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Two vie for Democratic nomination for 83rd District

By Joanie Morris
Salisbury Post
CONCORD ó N.C. Rep. Linda Johnson will have some company on the ballot this fall, but it’s the election in May that will decide who Johnson, a Republican, will face.
Will it be Barry Richards or John Stanley?
Both are running for the spot on the Democratic side of the N.C. House 83rd District seat. Only one will get the chance to face off against Johnson.
Richards, 45, is a former town administrator who teaches drivers education in the Cabarrus County School System.
Stanley, 63, is a retired textile worker and a seasonal tax preparer.
They agree on several issues and disagree on others.
On growth, Stanley and Richards say the issue is a local government concern.
Stanley says the job of the state is to make sure local annexations are not unreasonable.
“You have to make sure that the state doesn’t interfere (in local government) and allow unreasonable annexations,” Stanley says.
Richards also says growth is a local issue, but he would do some things on a state level to help the local governments.
“I would enhance growth for viable business opportunities by expanding infrastructure improvements with state funding when asked and when the funding can be attained,” he says. “I would support local initiatives for watershed assistance. I would support road improvements and education expansion when asked and when the funds were attainable.”
Most of all, Richards says, he will “support a climate of deregulation and less taxing so that citizens and businesses can use their money to support their own visions without state encroachment when possible.”
On roads, Richards says it will take Democratic representation in the 83rd District to help Cabarrus County.
“The politics of Raleigh are present whether we think it fair or not and as long as we have (Republican) representation in Raleigh, then Cabarrus will get penalized for not having like representation in Raleigh from it’s elective officials,” Richards says. “I believe that Democrats will control the House, Senate and gubernatorial offices, as well as the Council of States as a whole for many years, and Cabarrus needs to have representation likewise.”
Richards says, if elected, he will be able to help the county bring taxpaying dollars back to the taxpayers in Cabarrus.
“At present, we send way more in taxes to Raleigh than we get returned back to us,” he says.
Stanley says roads are a complex issue.
“I’m very for the light rail situation,” says Stanley, a proponent of bringing light rail to Cabarrus County on a much swifter time-table than 20 years from now. “Yes, we have to increase our roads. Yes, we have to update our roads. We also have to bring in light rail.”
Stanley says he puts $40 of gasoline in his 2001 Nissan each week.
“What’s the pollution factor over here? What’s the time factor?” Stanley asks. “During rush hour, it takes longer to get to Charlotte than to get into Salisbury because the roads are so backed up. I don’t think light rail is an option anymore. For pollution and energy-wise …. light rail is a necessity at this point.”
On state-sponsored tax incentives, Richards and Stanley differ.
While Stanley feels that the state needs to look at how it supports business, he says sometimes businesses take tax incentives and later try to blackmail for more incentives once those run out.
“You’ve really got to look at it on an individual basis,” Stanley says. “I believe tax incentives are good, but … you have to make it fair and balanced. I would like to see taxes cut, but when taxes are cut across the board, the loopholes have to be tightened up so you don’t have a disproportionate burden on the smaller companies.”
Richards favors state-sponsored tax incentives to businesses “that produce qualified jobs.”
“I believe that we are giving away too much taxing authority at present,” Richards says. “We live in a free market society based on capitalism and we can support business best by giving them and their employees a quality of life they can’t get in other states and other areas in North Carolina. …
“We can support them best by giving them an area of diminishing crime, property value increases, good schools for their kids to attend, better infrastructure to and from their places of employment that will make their business better manageable, less local and state regulations that strap their creativity to produce jobs and increase productivity, lower income taxes so that individuals can use their own income to support their own families with greater purchasing power which qualifies to positive economic stimulus to other businesses which then create the cycle of creativity and job growth again,” says Richards. “Finally, the state can support families and individuals by allowing basic freedoms of religion, speech, gun control and the pursuit of happiness by providing for safe and ecologically clean environments.
“All of this will allow for less sponsored tax incentives and great productivity within the business and manufacturing community,” Richards says.
Both candidates say the N.C. Research Campus is a positive engine for the county and state.
“I will be a funding-liaison for any projects that the NCRC has and do my best to deregulate some restrictions that keep the people of the NCRC from using their God-given creative talents,” Richards says. “I think the people of the NCRC are proving that they don’t necessarily need the state to tell them what to do because they know their vision and expertise way better than some bureaucrat with four walls will ever know.”
He says collaborative efforts have their place in a relationship with the officials at the N.C. Research Campus and the state.
“My past local government experience and networking abilities will be invaluable in due time as the NCRC grows and expands,” Richards says.
Stanley says the impact of the campus will be felt all over the country, not just in the region. “It has to be secured,” he says. “It was made for profit. It’s not a state-funded institute. It was also made for a lot of individual companies. We have to make sure those companies are nurtured and not overburdened by the debt of the county.”
Stanley says he is running because he wants to help make a difference and he has some personal issues he would like to see come before the state legislature.
“I would like to see a local VA clinic over here,” says Stanley. That is a clinic for routine examinations and blood work, not a full-blown hospital like in Salisbury or Charlotte. “It’s convenient for the amount of veterans in the area.”
Also, he would like to see improvements in the Homestead Act, such as changing income requirements from $25,000 per year total to $25,000 for single seniors and $40,000 for married seniors. In addition, he favors removing a state lien on senior citizen’s properties.
Richards says he is running because he wants to work for Cabarrus.
“I need the votes of the 83rd District to accomplish a better Cabarrus that continues to grow and support its citizens while allowing a productive business and manufacturing environment with scholastic acceptance and appeal that will provide jobs and economic viability for the fine people of Cabarrus into the 21st century with the vision to impact the world,” Richards says. “With your help, I’m sure that our future will continue to emerge.”
Contact Joanie Morris at 704-932-3336 or jmorris@salisburypost.com.

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