Name as it appears on the ballot: Gale Adcock
Campaign website: GaleAdcock.com
Phone number: 919-270-6155
Years lived in the district: 25
1. What do you think are the three biggest issues facing our state? If you are an incumbent, what have you done to address those issues, and what more would you do if given another term? If you are a challenger, what would you do differently to address those issues than the incumbent has done?
- Public education. I have voted against increasing opportunity scholarship funding by millions while at the same time not increasing per pupil spending, not raising teacher and principal pay equitably, and removing funding for TAs. If re-elected I support establishing a long range plan to raise teacher pay to at least the national average.
- Health care. Specifically access to health insurance and access to health care providers. I co-sponsored HB 662, Carolina Cares, to expand Medicaid coverage to 250,000+ uninsured North Carolinians (the bill was never heard in committee). If re-elected I support expanding Medicaid to cover 500,000 North Carolinians without health insurance. I was a sponsor of HB 88 to eliminate obsolete regulation and increase access to care across the state provided by nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists and clinical nurse specialists.
- Behavioral health & substance abuse treatment. I voted for the 2017 STOP Act and the 2018 HOPE Act, both focused on addressing the opioid crisis. However, there is a lack of treatment coverage, treatment facilities and mental health professionals to meet the needs of opioid users as well as individuals with mental health issues and other types of substance abuse. Medicaid expansion will improve this situation but cannot be the only solution. If re-elected I will continue to push for all health care providers to practice to the ‘top of their license’ and to sponsor and support telehealth legislation, especially in behavioral health, radiology and dentistry.
2. It seems hardly a day goes by without news of another mass shooting. On the state level, what changes to gun laws, if any, do you support? If you do not support any changes, please explain why you think the current laws are successful.
Bump stocks should be banned; a ‘red flag’ law should be passed; automatic weapons should not be sold to the general public; and current laws requiring background checks for handguns and concealed carry permits should not be weakened in any way.
3. In recent years, Duke Energy’s coal ash spilled into the Dan River and Chemours’s GenX leaked into the Cape Fear River. Do you think these companies have been held sufficiently accountable? Do you believe the state has put in place sufficient regulations to prevent these problems from occurring again? If not, what more do you propose doing?
The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) must have adequate financial, personnel and operational resources for ongoing water quality monitoring, quick detection of contamination and swift discipline of polluters. Polluters should pay for clean-up and remediation. The state should have clear and unambiguous environmental protection laws and regulations.
4. In the wake of Hurricane Florence, at least six hog-farm lagoons were damaged and more than fifty saw discharges or were inundated with floodwaters as of this writing, according to the DEQ. More than five thousand hogs have died, and right now it’s unclear what the ultimate long-term environmental impacts will be. Since Hurricane Floyd, environmentalists have warned that, in a severe flooding event, the farms’ “anachronistic” waste-disposal techniques could pose a threat to the state’s waterways and public health, while the industry has insisted that its farms utilize best practices and are already heavily regulated. Do you believe these farms, and their lagoons, pose a risk to the environment? If so, do you believe the state has done enough to minimize that risk?
Best practices for hog waste disposal are clearly not in use and are vigorously resisted by the industry. Hurricane Florence is an evolving example of the public health dangers of continuing to allow antiquated hog farm operations. The state must take a proactive stance in this area.
5. This year, Smithfield Foods—the world’s largest pork producer—has lost three verdicts in North Carolina totaling millions of dollars, after juries found that its farms’ methods of waste disposal infringed on the property rights of their neighbors. But in the last two years, the General Assembly has taken steps to make it more difficult for these neighbors to sue or to recover substantial damages, citing the threats these lawsuits pose to the well-being of family farmers. Do you believe the legislature’s actions with regard to these nuisance lawsuits are prudent? Why or why not?
The legislature passed bills to protect pork producer conglomerates to the detriment of the health, safety and quality of life of some the state’s most vulnerable citizens. I voted against all of these bills.
6. It has been estimated that special sessions of the North Carolina legislature cost about $50,000 per day. Since 2016, the General Assembly has called seven of them to deal with everything from passing HB 2—the so-called bathroom bill—to passing restrictions on the governor’s powers after Roy Cooper defeated Pat McCrory to, most recently, clean up controversial constitutional amendment language so that it complied with a court order. Under what circumstances do you think it’s appropriate to hold a special session?
Special sessions are appropriately held for current/evolving crises or potentially emergent issues that cannot reasonably wait for deliberation during the next regular legislative session.
7. What are your thoughts on the six proposed constitutional amendments before voters this November? Please explain which you support and which you don’t support and why. What do you think about the process behind these amendments—what critics have described as a limited public debate, for example, as well as the elimination of amendment numbers and ballot summaries, and the lack of so-called implementing legislation, which could be passed in another special session after the November vote?
None of the proposed constitutional amendments are needed. Two would irrevocably disrupt the balance of power between the legislative, executive and judicial branches and be harmful to our system of government. The amendments were marginally debated and will appear on the ballot minimally described. Just as legislators would not pass a blank bill “with details to be added later”, voters should not vote for amendments with critical details intentionally omitted.
8. In May, thousands of teachers from all over the state marched on the legislature to demand better pay, more resources for students, and more respect. Do you think North Carolina’s schools are being adequately funded? If not, what taxes would you be willing to raise—or what services would you be willing to cut—to fund them better?
Although total public school funding has increased over several years, per pupil spending has fallen. Teacher salaries have not kept pace with national trends and with surrounding states and we lose teachers to these higher paying competitors. Low wealth counties cannot afford teacher pay supplements and cannot recruit and retain teachers as easily as higher wealth counties. The loss of supplemental teacher pay for national certification and for earning a Master’s degree is illogical and demotivating. A critical look at state expenditures for pork barrel spending, state agency redundancy and funds siphoned from public education (aka opportunity scholarships) should be taken before considering changing the income tax rate or increasing fees. Any increase in the personal income tax rate should not fall disproportionately on middle and lower income individuals and families.
9. Currently, twenty-nine states have minimum wages above the federal minimum. North Carolina is not among them. Do you believe North Carolina should raise its minimum wage?
10. Under current law, toward the end of 2020, municipalities will gain the authority to pass nondiscrimination and living wage ordinances—unless the General Assembly intervenes. Since the winner of your race will be in office at that time, do you believe local governments in North Carolina should be allowed to make these decisions for themselves?
11. Over the last couple of years in Wake County, county commissioners and school board members have battled over local school funding. Recently, some commissioners have made moves to petition the legislature to allow for a pilot program in which the Board of Commissioners turns over school-taxing authority to the Board of Education, as is the arrangement in most states. In general, do you believe the state’s elected school boards should have the responsibility to raise taxes for the schools they oversee? Why or why not?
In general adding taxing authority to the role of a school board will require thoughtful, thorough and lengthy debate, including potential positives and negatives, and taking into account the experiences of other states with similar demographics. As a legislator I would want to hear this data as well as opinions of school board members, county commissioners, parents, students and local government leaders. The FY 2018-19 state budget included a provision giving local governments authority to raise property taxes to fund schools (if they choose to do so). At this point it is unknown how this new municipal authority would intersect, complicate, add to or detract from a school board’s taxing authority, if granted.
12. Since Governor Cooper’s election, the legislature has taken a number of steps to assume powers that were previously the executive’s domain, including overhauling the State Board of Elections. Do you believe these decisions were merely power grabs, as Democrats have alleged, or that they were made in the interests of public policy?
A plausible public policy case has never been made for this or any legislative action that has stripped power from the Executive branch.
13. Over the last year, the state has frequently found itself in court over its legislative and congressional districts, which courts have ruled to be unconstitutional racial and partisan gerrymanders. Given this, do you believe the state legislature of that last several years has acted as a legitimate body? If not, what do you propose as a solution? If yes, please tell us why.
The best way to resolve this conundrum and thwart future gerrymandering by either party is to establish an independent redistricting commission before the 2020 census.
14. Give an example of a time, during your political career, when you have changed your position as a result of a discussion with someone who held an opposing view.
In my first term (2015-16) I voted yes on a bill described by proponents as protecting employers from individuals posing as employees in order to steal trade secrets and/or intellectual property. Animal rights advocates from my district met with me (after the House vote) to educate me on the whistleblower protections the bill stripped from individuals trying to document inhumane slaughtering practices. The bill passed the Senate, but was vetoed by Governor McCrory. Because of the advocacy efforts of this group of dedicated citizens I was better educated on the nuances of the bill and voted to uphold the Governor’s veto.
15. Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some points with voters.
Removing all current state statutory restrictions on a woman’s right to choose.