Name as it appears on the ballot: Julie von Haefen

Campaign website:

Phone number: (919) 924-4030


Years lived in the district: 13

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?

One of the largest issues facing North Carolina is the hyper-partisanship derived from the Republican Super Majority in the General Assembly. From here stems the problems of low teacher pay and per-pupil spending; the expensive cost of healthcare; and the attacks on our environment. I will work with Governor Cooper and all members of the Legislature, regardless of their political party, to develop long-term solutions for our public education system and stand up to the corporate special interests that only operate to benefit the few, while keeping too many North Carolinians from getting ahead.

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.

Our children deserve the reasonable expectation of not being gunned down in their schools. At the same time, citizens deserve that same right in their workplace, at shopping malls, and in movie theaters. I support sensible reforms around firearms, like background checks and eliminating gun-show loopholes. There is a way for us to balance our safety and the safety our children with the rights provided in our Constitution.

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?

I do not. My opponent has accepted tens of thousands of dollars from Duke Energy’s PAC, then he voted to allow them to pass the cost of cleaning up their coal ash mess on to rate payers. When I’m elected, I’ll stand up to corporate polluters and make sure they pay to clean up their own mess, not us.

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?

Any sort of contaminants that seep into our soil and our watersheds pose a serious health risk to North Carolinians and their families. As a long-time member of the Sierra Club and endorsed candidate of theirs and the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, I will trust research conducted by scientists and use that information to cast a vote that will protect our families and our environment.

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?

As an attorney, I represented clients who were injured or incurred property damage due to the actions of their employer and/or corporate entities. I know how important it is to maintain and protect the right of any potential plaintiff to have their day in court. I believe that property owners should have the ability to receive compensation for damages incurred as a direct result of their rights being violated, and I don’t agree with the steps taken by the General Assembly to curtail this ability.

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 should be reserved for pressing issues of the state, and only when all other reasonable options have been exhausted. One example would be Governor Cooper’s call for a Special Session to address the current hurricane recovery. Furthermore, the purpose of Special Sessions should be narrowly tailored to address the call for that 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?

I do not agree with the process or the vague and misleading language placed on the ballot to describe the amendments. Some of the proposed amendments were placed on the ballot solely to help increase Republican turnout. Others are on the ballot as an amendment, where they would be more appropriate as legislation. Voters will have to decide for themselves on how they wish to vote, but when every living Governor, Republican and Democrat, opposes some of these amendments, it is worth extra consideration.

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?

As the immediate past President of the Wake County PTA Council, North Carolina PTA Board of Directors member and a North Carolina Association of Educators endorsed candidate, I stand with our educators. I absolutely do not think that our schools are being adequately funded. I’ve seen the effects firsthand on our teachers and students in my work over the last decade with the PTA and as a public school advocate. To address the issue of teacher pay, I propose following the plan Governor Cooper outlined in his budget, which would work to increase teacher pay to at least the national average. We need long-term solutions to increase teacher pay and per-pupil spending and those are issues I will champion as a legislator.

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?

North Carolina took great strides by increasing state employee pay to a minimum of $15 per hour. Now is the time to study an increase in the minimum wage for all North Carolinians.

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?

Local governments should be allowed to make decisions that affect their localities and improve the lives of their citizens. Discrimination is never okay and workers should be paid a livable wage.

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?

The County Commission should retain the sole ability to increase or decrease county taxes.

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?

I believe that these decisions have not enhanced the quality of life for North Carolinians and instead, cost the state time and money defending these power grabs in the courts.

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 actions of the General Assembly regarding gerrymandering have been unlawful and illegitimate. The only acceptable solution to redistricting is a non-partisan and independent redistricting commission.

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.

As a first time candidate, I don’t have a “political career,” but in my experience as a PTA leader and public school advocate, I often work with parents, families and school staff to resolve conflict and work on solutions to issues affecting our children. Parents come from all backgrounds and experiences, and I have worked to build bridges in our communities, finding common ground on issues that will benefit the greater good of our schools. As a leader, I work with my board and other volunteers to come up with solutions, in spite of our divergent views.

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.

At the end of the day, every decision I make will be with the best interests of my constituents in mind. I will never waiver when it comes to our public schools, the environment, or equality in North Carolina.