The North Carolina House of Representatives is the lower house of the North Carolina General Assembly. The House of Representatives consists of 120 members who serve a term of two years. Each member represents an average of 79,462 residents, as of the 2010 Census. The presiding officer of the House of Representatives is the Speaker of the House, who holds powers similar to those of the Senate President pro-tem. The Speaker is elected by the members from their membership for a two-year term. The Speaker’s duties include maintaining order in the House and appointing members to the House standing committees.The North Carolina General Assembly, of which the House is a part, is to convene a new regular session every two years, and the dates for these sessions are set by law. The NC legislature makes decisions on the budget: taxes, tax credits, economic development, education funding, Pre-K, the courts, Medicaid, etc. It also passes laws that set environmental standards such as water and air quality, tax rates, tax credits, criminal justice. Legislators in both chambers serve two-year terms without term limits. Sessions begin at noon on the third Wednesday after the second Monday in January.
It's time to shift the paradigm on power. The power is with the people and elected public servants need to honor shared power.
The current North Carolina tax code is foundational to the legislature’s ability to invest across the state and central to meeting the needs of communities. I believe that tax cuts could be detrimental to the overall economic health of North Carolina. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) “North Carolina would have $3.5 billion more in annual revenue if state lawmakers had not changed the tax system…in 2013”. It is critical for legislators to find ways to use the tax dollars collected from hardworking folk, to increase earnings for the lower and middle income families. I want to connect everyday people to economic opportunity. As a legislator, I will fully support tax policy that will create opportunities for investment in entrepreneurship, small businesses and generate higher earnings.
Addressing the root causes of poverty will improve the safety in our communities; and changing some of the laws in our state that perpetuate poverty and the underemployed could facilitate mitigating violence. There are North Carolinians without the basic necessities of life; food, housing, healthcare. So let’s be clear, people who have food insecurity, are experiencing homelessness and cannot get medical attention are the people being subjected to the worst kind of violence by the government that should have laws in place to protect them. While unpacking this question, we need to frame this as a hand-up. The laws in this state need to change to expand Medicaid. There needs to be deep criminal justice reform so we don’t have non-violent offenders serving harsh sentences and flailing in a bonds program that deepens the poverty of them and those in their support system. The law needs to increase the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour, extend the weeks a laid off worker can draw unemployment and increase the unemployment pay. We need to enforce with vigor the fair housing laws available to us and revamp the Landlord/Tenant law to give tenants a fighting chance to preserve their housing. The laws outlining what counties and municipalities have the authority to do need to be amended to give more latitude for community and local government collaborative problem solving and decision making.
Government should be as large as necessary to fulfill its constitutional obligations but never large enough to be obtrusive to our personal freedoms
While the is no shortage of critical issues before the state at any given time, the most important to address that will have a positive effect on many of the other issues, is in the areas of education and healthcare.
There is a pressing need to complete the Medicaid transformation program that will reduce fraud and mismanagement in the current system, reduce cost of operation and enable the state to enroll more qualified applicants. The 2019-2020 budget allocated millions of dollars to facilitate the ongoing transformation currently underway, but has been stalled due to Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of the budget. Ironically, the Governor stated his reason for vetoing the budget was because it didn't include a blanket expansion of Medicaid , thereby obstructing one of the prerequisites for enrolling more eligible folks by first fixing the current system. Work is also continuing in the development of a unique NC Cares Healthcare bill that will provide coverage for all of our eligible citizens.
Over the last 10 years, Republican leadership has not only increased investment in education by more than $2.1 billion dollars, we have also expanded the methods by which education is delivered. Removing the cap on Charter schools and creating programs like Opportunity Scholarships and Tax Credits for Students with Disabilities, North Carolina has not only given parents more freedom in choosing an education scheme best suited to the needs of their child's learning style, we have also set a policy of investing in the student, as opposed to supporting a school system. Despite rhetoric to the contrary, these programs were designed to enable minority students and those in the lower socio-economic strata access to private schools best suited to their educational needs.
Prior to covid-19 pan, the state also invested in Virtual schooling, Regional Schools and has even co-oped with the traditional school system by designating the Rowan-Salisbury School System the only " Renewal System" in the state, granting them Charter-like latitude to determine an education scheme that is totally developed by themselves.Virtual Schooling/ online education is here to stay in one form or another. It adds an interesting and exciting vehicle to improve education opportunities for traditional students, shut-ins and providing adult learning, as well.It is important that we continue exploring and supporting these developments.
Fiscally responsible economic policies and conservative regulatory reforms, I have helped develop and supported, have proven to be correct and are producing historically positive results,Prior to the pandemic, State unemployment was 4% and the state revenue was bringing in annual surpluses. Additionally, NC is consistently recognized as being in the top 3 places to do business. This all results in increased employment opportunities at all levels and increased general fund revenue to meet the states growing needs in all areas.
It is critical now that we work to provide broadband throughout the entire state in order to develop economic growth for our rural areas and for educational needs.While nobody likes extending temporary tax credits to lure businesses to the state, the harsh reality is in order to be competitive with other states under consideration, it is necessary to do so, sometimes.
I am committed to ensuring the state remains true to the course we have set for its economic and social growth. This course is based on sound conservative principles that promise a bright future for our children and for future generations
We have some sentencing guidelines for misdemeanors, requiring jail time that would be prudent for the state to examine and reconsider. Over the years, rehabilitative and treatment programs have been developed that might prove to be more constructive than incarceration. In addition to lowering initial costs, by reducing recidivism, society benefits overall.
I would recommend the General Assembly House and Senate committees on Justice & Public Safety and the Judiciary Committees examine the impacts changing, or modifying, current civil and criminal laws would have on law enforcement, public safety and society, in general. Hearing expert testimony from stakeholders such the Sheriffs Association, NC Police Chief, District Attorney, judiciary, NC Bar Association, non-profits, Sociologists, citizens, Staff attorneys and other stakeholders, as well as best practices from other states, would provide direction on which course of action to take, what effects to expect and what the ramifications might be, if any laws were changed or modified.