Party affiliation, if any: Democrat
Political experience: Seven years representing N.C. House District 114; eight years on Asheville City School Board (four as chair); chair, Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government; vice chair, Appropriations Committee; vice chair, Education Committee; serves on Education Subcommittee on Pre-School, Elementary and Secondary Education; Committee on Election Law and Campaign Finance Reform; and Committee on Energy and Energy Efficiency.
Endorsements: Conservation Council of NC, EMILY's List, Environment NC, Environmental Defense Fund, Equality NC, Lillian's List, NARAL Pro-Choice NC, National Association of Social Workers-NC, NC Advocates for Justice, NC Association of Educators, NC NOW, Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, WNC Central Labor Council.
1) How much money have you raised for your campaign?
I run a grass-roots campaign: Hundreds of individuals contribute funds, volunteer time and in-kind services. In the election cycle beginning January 2009, we’ve raised $97,960.48 from 498 contributors.
Who are your top three donors, and how much has each contributed?
Mack Pearsall - $4,000
Thomas Pearsall - $4,000
(three-way tie) Joe Eckert/Adelaide Key/Lillian's List of NC - $2,000
2) What most distinguishes you from your opponent?
I have a 100 percent rating from Environment NC and endorsements from all major environmental organizations. My opponent favored a new coal-fired power plant in Buncombe County and opposes statewide steep-slope regulations; I opposed the plant and sponsored the first statewide legislation to regulate construction on steep slopes.
3) What are your top three legislative priorities?
• schools and education;
• the environment.
We must rebuild our economy with clean, green, locally grown jobs by supporting local small businesses and attracting new industry that matches our skills, resources and values. WNC needs a sustainable economy that values our natural environment and prioritizes living-wage jobs.
4) Do you support authorizing Asheville to raise its hotel-room tax?
5) What methods do you favor for dealing with the state budget crunch, and how would they affect the Asheville area?
I will continue to look for creative ways to cut spending while protecting education and other core priorities. I also support tax modernization. Our out-of-date tax system is regressive, burdening those least able to afford it. We should find ways to generate revenue that spread the tax burden more fairly.
6) Do you favor changing state law governing involuntary annexation? If so, how?
7) North Carolina had more people on its AIDS Drug Assistance Program waiting list last year than all other states combined. Do you favor fully funding this program?
Yes. I voted in favor of a budget that included funding AIDS drug assistance for 4,600 existing enrollees and an additional 627 people on the waiting list. Anytime I can help increase access to health care, I will. I believe that health care is a human right.
8) What's your position on legalizing medical marijuana?
I sponsored legislation in 2009 legalizing medical marijuana (HB 1380, Medical Marijuana Act). Legalizing medical marijuana at the state level protects from arrest the vast majority of seriously ill people who have a medical need to use marijuana.
9) Do you favor providing benefits for same-sex domestic partners of state employees? Why or why not?
Yes. I support equal rights for all people. I am proud to have been endorsed by Equality NC because of my work for GLBT civil rights. I support equal benefits for equal work, just as I support equal pay for equal work for women. I also support marriage equality.
10) Do you support state assistance to local municipalities in financial trouble? If so, in what form?
Yes. There are programs within the state treasurer's office to assist cities with financial difficulties, and laws have been enacted under the current treasurer's administration to help safeguard municipalities from getting into financial trouble.