Fully Fund Public Education
We must increase our investment in our students, our teachers, and our public schools.
Expand Healthcare Coverage
Everyone deserves quality health care, regardless of income.
Better Jobs & Fair Wages
Our employers must pay living wages so we can build a stronger economy for everyone.
Protect Our Environment
We must fight climate change, and for everyone to have clean air and safe drinking water.
Rebuild Our Infrastructure
We should fund projects that will create jobs while protecting our environment.
Ensure Fair Elections
We need a voting process that is fair, transparent and open to all.
Reduce Gun Violence
Thoughts and Prayers are not enough. We need common sense gun laws to protect our residents.
Protect Our Immigrants
Our immigrants contribute to our society and economy and should be respected and protected.
Equal Women’s Rights
Women deserve equal pay, equal rights and control over their careers, their lives, and their bodies.
Stand Up For Farmers
Our farmers are facing many challenges. They need legislators who will support them.
Solve The Opioid Crisis
We need common sense solutions to fight the epidemic.
Equal Rights For All
Every individual is unique and all deserve to be protected.
Expand Healthcare Coverage
One of the most frequent concerns that I hear when talking with voters is the urgent need to expand health insurance coverage and bring down the cost of healthcare. Too many of our Union County neighbors are struggling with the rising cost of health insurance premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and prescription drugs. Even worse, that lack of insurance results in one North Carolinian dying nearly every day. Far too often, those affected are babies, children, mothers, or senior citizens. Many of those deaths would be avoided if the current leadership of our General Assembly was willing to negotiate and pass Medicaid expansion. Besides providing health care to over 600,000 of our residents, Medicaid expansion would also create 40,000 jobs, add over $4 billion each year to our state economy, save our rural hospitals, and help reduce health care costs for all North Carolinians. It would also be a powerful tool to combat the opioid epidemic. Yet, although expanding Medicaid would cost us nothing, we continue to be one of only 13 states that have not passed Medicaid expansion. That is why I will work with other legislators to make sure that expanding Medicaid is one of our top priorities after we take the majority this November.
Protect Our Environment
For the past decade, the leadership of our General Assembly has been weakening or removing the legislation that used to prevent corporate polluters from dumping chemicals, such as coal ash and GenX, into our state’s waterways. As a result, thousands of our residents are now unable to drink from their local tap water sources because they are too polluted. This pollution has also led to some of our rivers currently being ranked among the most threatened in the country. To make things even worse, Trump is now trying to open our coasts to offshore oil drilling. That is why I will work with other legislators to ensure that our air and water are protected. Working together, we will combat climate change by passing a plan to transition our state’s energy production from fossil fuels to clean energy sources such as solar and wind. But my first task will be to coordinate the reinstating of the environmental laws and regulations that were removed over the past decade by the current leadership of the General Assembly. I will also work to pass a budget that provides adequate funds to vigorously enforce those environmental laws and regulations, to stop corporate polluters from continuing to cause harm to our environment.
To protect and preserve our environment I will also lead efforts to:
- Stop offshore oil exploration and drilling.
- Require developers to pay adequate impact fees to mitigate the effects of the growth they cause.
- Ban “fracking” and new fossil fuel infrastructure and extraction in North Carolina.
- Pass legislation to encourage a reduction in single-use plastics.
- Provide subsidies to encourage the development of distributed solar and wind power sources.
- Protect and expand our public lands.
- Ensure clean air and safe drinking water.
- Ban on the privatization of water supplies.
- Stop the exploration for fossil fuels in our state parks or wildlife refuges.
- Mandate the consideration of established science in environmental decision making.
- Increase incentives towards the purchase of hybrid and electric vehicles, the building and construction of solar and wind power plants, and the installation of solar electric and heating panels for use in homes, businesses, schools, and government buildings.
Increase Public Education Funding
Providing a world-class public education for every child should be our top priority. Instead, our education system was recently ranked 37th, near the bottom of the country. One of the causes is that our teachers are being paid nearly $8,000 less than the national average. Because of cuts by the current leadership of the General Assembly, on average our teachers now earn less than they did a decade ago, when adjusted for inflation. As a result, some teachers are leaving for other states, or work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Some are also having to pay for their school supplies and even for their substitute teachers when they miss work due to illness. When elected, I will work to change this, so that we will pay our teachers enough to attract the best and brightest and to ensure that our veteran teachers will not leave our state. I will work with other legislators to ensure that we give our teachers the support they need to help our children succeed in the classroom. Our public school system – from universal Pre-K on up through the University of North Carolina system – is our greatest resource, and I will engage with other legislators to make sure that our public education system is given priority once again.
To achieve a world class public education I will also lead efforts to pass legislation that will:
- Build more schools to enable reduced class sizes and to deal with our rapid population growth.
- Increase funding for special education.
- Add more counselors, school completion specialists, post-education and career planning counselors, nurses, and mental health specialists.
- Invest in universal, high-quality Pre-K for all pre-school children, regardless of their zip code.
- Expand vocational education and apprenticeship programs.
- Promote a safe and constructive school environment, free from harassment, intimidation and bullying.
- Train school security officers in de-escalation techniques.
- Provide tuition-free community colleges.
- End school voucher programs that take funds from public schools to subsidize the education of the children of the very wealthy.
- Stop private schools from being able to discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or economic status.
- Require charter schools to be non-profit and to follow the same health, labor, safety, and accountability standards as traditional public schools.
- Mandate for school children to have up-to-date textbooks, including history books, that are inclusive and historically accurate and science books that fully reflect the strong scientific consensus on issues of science, such as climate change, evolution, and the Big Bang Theory.
- Require that educators and other school staff receive wages commensurate with their expertise and responsibility, have opportunities for professional growth, and have the right to organize and be represented by a union of their choice.
- Support Adult Education and Community College programs for life-long learning.
As soon as the current legislative majority took control of the General Assembly a decade ago, they began a deliberate attack on our democratic processes to retain their control going forward. They started “gerrymandering” our legislative districts by redrawing the voting maps to spread out and dilute the strength of minority and Democratic voters. The districts that they designed were so unfair that they have been repeatedly struck down by the courts because they disenfranchise minority voters. The legislative majority also implemented voter ID laws that multiple courts also struck down because they “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision” to prevent them from voting. So one of my top priorities after Democrats take the majority this November will be to work with other legislators to end gerrymandering in our state permanently. I will also work on legislation to transfer control of the drafting of legislative maps to an independent, non-partisan commission so that we can finally have fair maps in North Carolina.
To ensure fair elections I will also work to:
- Implement automatic and online registration for all persons eligible to vote.
- Make election day a state holiday.
- Implement term limits for all elected state and Federal legislators and office holders.
- Exclude lobbyists from any meeting or session of a state legislative or regulatory body or committee from which the public is excluded.
- Pass legislation that makes all government or college issued photo ID’s valid for use during elections.
- Replace our current “winner take call” voting system with a ranked-choice system that more equitably reflects voters top choices.
- Democratize the Presidential elections by assigning all of our states electoral college electors to the winner of the national popular vote.
- Require that all PACs and SuperPACs that spend money on any campaign in our state disclose their donors and their spending.
- Preserve the integrity of the election process by ensuring all votes are cast on paper ballots.
- Require that all Presidential candidates appearing on NC ballots publicly disclose their most recent 6 years of Federal tax returns.
- Increase penalties for anyone who commits election fraud.
Environmentally Friendly Infrastructure
As we begin a new decade, we have an opportunity to fund infrastructure projects that create jobs while reducing our impact on the environment. That is why I will work to ensure that climate change is considered when making any future infrastructure funding decisions. I will also lead other legislators to accelerate our transition to renewable sources, such as solar and wind, for our power generation. Finally, I will also push to fund public transportation projects that reduce our dependence on personal automobiles, such as additional public transportation options between Union and Mecklenburg county.
To promote environmentally friendly growth I will also work to:
- Promote the construction of affordable housing.
- Support transit-friendly zoning and walkable, bikeable neighborhoods that encourage sustainability, affordability, and accessibility regardless of age, income, or physical limitations.
- Promote housing policies that provide for mixed income communities and that do not further exacerbate segregation by class and ethnicity.
- Implement strong tenant and affordability protections against displacement, speculation, rent increases, and evictions.
Better Jobs and Fair Wages
Good Jobs & Fair Wages
More than 120,000 North Carolinians are still being paid no more than the $7.25 minimum wage, which has not been increased in over 11 years. For a full-time worker, that wage adds up to only $15,080 per year, well below the $23,850 poverty line. In total, as many as 723,000 of our residents earn low wages below $10 per hour. Those unfairly low wages have a very negative impact on our economy because those workers do not make enough to be able to pay for basic needs, such as food, rent, transportation, clothing, and health care. Increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour would improve the financial situation of those households. Those families would, in turn, spend their extra earnings buying goods and services in our state, and that would result in an immediate boost to our state economy. That is why I support increasing the minimum wage and will work to ensure that every worker is paid fair wages.
The recent health epidemic and its resulting economic crisis has demonstrated other serious problems with employment laws in North Carolina. For example, our state provides some of the worst unemployment benefits in the country. With an average weekly pay of $264 for only 8.6 weeks, our state unemployment benefits are not enough for a family to make ends meet if a worker loses his job. When elected, I will work with other legislators to make sure that our workers are taken care of.
To create an economy that works for everyone I will also work to:
- Pay tipped employees the same minimum wage as for all other workers.
- Index the state minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index so that wages keep pace with inflation.
- Support organized labor and workers’ rights, including the right to organize and of collective bargaining.
- Add public school employees to the list of state employees who are entitled to a minimum wage of $15/hour.
- Legally mandate equal pay for equal, or comparable, work.
- Reject wage-based discrimination rooted in an outdated view of disability.
- Implement tax reform that eliminates corporate welfare and achieves a more equitable tax system for working families.
- Eliminate the misclassification of workers as independent contractors.
- Support the 8-hour workday and daily overtime.
- Fight any efforts to repeal the 40-hour workweek.
- Require the employers to provide paid sick days, vacation days, and paid family leave for all workers.
- Enhance workers’ safety programs with adequate and appropriate penalties for unsafe working conditions.
- End the so-called “Right to Work” laws which deny workers the chance to have strong unions that give them a voice at work.
- Oppose privatizing public services.
- Repeal regulations that reduce corporate responsibility.
Common Sense Gun Legislation
North Carolina has the 24th highest rate of gun deaths in the country, with about 1,350 gun deaths every year (an average of about four gun deaths every day). Since the current leadership took control of the General Assembly ten years ago, the problem has only gotten worse, with gun deaths increasing by 14 percent. Instead of offering solutions, those corrupt politicians whose campaigns are heavily funded by the NRA, have been offering only thoughts and prayers after mass shootings. Unfortunately, those politicians now represent the NRA instead of their constituents. That is why one of my top priorities as a legislator will be to pass legislation that will reduce gun violence while respecting the rights of responsible gun owners. To do this, I will work with other legislators to close the gun show and other loopholes that do not require a background check when buying a gun from an unlicensed seller, and which could allow weapons to fall into the hands of terrorists, domestic abusers, or other violent criminals in North Carolina. I also support Extreme Risk Protection Orders that would temporarily remove access to firearms from those showing signs that they might present a danger toward themselves or others. This change could help prevent mass shootings, because friends or family members of individuals who are considering gun violence could report it, and have those weapons ordered temporarily removed by a court of law. Extreme Risk Protection Orders could also help reduce the number of suicides by gun, assisting residents who might be struggling and who could be supported with mental health treatment if weapons were not readily available to them. This legislation could be particularly beneficial to rural counties, where the gun suicide rate is nearly two times higher than in the most urban areas.
To reduce gun violence I will also work to:
- Ban weapons of war, such as assault rifles and high capacity magazines, that don’t belong in the hands of private citizens.
- Prohibit those convicted of violent misdemeanor crimes from buying or owning guns.
- Notify appropriate law enforcement when a prohibited person breaks the law and tries to purchase a firearm.
- Improve background checks with better reporting into the system for prohibiting records.
- Maintain the firearm safety training requirement in order to carry concealed handguns in public.
- Prohibit the open carry of firearms in public.
- Oppose any efforts to provide automatic reciprocity for concealed carry permits, which allow people to carry handguns in public even if they wouldn’t qualify for a state permit.
- Pass legislation prohibiting making firearms at home outside of the background check system, including at-home 3D firearms printing.
- Close the “boyfriend loophole” to prohibit possession of firearms by intimate partners convicted of domestic violence and/or subject to final protection orders.
- Prohibit gun possession by domestic abusers convicted of domestic violence and/or subject to final protection orders.
- Require domestic abusers to turn in their guns promptly after becoming prohibited purchasers.
- Require proper storage when a weapon and ammunition are not in use, such as storing in a safe and/or use of trigger locks.
- Fight any efforts to arm teachers, or to allow guns in K-12 schools, outside of trained law enforcement and security staff.
- Oppose laws allowing or forcing colleges and universities to let guns onto their campuses.
- Provide funding to conduct research on the causes of gun violence, its consequences for public health and common-sense solutions to curb gun violence.
- Fight any attempts to pass a Stand Your Ground law, which allows people to shoot to kill, even when they have a clear alternative to defuse a confrontation.
- Provide funding for localized violence intervention programs that support people at the highest risk of being shot and killed.
- Eliminate firearms preemption laws that block local officials from passing and enforcing laws that keep communities safe from gun violence.
Protect Our Immigrants
More than 800,000 residents, or 8 percent of the population of North Carolina, are immigrants. That includes over 44 percent of those working in farming, fishing, and forestry occupations, as well as over 20 percent of those working in the computer and math sciences.
But some politicians, both in Washington and North Carolina, have been pushing racist lies to create fear to turn their followers against immigrants. They are using scapegoating, bigotry, and xenophobia to polarize our population. The reality is that immigrants, on average, tend to commit fewer crimes than those born in America. That is why I support honoring the American tradition of providing a safe place for immigrants and refugees seeking freedom and opportunity. This American tradition also includes applying the fundamental rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution to every person within U.S. borders. That is why I oppose local law enforcement agencies acting as federal immigration law enforcement or cooperating with federal law enforcement agents unless those agents have a federal judicial warrant.
To fully support our immigrants I will also work to:
- Increase funding to provide assistance in learning English.
- Maximize educational opportunities for all immigrant students, including access to public education and financial assistance as an investment for our common future.
- Provide access to health care for all immigrants to ensure the well-being of our communities.
- End activities that keep undocumented immigrants in the shadows of our society.
- Ensure intervention for abuse, discrimination, and crime among or against immigrants by removing the fear of arrest and deportation for reporting such abuse.
- Ensure adequate housing and sanitary facilities for migrant farm workers.
Equal Women’s Rights
Despite assurances over decades that the current wording of our Constitution already protects women, the reality makes it evident that is not the case. On average, women still earn only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, which adds up to a median pay that is nearly $10,000 lower per year. That is not fair and has to change, and is one of the reasons why I support ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment immediately. When elected, I will also support many other changes to ensure that women are treated as equals in our society. Besides equal pay, I will vote to require employers to demonstrate that they are not discriminating against women in their hiring and promotions. Employers should also be required to provide benefits that allow women to fully participate as equals in our workforce, such as flexible schedules and family leave. I will also work to increase protections against sexual harassment and assault in the workplace and to ban non-disclosure agreements that force survivors into silence.
To fully protect women’s rights I will also work to:
- Guarantee confidential, unrestricted access to affordable, high quality, health care services, including reproductive services, contraception and abortion.
- Require comprehensive coverage by health plans and insurance of mental health services and treatment for women, including early screening and intervention for postpartum depression.
- Increase anti-human trafficking efforts but without criminalizing victims and survivors.
- Require age-appropriate sex education as part of school curriculums.
Farmers and Rural Residents
Support Our Farmers
Farming employs 17% of our state’s workforce, but the Trump administration has foolishly started a trade war with China that is now being waged to a large extent on the backs of North Carolina farmers. As a result, the number of farm-related bankruptcies rose by 33% in our state during the last year. Disgracefully, the current leadership of the General Assembly, who are supposed to be working for the benefit of our state’s residents, have neither said nor done anything to oppose Trump’s policies. That makes them enablers who need to be replaced with legislators who will genuinely work for the people of North Carolina. Unfortunately, the corrupt leadership in our General Assembly has been equally unsupportive of our state’s small farmers whose profits are getting squeezed by large agricultural conglomerates (Big Agra). That is why, when elected, I will work to pass legislation to stop Big Agra conglomerates from making unreasonable demands from our small farmers.
To support our farmers I will work to:
- Make sure that the impact on our farmers and rural residents is considered for any new legislation.
- Increase funding for services in our rural communities.
- Ensure that rural residents have safe and affordable water and waste disposal.
- Distribute state resources, programs, and tax dollars based on need, not population.
- Pass legislation that promotes sound conservation practices and environmentally sustainable agriculture.
- Strengthen the rural broadband infrastructure to make rural businesses more competitive.
- Develop an economic development plan for rural communities.
- Encourage rural business growth.
Solve the Opioid Crisis
My own cousin became a victim of the opioid epidemic when he died from an overdose after becoming addicted to pain killers. Sadly, we never even knew about his addiction until it was too late. Unfortunately, his story is not unusual. Big Pharma and doctors abusing the system have led to a large number of North Carolinians becoming addicted to pain medications that may not have been necessary in the first place. As a result, from 1999 to 2016, more than 12,000 died in our state from opioid-related overdoses, approximately five persons each day. This epidemic is devastating for families and communities. It is overwhelming medical providers and is straining prevention and treatment efforts. That is why in Raleigh, I will work to address this problem at every level, from the individuals affected to the companies and doctors that created this epidemic. But the most critical change that I will prioritize to help end this crisis is to expand Medicaid, which would provide badly needed medical treatment for many of those affected.
To help end the opioid epidemic I will work to:
- Provide adequate funding to local hospitals and treatment facilities to ensure that proper levels of care are available to meet the needs of those suffering from mental health and substance use disorder.
- Change our laws to ensure that our response to the overdose crisis emphasizes the saving of lives instead of law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
- Ensure that those pharmaceutical companies and doctors who are abusing the system are stopped and prosecuted.
- Make funding available so that all North Carolina prisons offer adequate drug treatment.
Equality For All
For nearly a decade, the current leadership controlling our General Assembly has been fighting a war against the LGBTQ community. First, they pushed an unconstitutional amendment to ban gay marriages. Then, they passed the hateful HB2 law that severely damaged our state’s reputation and cost our economy billions. Now some legislators are unfairly seeking to stop gay and lesbian couples from being able to adopt children. Most North Carolinians agree that everyone deserves equality under the law and do not support those efforts. That is why I will work to pass legislation to ban discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in any public accommodations or services, to end discrimination in hiring and employment, and to eliminate any religious exemptions that would allow organizations to discriminate.
To fully support equality for all I will work to:
- Ban conversion therapy and the issuance of professional credentials to anyone who engages in efforts to attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ individuals, single or married, in foster care and adoption.
- Require comprehensive sex education that includes a discussion of LGBTQ individuals and their rights. This should be a requirement for all schools, including private, religious, and/or charter.
- Provide free or low cost access to PrEP.
- Repeal NC House Bill 142 and allow municipalities to pass local non-discrimination ordinances.
- Support housing incarcerated transgender individuals with the population they deem to be the safest option.