Name as it appears on the ballot: Sam Hart Brewer
Party: Democrat
Date of Birth: December 25, 1980
Candidate web site:
Occupation & Employer: Teacher, Wake County Public School System; Owner, Brewer Fuel Solutions LLC, an alternative fuel small business operating in the Triangle area
Years lived in North Carolina: over 27

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 making sure that people’s life’s work does not disappear because of a weak economy. My top priorities for making us more economically secure are: 1) To provide better healthcare for lower cost, 2) To deliver education that is effective for more people, and 3) To expand public financing to all elections for state government office.

2. 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.

As the owner of a new and growing small business I can appreciate the economic impact of paying for the booming cost of healthcare. I will use my experience as a simultaneous employer and employee to address the issue practically and fairly.

I also know from experience what obstacles our teachers and our students across grade levels face on a daily basis in today’s classrooms. It will be Invaluable to have an active teacher as an elected member of the legislative process.

Finally, as a candidate for School Board in 2003 and now for the State House, I have experienced how fundraising restricts who can afford to be a public servant. I have chosen to run my campaign based on the model of public financing. As part of my plan to become the Representative of District 40, I will limit the overall spending of the campaign as well as the maximum amount I will accept from donors in order to incite interest and participation by a wider swath of the public in the campaign process.

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

I define myself as a critical thinker. This means that there will be things to agree and disagree on with a person of any political stripe. Similarly, I will always be able to find common ground with that person on which we, together, can build a practical response. I believe that other labels will give voters an unsatisfactory description of my positions.

4. 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.

I believe that the public financing of all elections for state government offices would help to build a stronger democracy, which will lead to a just community. Public financing will make it possible to hear more of the voices in our community that are currently being muted by the noise of money rushing into our elections.

5. 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 would favor ending discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity by the state government.

6. 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?

I advocate continuing to increase the minimum wage to a living wage level, and increasing the affordability of higher education

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

The state should support public transportation planning and financing, including the TTA proposal

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

Yes, especially for adolescent and non-violent adult offenders. This is an area in which the state can realize significant savings by investing in these types of programs to reduce recidivism and prison populations.

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

The next step that is likely to be possible without publicly financed candidates is a high-risk pool, which I would support.

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

I don’t know what is feasible or effective for the state government to do on this issue. I would be willing to consider a wide range of actions that may fall within the purview of the state legislature.

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

Don’t close existing facilities, such as Dorothea Dix Hospital, when our demand for services is growing. We should also adjust reimbursement rates so that those services that are clinically proven to be beneficial but may be costly to deliver are financially feasible and methods that are convenient but not proven are not incentivized. However, many of the most effective and needed mental healthcare services cannot be delivered by a sector based solely on the profit model for the simple reason that they are often not profitable. The state must be prepared to continue to support these services for this vulnerable population.

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

Taxes in North Carolina are regressive. The first steps in tax system modernization should be to eliminate the many exemptions to our existing tax structure. These exemptions put too many industries at an unfair tax disadvantage. There are hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue that can be generated by these common sense steps before we need to consider any tax increases.

7. 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 do not believe that capital punishment is effective. I would support a moratorium while the question of fairness is probed.

8. 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.

Sexual orientation and identity should be added as a protected class under state anti-discrimination laws, including state personnel laws. And see answer to question #5.

9. 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 believe women have the right to protect their health through medically sound decisions reached with their doctor. I support medically accurate sex education and I also support greater access and affordability for birth control in order to decrease the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

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