Foushee and Glendinning talk goals, priorities if elected | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools

Editor’s note: The News + Record sent questionnaires to both of the N.C. Senate Dist. 23 candidates on this year’s ballot. The biographical facts and civic involvement sections were compiled from each response, but the responses to the questionnaires were included in their entirety and only minorly edited for spelling and grammar. Any question not included for a specific candidate reflects their choice to leave the question unanswered.

This year, Democratic incumbent Sen. Valerie Foushee and her Republican challenger, Thomas Glendinning, are on the ballot for North Carolina’s Senate Dist. 23 seat, which covers Chatham and Orange counties. Here, Foushee, who grew up in segregated Chapel Hill, and Glendinning, who has lived in Chatham since attending UNC-Chapel Hill, discuss their priorities if elected to state senate.

VALERIE FOUSHEE

Why are you seeking this office?

I have served in the General Assembly for nearly eight years in an effort to promote policies that better the lives of North Carolinians in general and citizens of District 23 in particular. I believe that service is the rent we pay for our space in this world. It is an opportunity to give back to those who have given so much to me and have influenced my values. I believe in providing a sound, basic education for all of our students; that we protect our natural resources; that all deserve access to affordable health care; and that the economy should work for everyone.

What is your understanding of the responsibilities of a state legislator, and why do you believe you’re qualified to fill that role?

Legislators are responsible for creating and revising laws and regulations (including the tax code) that provide for the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the state. They collaboratively pass a budget that defines the state’s priorities and service goals. Legislators represent the values of the people of the district whom they serve not contrary to the greater good for all. I believe that my 23 years of public service at the state and local levels of government qualifies me to serve in this role.

What’s working best, and what’s not working, in N.C. government?

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, members of the General Assembly have worked collaboratively to appropriate and allocate federal and state resources to mitigate the negative impacts on our economy, our educational and our health care systems. However, strong partisan politics have obstructed our ability to pass a budget, resulting in uncertainty for state agencies and inadequate responses to service requests from our citizens.

What are the most significant challenges facing the state in the coming year, and how you’d plan to address them?

The most significant challenges have to do with dealing with the devastating effects of COVID-19 on our economy, our educational and health care systems. The General Assembly will need to approve a budget that provides for funding to assist small businesses and local governments as they work to recover from closures and decreased sales tax revenues. Lack of educational funding to raise salaries for teachers, non-certified staff, university and community college employees, along with infrastructure and other school facility needs must be addressed.

Give us two goals that are specific, measurable and attainable you would have if elected:

1: Expanding Medicaid to provide access to healthcare for approximately 500,000 citizens

2: Passing a constitutional amendment to provide for establishing an independent redistricting commission to determine legislative and congressional districts

Look ahead two years from now…what would you like to see the General Assembly to have accomplished in that time?

It is my desire that the next General Assembly will expand Medicaid to provide access to affordable health care for more that 500,000 North Carolinians and more than 40,000 jobs. I also hope that the General Assembly is successful in passing legislation to amend the constitution to allow for the establishment of a non-partisan independent commission to draw new legislative and congressional voting districts.

If you are not elected, what steps will you take to serve Chatham County?

Although, I do not reside in Chatham County, I support several Chatham County agencies and organizations. I will continue to support many of these agencies with in-person service and financial support.

How do you think Gov. Cooper and the state have handled the coronavirus pandemic?

Gov. Cooper has shown strong leadership in guiding us through the pandemic. He has been steady and consistent in using the expertise of Secretary of Human Services, Dr. Mandy Cohen, to enact executive orders to ensure that our health care system is not overwhelmed by the spread of the virus. His measured, phased approach for re-opening our businesses and his deployment of available resources will help to ameliorate many of the negative impacts to our economy and hopefully allow us to re-open our schools. The General Assembly worked collaboratively in short order to appropriate relief funding to provide assistance for families and businesses struggling to meet unprecedented, unpredictable challenges.

What are your thoughts on this summer’s racial injustice protests and calls for action/reform?

Unfortunately, the continued acts of police brutality against African Americans have highlighted racial injustice in our country and have sparked widespread protests across the nation. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and so many others, underscore the need for reforms in policing that include accountability, transparency, better training for law enforcement officers and the elimination of unnecessary police actions. Additionally, doctrines of qualified immunity, duty to intervene and use of force must be revisited and reformed.

What question do you want to be asked?

“What other important issue do you want the legislature to consider in the next legislative session?”

The General Assembly must enact legislation that will assist in expanding access to broadband across the state. In 2019, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) voted to make expanding broadband access the number one legislative priority for North Carolina’s counties. This can be accomplished by establishing beneficial public-private partnerships using county assets. Last year, without warning, and certainly without adequate preparation, every k-12 public school student became a virtual learner – many without access to high-speed internet. Many students who live in rural areas or other under-served communities cannot join their classes from home using one of the video web-based platforms. We must acknowledge that access to high-speed internet is not a luxury; it is a utility.

THOMAS GLENDINNING

Now that you’re seeking office … in 100 words or fewer.

Now that I am seeking office, I have had the privilege of meeting people all over Orange and Chatham counties. The good, hard working, faithful, and patriotic citizens who have built this state and care about its future.

Why are you seeking this office?

I am seeking office on a twofold mission:

1. I want to continue the fine work of the Republican legislature over the past ten years.

2. I want to represent the business owners, workers, planners, industries, families, and God fearing people of the state.

3. 50 years of business experience, 10 years of serving on government boards, 20 years serving on non-profit boards grants me a broad, inclusive view.

4. 50 years in service of our country, local government, as an employer qualifies me.

Give me the chance to serve you. You will not be disappointed.

What is your understanding of the responsibilities of a state legislator, and why do you believe you’re qualified to fill that role?

I have been closely involved with legislative boards (water quality, recycling), local boards (planning, tax, and adjustment), service projects, and ministries for decades. I want to represent Chatham County again, as well as Orange County, home of UNC-Chapel Hill.

The 1984 Water Quality Act and the 1993 Recycling Act were guided by groups over which I presided or chaired. I wrote parts of those bills. I have also kept in touch with legislators over the years on several issues. I am no stranger to the halls in Raleigh.

What’s working best, and what’s not working, in N.C. government?

What is working best is legislation helping the middle class working family, jobs, business, industry. What needs attention are careful consideration of laws, rules, regulations effecting seniors, law enforcement, legal representation, and, generally, dispensing justice equally.

What are the most significant challenges facing the state in the coming year, and how you’d plan to address them?

1) Crafting a recovery strategy from the effects of Corona virus state government policies;

2) Maintain low individual and corporate tax rates;

3) Remove confusing, unclear, or contradictory language from existing laws, rules, regulations;

4) Review, in detail, any wording in laws, rules, regs effecting seniors negatively; 5) Making sure that law enforcement officers, officers of the courts, and state and local officials have the necessary ability to use judgment and common sense in applying judgment & justice.

Give us two goals that are specific, measurable and attainable you would have if elected:

1: Change wording in the land use law effecting property tax for seniors and farmers

2: Making sure that local laws may be flexible enough to apply to similar applications elsewhere in the state.

Look ahead two years from now … what would you like to see the General Assembly to have accomplished in that time?

I want to see the general assembly again respected for honoring the wishes of North Carolinians across the state, for reflecting the values of all North Carolinians, and for creating a welcoming environment for employers, large and small.

If you are not elected, what steps will you take to serve Chatham County?

I will continue to serve Chatham and Orange counties by making myself available for service and offering the benefit of my broad and long experience in business, government, and environment.

How do you think Gov. Cooper and the state have handled the coronavirus pandemic?

We need a new governor who will respect the citizens of North Carolina in ALL regards.

What are your thoughts on this summer’s racial injustice protests and calls for action/reform?

I would ask the question, if they were not getting paid to protest, disrupt, destroy, maim and kill, would they still be doing those things?




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