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.
The immediate priority for everyone in state government must be to protect the health of our residents and to help our economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. As we focus on this priority, however, we cannot lose sight of the importance of education and a clean environment.
In the last decade we've seen devastating cuts to public education in North Carolina. Teacher pay is still lagging behind many other states in the United States. We have prioritized tax breaks for the wealthy over educating our children. None of this is sustainable if North Carolina hopes to compete economically in the 21st century. The pandemic has shown us that we are not adequately prepared to implement distance learning in an equitable manner. So, in the coming year we need to invest in broadband internet access in low wealth areas of the state as we work to increase teacher pay.
In the last decade our state has shifted the tax burden away from the wealthy and on to the backs of working North Carolinians. Abolishing the earned-income tax credit was but one step in this shift. Our tax policy must shift in a more equitable direction, one that rewards working North Carolinians.
Reducing violence in our state requires a multifaceted approach. We need to rethink how we police our communities. We also must work to end drug addiction that fuels so much of the crime in our state. But, we also must provide greater opportunity for those seeking a way out of the violence. Opportunity involves education, jobs, affordable housing, and adequate transportation. None of these paths are easy to follow, but we must do better.
Private Rights, Personal Responsibility
Housing affordability is critical to equitable access to opportunity.
Some NC counties provide great opportunities for individuals to find quality jobs. We’re proud of what we have. Unfortunately, some local leaders abuse their power and act selfishly in the interest of a few wealthier homeowners. Status quo activists use exclusionary zoning to “protect neighborhoods” and drive up costs. We can’t drive our workforce out of our cities which has happened in urban areas in other states.
-Allow duplexes and triplexes by-right wherever single-family homes are permitted in low-density areas. Allow builders to create the “missing middle” housing opportunities where currently exclusionary zoning encourages very large single-family homes.
-Support Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) by eliminating off-street parking requirements, owner-occupancy, and minimum lot size requirements. We can increase flexibility by permitting more generous setback, height, and size limits.
-Make efficient use of state resources by ensuring transportation dollars are spent on sustainable projects built where people live and work to maximize the impact. Workers and the environment benefit when we ensure development patterns are matched to tax dollars spent on transportation solutions.
-Stop funding mega-projects designed for splash and attention and ensure state roads in our urban centers are safe for all modes of transportation.
As an educator, I am worried about the future of North Carolina’s primary schools and high schools. We have many dedicated teachers and administrators in our system, but it is important increase parental involvement and responsibility, especially in rural communities. Unshackling the capacities of community groups to establish new choices for schools is the best and fastest way to work for educational reform.
Education plays an important role in the development of people and communities. It encourages social engagement. It fosters economic development. And it helps students to realize their personal potential.
Bureaucratic and political systems are not the best way to meet each student’s educational needs. They do not provide environments that address learning diversity. They do not support innovative teachers or instruction.
Allowing choice in education opens paths to academic success. The right learning environment prepares students for new challenges. It allows students to find a place to excel. It rewards innovative, engaged teachers.
Subsidies to attract new business have been shown in peer-reviewed academic studies to serve a narrow group of wealthy developers and politicians. Narrow strategies to use incentives rarely benefit taxpayers, and they are very expensive. Worse, the state is taxing the loyal businesses already in our state to increase the profits of new, large corporations.
The way to spur prosperity is a broad-based approach to economic development, which has three parts.
1. A business climate that has low taxes and sensible regulation
2. A population that is well-educated and creative
3. An infrastructure, ranging from roads, airports, and trains to broadband internet, especially in rural areas.
New business will come to NC, and will work to reduce the urban-rural divide, if the General Assembly shows leadership in these three areas. Incentives and top-down programs are splashy and politically beneficial, but they superficial and have little benefit in the long run.
The recent federal criminal justice reform bill, the "First Step Act," shows one important set of measures that would make an immediate difference. The explanation for violence in many communities is the combined sense of economic injustice and precariousness, and the choice by our state to incarcerate a huge number of people for victimless crimes. If drug use were treated as a medical problem rather than creating unemployable people because of a prison record, recidivism would fall. And the expense of incarceration is enormous; if this money were spent instead on community infrastructure and schools many problems of violence would be mitigated.
Our police forces have become increasingly militarized, and now focus on "for-profit policing" in the form of pursuing targets of civil asset forfeiture. Outlawing CAF and returning our peace officers to the job of protecting the community without regard for how much money can be seized would change the atmosphere in many urban areas.
It is time to return the 34th District back to the people. Our Seat has been hijacked. I will bring a fresh perspective and new ideas.
- Increase pay and retention of Teachers. It is critical to treat Teachers as professionals. Without quality Teachers, our children will not be prepared to enter the workforce of the 2020’s and beyond.
Ron believes we need to make big investments in the education of our children. While improvements have been made in North Carolina, Ron feels we need to do more to keep our best teachers in the state. That means raising teacher pay and extending loan repayment plans such as the Teaching Fellows Program. For our students, Ron believes we should be promoting more mentorship opportunities so students have access to good role models they might not have at home. As your representative, Ron will put students first and politics last.
North Carolina has, for the most part, a balanced approach to attracting quality companies to relocate to the Tar Heel state. Each company, community, and tax package has to be evaluated seperately.
There are many laws already in place that could our communities safe if they were consistently enforced. Some of our communities suffer from crime because of initial poverty. The cycle cannot be broken if our citizens cannot see opportunity and a potentially brighter future. Fear of gang violence and retribution keeps the status quo in place. The complexity of this issue requires a multi-disciplinary approach including crime fighting, crime prevention, economic development, jobs, pregnancy prevention/birth control, child care, etc