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.
"One person can make a difference, and everyone should try." John Kennedy
1. We must extend affordable healthcare coverage to North Carolina's working poor by expanding medicaid.
2. We must invest in public education so that every child has a good sound education. The courts have found in the Leandro decision that we are not meeting our constitutional obligation to our students and that must be a priority.
3. We must create a mechanism to end illegal racial and partisan gerrymandering as the political chasm we see in this country is exacerbated by grotesque manipulation of the voting maps.
We have to increase per pupil spending. We should restore the teaching fellows program. A better effort must be made to hire a diverse teaching staff. We should restore master's pay for teachers, and we should make it our goal to have our teachers paid at or above the national average as soon as possible. It is also important to implement the recommendations made by the consultant in the Leandro case in order to insure a sound education for every child in NC.
Any recipient of public dollars needs to be able to account in great detail about how those dollars are spent. I feel that private schools should be required to provide nutrition and transportation in the same manner as public schools otherwise they become unavailable to low wealth families. I am not a fan of expanding "opportunity scholarships" which is a fancy label for vouchers because the program is not using the dollars allocated to it as it is. There are certain things a society should do without regard to profit and educating our children is one such responsibility; and so private schools using public dollars need to be particularly scrutinized to make sure that they are not top heavy with administrative salaries or other expenses not directly related to educating children.
I would like to see NC continue to pursue a future in renewable sources of energy. We used to be number 1 in the country in the area of solar energy and I'd like to see a return to that. Clean energy technologies can unleash well paying jobs and help reduce our use of fossil fuels. I also would like to see more software enterprises particularly in the financial platform area. We have a couple of these firms in eastern NC and they have proven to be good corporate citizens creating clean, good paying jobs. And we want to nurture our university and community colleges as they make for good partners with industry.
We need to fully fund the Department of Environmental Quality . We need to repeal the Hardison amendment so that NC can pass more stringent safeguards that any EPA counterpart. It's time to turn toward the precautionary principle in permitting and it is time to expand polluter pay legislation. If you foul a public trust resource, it must be your responsibility to pay for the clean-up. But better still, the permittee needs to demonstrate that any discharge from their manufacturing facility does no harm.
There are any number of approaches being used in other states, but we need to create an independent commission whose responsibility it is to create fair districts based upon the criteria that has been outlined by the courts. In that manner we can prevent some of the polarization we see in politics.
We have legislated some changes to the manner in which absentee ballots are handled. Voter fraud has been a rare occurrence, but when it does happen such as the Dowless McCrae case, a Republican found guilty of ballot harvesting, we should prosecute vigorously. We should remove barriers to voting so that all citizens have unfettered access to the franchise. The more people that participate the better.
Live and love each day as though it was your last but plan as though you will live another 100 years - this should apply to all aspects of our lives.
As a fiscal conservative that believes in a common sense approach to leadership at all levels of government, my top 3 legislative priorities are: 1. Protect the financial stability of North Carolina and all of her residents while keeping taxes low so as to inspire home ownership and business growth. 2. Support the Sanctity of Life, especially those born alive, while promoting policies that are both pro-woman and pro-child. 3. Do not infringe on the 2nd Amendment rights of legal North Carolina residents.
We should develop or adopt a rigorous state-developed or independently developed curriculum that would raise the quality and rigor of our language arts and math standards while implementing a comprehensive performance and incentive pay system that will pay a portion of teachers' salary based on the value they add to their student's learning. Change the way North Carolina funds pubic education by attaching funding to the students while encouraging school districts to make greater use of open enrollment and magnet schools, allowing parents to send their children to the public schools that best meet their needs.
There is no such thing as free money so all funding to any program must have transparent accountability to the taxpayers of NC.
Maybe it's time to repeal the Local Development Act of 1925. We must pursue regulatory reform by looking for ways to reduce outdated or ineffective regulations where benefits do not outweigh the costs and make changes to occupational licensing laws that tend to block entrepreneurship. We must prepare for future reductions in federal funds so we should limit total spending growth to no more than the combined rate of population growth and inflation. Lastly, policymakers should be attentive to persistent regulatory obstacles to both existing enterprises and emerging innovations.
The NC Department of Environmental Quality and the NC Department of Health & Human Services must get the funding needed to insure the health and safety of our environment and citizenry. We must better utilize the experts found at NCSU College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, NCSU College of Engineering, NC A&T, and UNCW Center for Marine Science to answer the questions about the ever changing pollutants found in our water and air while using their help in developing ways to move forward in the area of advancing technology while minimizing the impact of that advancement on our health and the environment.
Take politics out of the redistricting process. Redistricting shouldn't be personal, it should be mathematical. Most importantly, no County should be divided in the formation of a Senate or Representative district. The entire process should be open and transparent.
The voters of North Carolina have spoken; Voter ID is a must. All ballots for mail-in voting should be requested only by the Registered Voter or their Legal Guardian while the mail-in ballot should require two witnesses in front of a Notary Public.