Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Joe Hackney

Party: Democratic

Date of Birth: September 23, 1945

Campaign Web Site:

Occupation & Employer: Attorney/Farmer/Legislator

Years lived in North Carolina: 65

1. What do you see as the most important issues facing NorthCarolina? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?

Job creation and economic recovery, with emphasis on small business and high tech and green jobs to lead our recovery.

Keeping our public schools, community colleges, and universities as strong and accessible as possible, to provide our workers the best chance to win jobs in the economic recovery.

Maintaining NC’s fiscal integrity. We balance our budget every year; we continue to have a AAA bond rating; and we are pursuing waste and fraud vigorously. We must continue and redouble these efforts.

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

UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Hospitals are always high priorities and must be kept strong for NC to succeed in the years ahead. I have always worked for them and will continue to do so.

I work hard on economic development in close cooperation with Chatham and Orange officials. The western part of Chatham has suffered most from the down economy, and is a high priority. Extension of broadband internet service in rural Chatham and Orange is important to a lot of folks and is something I have worked hard on and will continue to make a high priority.

Dropout prevention is a top priority of mine, and the dropout prevention grants sent to communities throughout NC by the program I started are providing much needed resources to fight dropouts.

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 have been elected Speaker twice, and I currently serve in that position. I have been rated the most effective House member (#1 out of 120) in the most recent peer ratings. As Speaker, I have led the House to protect education at all levels and other vital services as much as possible through the times when budgets had to be cut.

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

As Speaker, it is my job to pull together all House Democrats to enact a budget and programs which command majority support and which can pass the House. The House agenda has been a centrist one.

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.

There are several. Dropout prevention is an important part of economic justice. The Racial Justice Act seeks to end racial disparities in the application of the death penalty in NC. I support an aggressive legislative response to the revelations about SBI misconduct.

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.

I will continue to fight to rid the justice system of racial discrimination.

7. The current state budget was balanced with approximately equal amounts of spending cuts (primarily to human services and local school districts) and tax increases. Another very tough budget battle looms ahead next year. Will you support: (a) deeper spending cuts? (b) greater tax increases? (c) another mix of the two? Please tell us what you’d cut and which taxes should be raised, if any.

It is simply too early to know what the revenues or the economy will be like next July 1. Revenues are growing again. We will go through the Governor’s recommended budget line by line, consider the views of the departments and all interested parties, hold public hearings, and put together a balanced budget which protects education and other vital services as much as possible. Our process for the last two budgets was widely applauded.

8. North Carolina is sending record numbers of people to prison, and when they’re released, they’re often lost and get in trouble again. The Governor’s StreetSafe initiative is aimed at breaking this vicious cycle and reducing the recidivism rate. As a legislator, what would you propose that she and the General Assembly do to help?

We have a great new effort on this under way, called Justice Reinvestment, meaning that there should be more investment in avoiding recidivism and less in prison building.

9. Health care: What should the state do next to address the problem of adults and children without adequate health care or insurance? What do you propose to do to address the mental health crisis?

At this point, after passage of health care legislation at the federal level, we must plan carefully for implementation. We continue to work on refining mental health reformmore crisis beds, getting the level of funding right for services delivered in the community, and negotiating with the federal government on Medicaid issues.

10. 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 think capital punishment in NC has been shown to have so many problems and so much cost associated with it that the time has come to halt executions.

11. 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 believe in equality and dignity for all citizens.

I have supported and will continue to support sexual orientation as a protected class. I supported the bullying bill, protecting students from bullying based on sexual orientation.

12. 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?

Yes. Yes.

13. Should public employees have the right to bargain collectively in North Carolina?

I support repeal of the statute prohibiting our local governments from bargaining.

14. The latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that 11.2 percent of North Carolina’s workforce is unemployed. Please state specifically what the state should and can do to create new jobs, describe the kinds of jobs the state should support and what your role will be in creating them.

Actually our unemployment rate is inching down, especially in the Triangle. We should support the Governor’s aggressive job recruiting efforts, utilize targeted tax credits for green and high tech and small business expansion, and take advantage of federal resources. In the end, reducing dropouts and providing a great educational opportunity and experience for each person is the best way to reduce unemployment in NC.