NC House of Representatives District 56
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.
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Verla C. Insko
What do you see as your most important priority if you are elected? [Youtube video for this question or text or both]
Education policy and funding issues have been in the news lately. What are your views and priorities on how this should be addressed in the coming year?
Health care access and cost issues continue to be on the top of many voters' concerns. What are your views and priorities on how this should be addressed in the coming year?
Recently the legislature changed both the NC and US legislative districts. What are your views about drawing maps in 2021 when this will again need to occur?
Government must provide for the common good, protect the vulnerable and balance the rights of the individual with the needs of the larger community
Five issues vie for first place in 2020: education, the economy, health care for all, climate change and fair elections. Because fair elections are so fundamental to our democracy I put that first. To ensure fair redistricting, I support a non-partisan or bi-partisan redistricting commission with the safeguards needed to ensure the outcome conforms to the will of the people. As the House primary sponsor of the 2005 Confidence in Elections bill, I also prefer hand marked paper ballots that are tallied by an optical scanner for most voters and, for people with disabilities, I favor a touch screen machine that prints a marked ballot that the voter can verify and that is also counted by an optical scanner. No electronic voting machine is totally secure.
Since 2012, funding for NC teachers has dropped from close to the national average to 47th in the nation. During that time, the General Assembly has: eliminated career status, longevity pay and Master's pay, approved virtual charter schools, cut class size without providing adequate classroom space, removed the cap on charter schools without ensuring quality and funded private school vouchers.
My top priority is to increase teacher and principal pay and reinstate the eliminated programs. I would also require adequate evaluation of all the charter schools and raise the standards for approving new charters. I oppose using state funds for vouchers to private school. Our public schools should be good enough that people chose to attend them
I support putting a hold on additional tax cuts and reinstating some taxes at the margins.
One of the alarming trends in health care is the increasing number of people that have health insurance but can’t use it because they can’t afford the deductible, the co-pay or the cost of their prescribed drug. They are the "underinsured." Another trend is that medical bankruptcies on the rise. Before After the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed 64% of all bankruptcies were due to unpaid medical cost. That dropped to 41% as the ACA was implemented. That number has been increasing as various ACA provisions are rolled back such as coverage for people with preexisting conditions.
I favor reinstating these beneficial provisions and expanding the ACA to include a public option. I also support controlling the cost of prescription drugs by allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies, limiting the patent monopolies, and better enforcement of anti-trust regulations. I also support the trend toward insurance companies paying for value instead of fee for services and the increased emphasis on preventive services and keeping people healthy.
I support a non-partisan or bi-partisan redistricting commission to draw legislative and Congressional district lines following each decennial census. There are many variations on these commissions: how are they appointed, should they include voters or legislators or some combination, whether legislators can approve or disapprove the maps, etc. We can learn some lessons from the several states have such commissions. We will learn other lessons by identifying and correcting the mistakes we make .
We should certainly have a system that is fair, the voters trust and that do not end up in the court system for a full decade.
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