U.S. Senate candidate Ross focused on economic security

Published 12:10 am Sunday, April 17, 2016

In her bid for U.S. Senate, attorney and former state legislator Deborah Ross says she’s focused on economic security.

As part of her economic focus, Ross, a 52-year-old Democrat, says she supports raising the minimum wage, “equal pay for equal work” and allowing people to refinance college debt. Ross said she supports an increasing the minimum wage to $12 per hour. The increase should occur over an extended period rather than all at once, she said. On college debt, Ross said she would support allowing students to refinance after graduation just like adults can refinance a house.

If policy makers can accomplish all of the above, Ross said more money would be invested into the American economy. She said Americans would be able to better provide for their families, save more and invest more money. People might buy houses rather than rent. Others might decide to buy a car.

“It’s not like this money goes into the ether,” she said. “It gets reinvested into our economy and that grows our economy and it’s good for our economy.”

Last week, Ross spoke to the Salisbury Post about her platform for the U.S. Senate before a local fundraising event. She is facing two-term U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Libertarian Sean Haugh.

When asked about her Republican opponent, Ross said Burr doesn’t understand the concerns of average North Carolinians.

“He hasn’t provided leadership in ways that will help people every day in this state,” she said. “I feel like I am closer to the people. That’s where my heart is. That’s where my interest is. And, I want to bring their voices to Washington.”

However, Ross said Burr “has voted for some good things.” She cited Burr’s vote for a five-year transportation and infrastructure bill, which provided money for roads and rail projects.

Burr’s campaign responded to Ross’ claim that the senator doesn’t understand concerns of average North Carolinians by citing Burr’s record as U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence chairman. A statement from Burr campaign spokesman Alex Johnson said Burr’s record “is clear and he remains committed to ensuring long-term prosperity and security for all North Carolinians.”

The Burr campaign said Ross has a “radical record” as the prior director of the North Carolina ACLU — a position she held from 1994 to 2002. Ross has also worked as the general counsel for Research Triangle Regional Public Transportation Authority, also known as Go Triangle. She has also taught at Duke Law School. From 2002 to 2013 she served in the North Carolina House.

Ross has a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a law degree from the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill

When asked about her life and work experiences, Ross said they all contribute to a greater understanding about policy decisions and logistical discussions.

“I understand how you come up with an infrastructure bill,” she said. “I understand how a local government would use money to do a water and sewer system.”

When asked about the Affordable Care Act, Ross said the bill wasn’t perfect but “has certainly done much more good than it has done harm to the healthcare system.” For example, she said the act could do more to decrease the cost of prescription drugs. The act, sometimes called Obamacare, significantly reformed the American healthcare system. Among other things, the Affordable Care Act aimed to improve the affordability of healthcare insurance and lower the rate of uninsured people in America.

On national security, Ross said it’s important for America to actively work with its allies and share intelligence. In America, she said law enforcement and intelligence agencies have to work in collaboration to root out home-grown terrorism.

“What has been effective is when we use the absolute best of our intelligence and our military and we work with our allies,” she said. “If we do those three things, we go a long way.”

Ross still faces a several-month-long campaign before election day. Ross, Burr and Haugh will face on another in November during North Carolina’s general election. In March, Ross won the Democratic primary for U.S. Sneate with about 62 percent of the vote. Burr won his primary with about 61 percent of the vote.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.