- Appropriations on Education / Higher Education
- Commerce and Insurance
- Education / Higher Education
- Pensions and Retirement and Aging
No Distracted Driving on NC Roads
June 11, 2019 - I joined Senators Sawyer and Burgin along with Rep. Corbin to speak today in support of HB 144 - Hands Free NC. This legislation seeks to ensure that those on North Carolina's roadways stay focused on driving - and not electronic devices.
Improving Infrastructure, Relieving Congestion and Traffic
Union County is such a great place to call home. We have so many positives, like top-notch schools, lower property taxes and a high quality of life just to name a few. People want to live here and be our neighbors. Since 2000, our population has grown from 100,000 to 230,000, while our infrastructure has lagged behind, which is quickly apparent when we commute to work, take our kids to practice, or even just run to the grocery store. If I am fortunate enough to serve you in the NC Senate, one of my top priorities will be working to make sure that Union County receives the proper funding for desperately needed infrastructure projects. This is only one piece of the puzzle though. We also must work together, the county and municipalities alike, to plan for future growth and also to bring our infrastructure up to the standards needed to keep our travel safe and efficient. For years, we have approached infrastructure as a reaction. Not only is this irresponsible, it is obviously failing. We must be proactive and work regionally with our municipalities and neighbors. In addition, removing the red tape in improving infrastructure and also alternative methods need to be explored to give local governments more options to help address these needs.
As a father of a UCPS elementary school and a UCPS middle school child, I know first-hand of the challenges that our parents and children face on a day-to-day basis. Education has a long-lasting effect on our children’s future and the economic success of our county and state. Union County is home to Wingate University, South Piedmont Community College, and Union County Public Schools, all of which are leaders in their respected areas of education. We are also home to some amazing charter schools and a growing home-schooling population. I fully support the parents of Union County having the opportunity to choose the best avenue for their children to learn and be successful. I too have been siting around the table helping my sons with their homework, trying to figure out the “new normal” of education. When parents with 4-year degrees can’t figure 5th grade math out, our system is broken. I support local control of our schools. Kids learn differently and you simply can’t squeeze every single kid into a single system and learning vehicle and expect success. It is the formula for failure and unacceptable. Let’s get back to the basics. For too long, the areas of education that directly impact our children, our classrooms and our teachers, take a back seat to the monstrous bureaucracy that is crippling our system and simply sucking limited resources dry. This must change now.
I support the promotion of public/private partnerships with our schools. Involving private partners in our schools allow us to make sure that scarce funding is maximized in a way that is efficient and provides the best available education and safety for our children.
As a former member of the NC State Board of Community Colleges and a current member of the Appropriations on Education, as well as the Education Committee, I have directly seen how important higher education is in a community. Our work places are becoming more and more high-tech and our workforce must be prepared for this fact. I fully support our local community college and the training they provide to promote a highly skilled workforce and also provide an alternate to a 4-year degree.
Support Law Enforcement and Safety Services
Now, more than ever, our men and women of uniform need support. While other choose to attack these men and women that keep my family, friends and neighbors safe, I choose to make sure that they have the tools and support needed to perform their job to the best of their ability. From the State Highway Patrol all the way to the smallest of municipal police, fire and rescue, if I am elected, these men and women will have an ally and advocate in the NC Senate.
As a county commissioner, I supported adding an Assistant District Attorney so that our court system would have the ability to process cases faster and more efficiently, which in return has saved the county millions.
The term that is kicked around these days is “opioid crisis”. Folks, this crisis is real and in your very own neighborhoods and schools. NO school is immune to this very deadly and dangerous drug. Every school in Union County is affected by this and has heroin readily available. We must educate our youth and work to remove this immediately. I fully support our local law enforcement’s efforts to educate and rid our schools of opioids.
Economy and Taxes
As a small business owner in Union County, keeping our taxes low and supporting our local businesses is paramount to maintaining a health economy. Government doesn’t create jobs, small businesses do. I am fortunate to serve on the Union County-Monroe Economic Development Commission and work to help attract quality businesses and jobs to our county. We must continue to work to increase our commercial tax base so that the residents do not continue to shoulder 85% of the taxes. North Carolina has been ranked the #1 state in the US in which to do business, and I feel that Union County is strategically positioned to become the #1 county in North Carolina for the same thing.
One of the many things that make our county amazing is its wide array of people and industry. Many do not know this, but we are a leader in agriculture in the state. We must support this sector of our economy through trade promotion and ending burdensome regulations so that our economy can continue to grow.
As a county commissioner, I supported and led the charge to cut property taxes and never supported raising taxes because I feel that our citizens are maxed out. There are plenty of places to cut wasteful spending before raising taxes. While state taxes are the lowest they have been in a long time, I believe we can continue to curtail wasteful spending. In government, revenue is rarely the problem, spending is the problem. I have a proven track record of thrift with the public’s tax dollar and will continue this record in Raleigh.
Our founding fathers were genius in not only our Constitution, but also our amendments. Contrary to the fake message that the main stream media attempts to feed us, the second amendment that gives us the right to bear arms was not intended for hunting. It was intended for the people of this great country to protect themselves and families from those that attempt to harm them, including the government. While that isn’t popular to say, I firmly believe we must protect this right at all cost. I am a lifetime member of the NRA, NGRA, the Gun Owners of America and a proud owner of a number of hand and long guns.