Fiscal Responsibility and Cutting Wasteful Spending
As a State Representative it is my duty to be a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars, therefore I believe we need to rein in wasteful spending in Raleigh. In the last session of the State Legislature I worked hard to eliminate a $10 million annual subsidy to UNC system athletic booster clubs. I was also a leader in the charge to stop the building of an unnecessary $3 billion megaport near Southport despite the objections of the leaders of my party.
I believe that our children cannot compete in an increasingly globalized world without a good educational foundation. This is why I worked with the rest of the General Assembly to protect teacher jobs in Guilford County. Our efforts in the General Assembly helped Guilford County to keep every single teacher position in Guilford County funded, and prevented the loss of even a single teaching job in the county.
I have also been a leader in the fight to raise teacher pay in North Carolina to the national average. Even in these tough budgetary times our state needs to be competitive in terms of pay, so as to attract the best teachers for our children.
Economy and Green Jobs:
The economy is the number one concern in North Carolina right now. We need to do everything we can in order to help the people of Guilford County get back into well paying jobs. I believe that one of the best ways we can do that is to increase the number of green jobs in our state. Jobs in industries that modernize our homes and businesses and make them more energy efficient can lead to steady jobs for the citizens of Guilford County for years to come.
It is because of these needs that I have worked hard to make North Carolina a leader in green and sustainable jobs. My work the General Assembly has led to the creation of over 200 new jobs in Guilford County, and 10,000 new jobs across the state. Building a greener economy here in North Carolina not only ensures a bright future for our children, but can create well paying jobs that cannot be outsourced.
Working for the Citizens of Guilford County:
I worked to re-instate the protest petition in Greensboro, which gives the people a greater say in zoning issues affecting their communities. I also sponsored the bill that led to Susie's Law which makes animal abuse a felony in North Carolina.
The Death Penalty:
The application of the death penalty is one of the gravest responsibilities that the state has. Recent revelations about corruption within the SBI's crime lab have brought the innocence or guilt of many of those on death row into question. These revelations, coupled with the fact that the sentences of 4 innocent men have been overturned in the last 5 years make the need to re-examine North Carolina's use of the death penalty an imperative. Studies have shown that African American defendants are significantly more likely to be sentenced to death under our current system than white defendants. This is a grave situation and a serious miscarriage of justice. It is for these reasons that I co-sponsored the Racial Justice Act. The Racial Justice Act is a stride forward in making sure that race is not a factor when juries hand down the ultimate penalty.
Energy and the Environment:
North Carolina has become a regional and national leader in pursuing a more sustainable energy landscape and was just ranked 8th in the US for energy related economic opportunities by the Center for American Progress as a result of recent policy initiatives. These policies include being the only state in the Southeast to adopt a renewable energy portfolio standard (REPS), requiring state government buildings be energy and water efficient, expanding performance contracting so that utilities savings can be used to finance energy efficiency retrofits (energy efficiency is the cheapest and most available fuel), allowing the UNC System to retain energy savings, expanding tax credits for renewable energy devices, and establishing the Biofuels Center. There is more to be done, including clarifying our REPS; establishing a wind permitting structure to encourage the development of offshore wind; decoupling our utility rate structure to remove the disincentive to promote conservation; adopting a separate energy efficiency standard; adopting a greener building code for all construction; adopting friendlier net metering policies and removing other regulatory obstacles to alternative energy devices; and other options which the Energy Policy Council is currently studying. These policies create jobs and economic opportunities in our local communities as well as cost savings to the consumer and the taxpayer in addition to improving our environment through cleaner energy sources.