Jobs and the Economy
North Carolina and our district continue to experience economic challenges and a difficult job market. That is why spurring economic growth and getting our people back to work remains my primary focus and top legislative priority. Despite persistent economic weakness, Republican lawmakers pushed through a series of bills this year that are detrimental to our economy and undermine the best interests of our region. For example, the GOP legislature changed how state money is allocated for DOT road and bridge projects. This means that our district will receive millions less for desperately needed infrastructure projects. By blocking the Medicaid expansion, the General Assembly will put our rural public hospitals in a dangerous financial pinch and at risk of having to shut their doors. They also slashed funding for our public schools and community colleges. The ultimate result of these drastic measures will further handicap our struggling economy and destroy jobs. I will fight to repeal this misguided legislation and restore the necessary funding to support critically needed public services and infrastructure in our district.
I will also promote legislation that will stimulate small business development and economic growth. Small businesses have always formed the foundation of our economy and have served as the primary source of new jobs. Since small businesses are the key to economic recovery and reviving the job market, we must maintain an environment in which small businesses can grow and thrive. We can accomplish this by:
- Providing incentives that reward small businesses for hiring new workers.
- Providing support to small businesses that will help offset escalating health care costs.
- Developing our labor force through workforce training programs at our community colleges and technical schools.
- Promoting and helping to create a clean energy sector which will lead to high paying jobs and reduce our reliance on foreign energy supplies.
- Removing unnecessary and excessive government regulations that hinder responsible business development and economic growth.
Protection of Natural Resources
Senate District 1 is comprised of 8 counties with some of the most scenic and captivating landscapes found in all of North Carolina. Our district has it all – expansive farms, spectacular river systems, historic waterfronts, extraordinary beaches and beautiful sounds. This wealth of natural resources has served as a significant economic driver for our district. Protection of these natural resources is one of the keys to maintaining our quality of life and long term economic viability.
People’s natural affinity to be near water has helped bring tremendous economic growth and opportunity to our district. Our farming, fishing, tourism and marine industries will not be able to thrive without protecting the water quality of our rivers, ocean and sounds. By safeguarding our natural resources we will enhance our quality of life and continue making our region a place where people will want to live and visit and businesses will want to grow and invest.
No public institution is more critical to our state and its people than our public education system. In fact, the people’s right to an education is written into the North Carolina state constitution.
The connection between a quality public education and good paying jobs is indisputable. Maintaining excellence in our public education system holds the key to a better future for our kids and our long term economic prosperity.
Our renowned public schools, community colleges and universities have made North Carolina a magnet for business investment and innovation. Our state has a long and proud tradition of supporting public education helping make our state a national leader in attracting top businesses and creating economic opportunity. However, our public education system has been under siege by the Republican-led General Assembly. The GOP state budget lays off thousands of teacher assistants while increasing class sizes and freezing teacher pay. Their budget raids millions of dollars from our public schools for a voucher scheme to fund private schools. These destructive measures will inflict great harm to our schools and shortchange our kids.
I will fight to reverse this reckless legislation and pledge to defend and safeguard our public education system. After all, protecting public education will help secure the economic future of our children by giving them the skills they need to compete in this global economy.
Responsible Government Spending
The central role of state government is to provide for the common good and meet the needs of the people of North Carolina. This includes ensuring fair treatment and equal opportunity for all of our citizens. It also involves building the necessary public infrastructure to support our communities and make them attractive for business development and economic opportunity. Another critical function of state government is to provide essential public services for the people of North Carolina.
I also recognize and understand that the NC Senate is entrusted with the responsibility of making prudent and responsible spending decisions. These challenging economic times demand that we streamline state government and make it more efficient and more accountable to the people.
I am committed to providing the necessary resources to help grow our economy and fund vital public services. At the same time, I pledge to make careful budget decisions and make sure your hard earned tax dollars are spent wisely and efficiently. State government must balance its budget and spend within its limits – just like the people of North Carolina are expected to do.