Hartsell faces challengers in primary, general election
By Joanie Morris
CONCORD ó The 36th District of the North Carolina Senate has a lot of names on the election ballot these days.
Incumbent Fletcher Hartsell is being challenged by three who think they can do it better.
Hartsell, a Republican, is running for his 10th term on the Senate. On the issues, Hartsell believes regional partnerships may be the key.
When asked about controlling rapid growth in the Cabarrus region, he said the county needs to develop regional partnerships.
“We must develop regional partners, plan well beyond the boundaries of each county and manage new growth while ensuring that we protect our quality of life,” Hartsell said. As one of the fastest-growing states in the United States, North Carolina faces a unique challenge in the coming years. “It is imperative that we retain what is great about our state while enhancing everything else,” he said.
His challenger on the Republican ticket, Thomas Hill, doesn’t think that growth will be an issue much longer.
Hill said that “with the devaluation of our fiat currency and a looming recession, chances are rapid growth will not be such a problem in the future.”
Hill said the role of governments is to stop distorting the markets.
“The only role of government is to enforce contracts and to protect against force and fraud,” Hill said.
Both Hartsell and Hill do agree on one issue, though. Both see great problems with the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
“We need to dismantle DOT and start over,” Hartsell said. “It is broken. We have an outdated transportation planning and funding process.”
Hartsell went on to say that DOT needs to be restructured, instituting local control of local roads and state control of state roads.
“We need to restructure the equity formula for DOT, reallocating gasoline tax revenue on a basis which more accurately couples revenue with those regions which generate the revenue,” Hartsell said.
Hill was more simplistic.
“The N.C. DOT needs to be reformed,” he agreed. However, he says that can come by cutting state spending in other areas. Also, he will work to save portions of the system.
“I will protect the Highway Trust Fund and encourage toll roads,” Hill said.
Where the two men most differ are on state-sponsored tax incentives and the North Carolina Research Campus.
Hill is “absolutely against” state-sponsored tax incentives.
“Governments should treat every business equally,” Hill said. “We should not be subsidizing billionaires and big corporations.”
In addition, while he supports the N.C. Research Campus, Hill said he feels taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund the campus.
“I will encourage private, free-market investment in the campus,” Hill said. “Taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund Mr. (David) Murdock’s ‘vision.’ I would encourage Mr. Murdock to get off the government welfare dole.”
Hartsell said he feels that state-sponsored tax incentives are an important part of the economic development process.
“We should encourage new economic development through education and incentive-based programs that target our existing businesses as well as creating, expanding or relocating new businesses to our state, emphasizing and targeting ‘green’ development that is sustainable,” he said.
As for the N.C. Research Campus, of which he has been a strong supporter since the beginning, Hartsell thinks things are good there.
“The N.C. Research Campus will transform our region into a world-class community which will be the envy of every state,” Hartsell said. “This is all the more reason why we should start today with regional partnerships that focus on a new North Carolina.
“We must change and restructure our way of thinking along with our system of government to ensure quality growth and good management of the taxpayers’ dollars.”
Lastly, Hartsell said he is running to continue doing what he has been doing in the Senate.
“The quality of our tomorrow will be determined by the decisions we make today,” he said. “I want to be a part of the process of improving and enhancing my home communities for future generations to come.”
Hill said he is running on the Republican ticket because he could not file as a Libertarian in the state, but his ideals are all Libertarian.
“I am running to restore our great Republic from corporate fascism and greed,” Hill said. “We should be protecting life, liberty and property, not big business and the wealthy elite.”
Whoever wins the Republican primary on May 6 will face the winner of the Democratic primary between Jim Johnson, a Concord attorney, and Mike Helms.
Neither man was available for comment.
Contact Joanie Morris at 704-932-3336 or email@example.com.
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