Education: B.A. mass communication, UNCA; blueprint reading, instrument-flying (for private pilot's license), EMT training, residential house wiring, A-B Tech
Party: lifelong Democrat
Political experience: Ten years of community and political activism/leadership with an emphasis on environmental, economic and humanitarian issues. Deeply involved with voting rights/verification issues; member of numerous political, environmental and humanitarian organizations; 11th Congressional District candidate in the 2004 primary.
1. What should Congress do about the federal budget deficit, now at an all-time high?
Get out of Iraq immediately. Cut the military budget by half, starting with the billions being squandered on "Star Wars" and WMD. Repeal the recent tax cuts for millionaires. Force corporations to pay their full share of taxes.
2. What course should the United States take in the Iraq war, now into its fourth year?
Get out immediately. A recent Zogby poll revealed 75 percent of soldiers in Iraq said we should withdraw completely within six months. Real support for our troops is bringing them home unharmed. Most Iraqis also want us to leave. We're creating more terrorists the longer we stay.
3. What would be your primary area(s) of emphasis as a member of Congress?
Educational opportunities for everyone; an educated and informed populace can monitor their government, utilize peaceful problem resolutions, understand the importance of environmental issues and wellness programs. Education is the solution for drug addiction, child abuse and domestic violence, poverty and crime.
4. Do you favor the North Shore Road project as originally planned, or a cash settlement with Swain County?
I oppose the North Shore Road and support the cash settlement. The solution is more boats, allowing more opportunities for visitors to cross Fontana Lake to visit the old cemeteries (or hike/explore) every weekend. This plan creates jobs and allows better pedestrian access to that area of the park.
5. What measures would you support to address the needs of working families and the poor in WNC?
Slash the military budget, repeal recent tax cuts for millionaires, force corporations to pay their full share of taxes -- thereby providing money for things like universal health care, mass transit and educational opportunities. Repeal NAFTA, CAFTA and get out of the WTO to bring jobs back to America.
6. What's your position on marital rights for same-sex partners?
The government has no business getting involved in the marriage issue at all. Marriage is a spiritual/moral matter and should be left up to the people involved and the individual churches to decide their own policy, just as they currently decide on baptism, communion, divorce, etc.
7. What's your position on abortion?
I fully respect and support a woman's right to choose; to control what happens to her own body. A woman's decision on this matter is never easy and should be between her, her doctor and her God. Government interference has no place in this process.
8. What would you do to protect or improve WNC's air and water quality?
Preserve the few remaining pristine watersheds. Develop and utilize more efficient appliances, lighting, plumbing fixtures and personal habits. Develop mass-transit systems, bicycle lanes, walkable communities. Utilize renewable resources and small-scale power generation. Strengthen emission laws and air-quality standards in every state. Raise CAFE standards. Re-use before recycling.
9. What most distinguishes you from your opponent in this primary?
I'm a proven, lifelong Democrat, whereas my opponent's record clearly shows that he supports neocon Republicans. "Democrats in name only" are dangerous to democracy and undermine the entire electoral process. I'm intelligent and hard-working. I will fight hard for the working people of this country and defend our Constitution.
10. Do you support an increase in the minimum wage? Why?
Yes. It is impossible for one person, much less a family, to maintain a reasonable household in the U.S. while earning only $5.35 per hour. A fair minimum wage and active trade unions are what built our middle-class, which has almost disappeared because of our current economic policies.