crime before it happens by addressing root causes of poverty, mental health, and drug addiction.

d) Health care: What should the state do next to address the problem of adults and children without adequate health care or insurance?

  • Continue to expand eligibility to include parents.

e) Foreclosures: What more should the state be doing to help consumers avoid foreclosure and hold onto their homes?

  • Require good-faith negotiation of loan terms to prevent foreclosures
  • Require better disclosure of terms at signing.

f) Energy: Do you support off-shore drilling in the state’s coastal waters? Other state initiatives to reduce gasoline and other energy costs?

  • If part of a package of energy initiatives and with environmental protections for our coast, yes.
  • Requiring greater fuel efficiency in the state fleet.

g) The mental health crisis: Everyone agrees it’s a mess. Now what?

  • Oversight — lines of authority and responsibility must be clear, and we must hold people accountable for results and failures.

h) Taxes: Given the needs, are they too high? Too low? Too regressive? What direction should the state be taking on the revenue side?

i) School vouchers: Should the state provide vouchers to parents who choose private (K-12) schools for their children? If so, for what amount?

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?

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.

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?

11) Should public employees have the right to bargain collectively in North Carolina?

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?

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?