Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Vernon Malone

Party: Democrat

Date of Birth: 12/20/1930

Campaign Web Site:

Occupation & Employer: Retired

Years lived in North Carolina: lifetime

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?

Education: I believe that the provision of access to high quality education is not only our duty to our children, but is also a vital component of a strong economy in our State.

Healthcare: The need to improve our health care system and make sure all our citizens have access to affordable health care. It is vitally important that we focus on reforming our mental health system ensure that mental health is covered by health insurance the same way physical health is.

Economy: I believe that the success of small businesses coupled with the attraction of new employers to our area is vital to ensuring the economic security of all of our families. An educated and trained workforce will also prove to be an important aspect of strengthening our economy in North Carolina.

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.

Education: As a legislator I have supported efforts to attract and retain the very best educators throughout our education system by providing a 5 percent salary increase for teachers as well as community college and University faculty. I am committed to work for smaller class sizes so that all of our children get the attention they need.

Healthcare: In 2007, I supported measures to provide health coverage for uninsured children and to allocate funding necessary to expand the number of eligible children of working families. I also supported our seniors by voting to help them gain access to more affordable prescription drugs.

Economy: Last year I supported a cap on the gas tax in our state to help consumers cope with rising fuel prices. I have and will continue to support economic-growth initiatives to help attract new jobs and employers. In the future it would be wise for the state to make an investment in increased job training programs.

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

I am a member and representative of the Democratic Party. I believe that by protecting and lifting up those most vulnerable among us, we lift up our entire society. This is reflected in my belief that access to affordable and excellent education and healthcare is something all in our society should be able to enjoy irrespective of personal monetary wealth.

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.

Improvements in education – including increased access to quality education – are the bedrock upon which a “just community” is built. I will continue my efforts to reduce class sizes, hire and retain highly qualified instructors, and help deserving low and moderate income students attend college and graduate without the burden of debt that many find prohibitive.

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 support a woman’s right to choose.

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?

A new report from the N.C. Budget & Tax Center says the average family of four in North Carolina needs $42,841 a year to meet basic needs. The report goes on to say that the average family of the same size in Wake County would need more than $50,000 annually to meet the same needs. We must be proactive in efforts to attract new and high paying jobs to our area, as well as make worker training programs more available.

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

If revenues are allocated to roads they must be used to that end in the most efficient and expedient manor possible. I would be interested in a study aimed at finding new efficiencies in our DOT.

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

I reserve judgment until such time as I can study the outcome of alternative sentencing for non-violent offenders in other areas, but agree that we must address the rate at which we are incarcerating our own population.

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

It is imperative that we protect the most vulnerable among us, our children and our seniors. I am proud of the work I have done to expand coverage for children and to make prescription drugs more affordable for our seniors. We must continue efforts to make sure families can afford the care they need.

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

On a state level we should seek to make information available to homeowners in jeopardy of losing their homes. I would like to facilitate lenders and consumers sitting down together in a forum to help make all available options clear to the borrower.

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

During the 2007 session I supported efforts to require that group health insurance providers cover many mental illnesses at the same level they cover physical disease.

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

Currently the Legislature is studying the State Tax Structure in North Carolina. The Tax Modernization Study Commission has found that the current tax system is out of date and needs fixing. The commission will be making recommendations and I look forward to analyzing those as the first step to funding the needs in North Carolina.

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 support a moratorium on executions until such time as we can determine that the death penalty is able to be administered fairly.

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.

I believe government can be a force for good in our state. When our government begins to reach into people’s personal lives it has begun to overextend its usefulness. Law abiding citizens should be able to live in any manner they choose.

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 support a woman’s right to choose.

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

It is currently unconstitutional in this state, but is a question I am willing to consider.