Elect 2012: Warren, Battermann differ on leading 77th District
By Shavonne Potts
SALISBURY - N.C. House District 77 incumbent Harry Warren and challenger Bill Battermann seem to be from two different walks of life, but they hold their community and its issues close.
The future of the N.C. Transportation Museum as a longstanding attraction has been an important question for many who live and work in Rowan County.
At one time, the museum received $1 million in appropriations from the state. That was reduced by about half and now to $300,000 annually.
The candidates weighed in on what they thought the best way to move the museum forward is in the current economic climate.
Battermann said part of the problem is the price of gasoline.
If more fuel efficient cars were available, people could travel more, he said.
Warren said funding needs to be continued, but on a declining basis until the museum gains financial independence.
This is the structure the N.C. General Assembly has created.
At the Wednesday candidate forum held at Catawba College, Warren said the legislature tried to transition museums, parks, aquariums and zoos to become self-supporting entities.
Both men agree the museum is a huge draw locally and statewide.
Batterman also said during the forum the museum was a big draw to the county and "helping them bring in funding would help the state."
"When you help the economy of the community, it helps the whole life of this community," Battermann said.
During the forum, the candidates were asked what North Carolina needed to do to be more business friendly.
"A business friendly environment is one where they can grow local cooperative relationships between local government and business itself," Warren said.
He added several other projects are under way in the legislature that would help Rowan County and other parts of the state stimulate local and state economic activity.
"Businesses are looking for kinds of infrastructure to do better business," Battermann said.
He said the education system should be one that trains people. He noted employees of potential businesses would want to move into a community that has a great cultural atmosphere.
One topic Warren and Battermann believe needs further study is fracking.
Fracking is the controversial procedure where water and chemicals are injected underground under high pressure to unlock natural gas deposits.
North Carolina legalized fracking, but authorized more health and safety studies be done before proceeding any further.
Battermann said fracking isn't a good idea.
"It uses too much water for a state whose major industry is agriculture. It uses chemicals that have not been researched sufficiently to see what long term damage it would do to the environment," he said.
Warren believes he and Rep. Chuck McGrady (Henderson County) were the only two Republicans who had concerns.
Warren's concern is that "it uses such high quantities of water that is rendered useless after its usage," he said.
He said regulations need to be in place to address the "unique environmental conditions of North Carolina."
"We are a highly clay-based soil. We want to be reassured before any permits are issued that we have regulations that are designed specific to our environmental and technological conditions," Warren said.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.
Rowan County precincts in the 77th District
Bostian Crossroads Bostian Heights FD
Bradshaw Atwell FD
Cleveland Town Hall
S. Locke Locke FD, NC 150
N. Locke Salem Lutheran
E. Enochville Enochville FD
W. Enochville Enochville Elem.
Faith Faith Legion hut
Franklin Shoafs Wagon Wheel
M. Hills County W. Rowan Middle
M. Hills City Isenberg Elem.
Granite Quarry Municipal Bldg.
Mt. Ulla Mt. Ulla Fire Station
Scotch Irish Scotch Irish FD
Spencer Municipal Bldg.
Steele W. Rowan High
Sumner Rowan Ag. Bldg.
Unity Woodleaf FD
West Ward II Fire Stat. #2
West Ward III Miller Rec
West Innes Knox Middle
North Ward City Park Rec
Ellis Ellis Park
* The rest of Rowan is in the 76th District, where Republican Carl Ford is running unopposed.