Occupation: member of Congress
Education: B.A., J.D., Wake Forest Univ.: bachelors, 1963, jurist doctor, 1966
Political experience: N.C. House 1966-72; N.C. Senate 1973-90; U.S. House of Representatives 1991-present
1. What should Congress do about the federal budget deficit, which has been running at historic highs?
Last year the House Appropriations Committee reduced earmark spending by nearly $3 billion, reduced nonsecurity spending for the first time in well over a decade, and saved taxpayers $3.5 billion by eliminating 53 low-priority programs. I am also a co-sponsor of the Balanced Budget Amendment.
2. What most distinguishes you from your opponent?
Experience. I have served in the N.C. House and Senate and the United States Congress. My experience has afforded me the opportunity to put my seniority and clout to work for the people of WNC. My opponent lacks the experience necessary to secure federal funding and create jobs.
3. On what issue, if any, do you most disagree with your party's platform?
I strongly opposed unfair trade agreements such as NAFTA, which have caused our region's manufacturing jobs to steadily dissipate. To keep WNC economically competitive, I have used my position on the Appropriations Committee to secure federal funds that will stimulate the economy by bringing jobs to WNC.
4. What's your stance on abortion?
I have consistently voted to protect the rights of the unborn and will continue to do so. I feel strongly that American citizens' tax dollars should not be used to fund abortion on demand; to use federal taxes in this way defies both moral and fiscal responsibility.
5. What specific action(s) should the United States take in Iraq?
Decisions regarding the war in Iraq must be made by our military leaders, not by politicians or partisan extremists. I have been to Iraq and seen the progress in Iraq and Afghanistan firsthand, and I support the return of our troops without creating a politically motivated timeline.
6. What's your position on the North Shore Road project in Swain County?
I have always and will continue to support the fulfillment of the federal obligation to Swain County and the families who once lived in this area, through construction of the North Shore Road.
7. What specific action(s) do you advocate regarding illegal immigration?
I strongly oppose amnesty to those who enter our country illegally. Through a regional pilot program I created, we can better train local law-enforcement officers to enforce existing immigration laws. I also believe we need to completely secure the border, while implementing a visa-reform system.
8. What's your stance on capital punishment?
Capital punishment is a viable option in the case of excessively violent and vile crimes; however, that determination is to be made by a jury. Citizens who serve on a jury should be endowed with the necessary tools to decide on a particular verdict that is fit for the crime.
9. What would be your top three legislative priorities?
Throughout my tenure in Congress, I have focused on immigration, economic development and job creation. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I have worked to bring millions of dollars to WNC to establish broadband service and to establish education and job-training programs at our area's colleges and universities.