Election 2022: Candidate answers to questionnaire
Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 3, 2022
The Post sent each candidate an identical list of questions, rather than conduct individual interviews, in an effort to offer identical treatment for all candidates. These are the responses received by deadline for Tuesday’s upcoming Election Day:
Board of Education
1. Note your education and profession
2. Note anything you feel qualifies you for this position
3. Have you run for election before? What position? Were you elected?
4. If elected previously please note 1-3 of your achievements while in office.
5. Please comment on your top 3 goals if elected, and how you would like to achieve them.
6.What do you think the school board has done well in recent years, and where could they have done better?
7. What do you think the school board has done well in recent years, and where could they have done better?
8. Comment on RSS student performance compared to state averages and how you would improve them.
9. Why should voters select you.
1. Graduated from Davie County HS. College education along with professional designations. Co-owner and agent with Fisher-Greene Insurance Agency.
2. I have served over 20+ years on various non-profit and educational based boards to create programs for children and overseeing budgets. Smart Start Rowan, Partners In Learning, United Way Allocations to name a few. I have also ran a successful business for the past 30 years in the private business world. I have coached for over 12 years in the school system and interacted with many staff on all levels. I have a mix of all the requirements necessary.
3. This is my first attempt at public office.
5. We have many needs in our school system so naming a top 3 is tough. Since schools and systems are graded by the state, we must improve those scores. We need to strengthen staff retention and build up our workforce. We also need to build communication between parents, schools, private business, and community organizations to create an optimal educational opportunity for each child.
6. They have had to navigate us through the hardest time in education history during COVID. They have had 3 Superintendents in 4 years. I think they have done the best they can. One thing we can work together to do better in planning for the future as growth continues to occur in Rowan County.
7. We will now be able to work with a Superintendent who has long term plans for this school system. She has a wealth of knowledge about our community and desires to be here. We must work with her and her team to give students and staff the resources they need to accomplish this goal. The last few years have brought a lot of change educationally and socially for these kids and we need to be able to meet their needs in the classroom. There needs to be more advocacy on the state level for access to anything available especially funding.
8. We are below the state average in many areas but I refuse to paint a bleak picture of our students because I know so many amazing students who are doing incredible things. We need to be creative and proactive in educating our students while not abandoning the traditional tools that have been successful.
9. As I stated earlier I have the tools and history necessary to join all aspects of the county that is needed for community to come together to create a nurturing learning environment. I will push for safe classrooms for the students and staff. I have seen the inner workings of the school system and where we need to improve. I work with many teachers and staff daily. I am an excellent leader that will demand excellence from all of our system. I want to energize our school system with positivity and excitement.
1. I am the Senior Pastor of Central Baptist Church – Kannapolis. I have a B.S. in Biblical Studies from Liberty University and a M.A. in Religion and a Masters of Religious Education from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.
2. Serving for the last 8 years on the board provides me with the knowledge and experience to be an asset for the students and staff of RSS.
3. I was elected in 2014 for the RSS Board of Ed.
4. Achievements include most recently hiring Dr. Withers as superintendent. We have provided staff bonuses totaling $4,000 utilizing our Covid Relief (ESSER) funds. We have giving the largest pay increase potentially ever to our classified staff. Currently updating all HVAC systems within our schools. We have consolidated several building/schools in order to be more fiscally responsible.
5. My goals are to improve safety within our schools; Improve our students reading on grade level; and to continue to grow our CTE (Career Technical Education) opportunities.
6. For done well, see number 4. We could have done a better job managing class/school discipline strategies and procedures. This past year, we edited our Code of Conduct to be more strict and precise with specific violations. We should continue to work to improve in the area of discipline.
7. I believe that the state LTRS training our K-5 teachers are currently participating in will result in improved reading abilities for our students.
8. I am not a fan of the way the state measures student performance schools and look forward to them changing their metrics in value growth more than they currently do. Comparing to other state averages is often misleading and unfair to schools and students who are performing well.
9. Voters should re-elect me because I am invested in the schools. I have two children in RSS schools and have served for two terms on the board. My acquired knowledge and experience over the last eight years will enable me to serve RSS and our community better in the years to come.
1 I grew up in Rowan-Salisbury schools beginning with Hurley Elementary School, West Rowan Middle School and then graduating from West Rowan High School in 1998. I graduated from Elon University with a BS in Chemistry in 2002. I am currently a licensed General Contractor who is building single and multi-family housing in Rowan County. I also own three Subway Franchises in Rowan County.
2. I am the father of 5 children. I have students at North Rowan Elementary School, North Rowan Middle School, and North Rowan High School. I served on the Spencer Board of Aldermen for 7 years prior to being elected to the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education in 2018. I served as Chairman of the Board of Education in 2020 and 2021. I am very involved in Spencer and the North Rowan schools.
3. I have run for office 5 times and won each time. I was elected to the Spencer Board of Aldermen in 2011, 2013, 2015, & 2017. I was also elected to the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education in 2018.
4. Over the past 4 years on the Board we have a lot to be proud of. We were able to maintain in-person learning as long as any district in the state during the COVID pandemic.
We established our 2027 Strategic Plan that helps us improve and solidify education in Rowan County for the years to come.
We hired our new Superintendent, Dr. Kelly Withers. She is a great fit for our district!
5. We need to take advantage of our status as the state’s only Renewal School District. We have not yet been able to think creatively about what this designation can do for us.
We need to retain and hire great teachers. This will include finding ways to increase compensation as well as supporting them through good leadership at the district level.
We need to continue to put the pieces in place that ensure that each of our graduates leaves ready for employment, enrollment, and/or enlistment.
6. Our board has done a good job working together as one body to advocate for our students and staff during an extremely difficult time in education. It has not been an easy time to teach or learn in schools across the country as well as right here in Rowan County. I think our board needs to solidify our senior leadership positions; which starts with our superintendent. Turnover on any level leads to a lack of stability and lack of forward movement within the district.
7. While I do not think that the current system of test scores is the only measure of success, we must work hard to improve our scores. We need to make sure that our district has the accountability systems in place to make sure that every single student in our district is being consistently taught on a day-to-day basis.
8. Student performance can be looked at from many different angles. Our district’s directional focus includes an emphasis on developing unique life goals, interpersonal skills, and academic skills. While I think we have done a good job at keeping all of this in focus; we need to continue to work hard at improving our academic testing compared to the rest of the state. I think that we have the teachers and leaders in place now to do this.
9. I am confident that I have been a valuable part of a strong board that continues to fight for the best possible education for every child in Rowan County. I am passionate about our students, our teachers, our communities, and our county. I look forward to serving another four years as the representative for the North Rowan seat on the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education.”
1. Currently an Adjunct Professor in Special Education at Catawba College; retired school principal with CCS for 20 years; retired regular/special education teacher in Multi-Age 1-3 at China Grove Elementary for 9 years. PhD in Business Administration from Cornell/ Warren National University; Master in School Administration and Curriculum Specialist from UNCC: Master in Learning Disabilities from UNCC; BA in Regular/Special Education from UNCC
2. 35+ years in education, 16 years of higher education with a doctorate in Business Administration. I’m very knowledgeable about school procedures, school law, and building of schools because I have served as an adjunct professor, Principal for 20 years, a special/ regular ed. teacher, and teacher assistant plus I have published articles in educational journals on student achievement and Educational Leadership 3 Have you run for election before? What position? Were you elected? I ran in 2016 for this position in a very close race that I did not win. The current Board of Education appointed me to seat #7 last October and I have been serving on the School Board since.
4. During my appointment over the last year, I have been involved with hiring our new superintendent, Dr. Kelly Withers. I have also served on the Student Appeals Committee and been in numerous schools over the past year helping teachers implement new strategies and behavior techniques in dealing with difficult students
5. My top 3 goals include: 1) Increasing safety measures in every school by providing full time resource officers in every school, hiring additional school nurses, and creating a school Crisis Intervention Team in every school made up of staff, parents, and community personnel that are trained in specific roles when an emergency occurs. I also want a panic button available in every school to alert law enforcement when a crisis occurs. Yearly school-site training needs to take place and drills done regularly to learn proper procedures. I also think it is a good idea as we build new schools to raise the placement of our outside windows so an intruder on campus cannot see directly into classrooms;2) Increasing student achievement by focusing on the core subjects of reading, math, writing, science, and social studies using research-based materials and strategies. I am certified as a curriculum supervisor so I know I can help implement our Strategic Plan with fidelity; and 3) see that the replacement Overton/ Knox K-8 school happens soon because this school community has been promised over ten years
6. The School Board has recently hired and invested in a capable superintendent, Dr Kelly Withers, who will hit the ground running and is committed to staying with our school district, the discipline policy is now revamped and consistent among schools in the district, and the Board is currently mandating bonuses and higher pay to all staff to recognize their dedication to serving our students. In past years, the Board could have done a better job with implementation of research-based curriculum and strategies to meet the needs of all learners and also having a discipline policy that was more detailed and spelled out consequences for misbehavior. Being a renewal system, we could have done more with the flexibility allowed by the state but the pandemic set us back in our renewal implementation.
7 . We can get back on tract by doing a few things strategically and with fidelity. Our 5- year Strategic Plan is an outline of where our students should be performing academically over the next five years and teachers will be using pacing guides to make sure all schools are on track teaching the standards. We have a plan that has proven successful through research and our teacher leaders will have guidance in implementing instruction because they will work in professional learning teams and analyze test data on benchmarks to determine where each student is performing academically. They will receive actual data graphs created by our newly hired testing director that will make interpretation a lot easier for our teachers.
8. Our students performance is lower than state averages but many of our students did not receive virtual instruction during the Pandemic because of access to wi-fi connections or just failed to attend virtual sessions. We need to provide individual instruction to our struggling students and make sure we are focusing on the basics, meeting our students where they are academically as well as socially. I would like to see a focus on instruction for our pre-schoolers so they will be kindergarten ready. We have catching up to do and I feel confident we will make significant strides by the end of this school year.
9. Voters should elect me because I am a life-time educator who specializes in working with students with special needs (academically and emotionally). I am proud of many of the things our current Board has implemented and I am committed to improving our school system and regaining confidence in our school system. I respect and value all members of the team that want the best for our students- parents, teachers, administrators, and support staff and I believe in this partnership that will prepare all our students with a quality education and to be productive, caring citizens in our community. I see the glass as half full, not half empty. I am willing to put in the time and work to make this happen.
Ebony Rivers Boyd
1. I am a proud product of Rowan-Salisbury Schools (Knox Middle & Salisbury High School). I received bachelor’s degrees in political science & history from North Carolina Central University. Master’s degree in public administration, w/ a concentration in public & organizational leadership. I currently serve as the Assistant Director of Student Services for Wake Forest University, School of Business.
2. As a former student, teacher and athletic coach of RSS, I know the heartbeat of our district. I have personal and professional experience in every focus area that our district serves- student, teacher, coach, parent, community member. I understand what the needs are in education and who they affect, and I yearn to engage and learn more. I have relevant and relatable experience in and out of the classroom and will be dedicated to connect, serve and impact our students, teachers, staff and community with passion and purpose every day.
3. This is my first time running for political office. I have volunteered on numerous political campaigns and have been successful in most.
5. If elected for RSS School Board, my top 3 goals would be improving literacy & curriculum development, safety & security in schools and bridging gaps and widening doors of opportunity for our district’s holistic success. I’d focus on leveraging the tools, flexibilities and resources that RSS currently has, evaluating its effectiveness and improving inward and then outward (if & when necessary). I will be laser focused on building intentional relationships that will help to positively impact the holistic success and concrete goals of our district. I’d commit to being a transparent and consistent source of communication that our district (students, teachers/staff and community) can trust and depend on.
6. In recent years, RSS School Board has done well with performing the classified staff pay analysis, keeping afloat with the roller coaster of leadership changes and staying true to the flexibilities of Renewal. I believe the board could improve on: providing the district with consistent and transparent communication, connecting community resources to holistically serve our schools and increasing school board visibility. I look forward for the opportunity to continue the great work of the school board!
7. To help improve our scores, I’d request district reading, math and grade level leadership create an action plan that speaks to our district’s needs- understanding those needs may fluctuate depending on several factors. I’d support the need to review district curriculum and ensure expectation, delivery and execution are fair and equitable for all of RSS. I’d encourage a review of our efficiency measures and ensure any gaps have the proper supports to be filled. I’d also encourage transparent conversations and intentional relationships with our state rep to effectively share and receive information regarding growth and performance expectations within our district.
8. Compared to the state average, our student performance is low. However, RSS is the only renewal district in the state. Therefore, our outcomes should be reviewed with that caveat because our goals and expectations are different than any other school in the state. However, we do need to think proactively on how to improve our math and reading scores to ensure we are producing academically sound change agents into the world after graduation. We have several layers of opportunity and flexibility to explore, but we need to identify the priorities for RSS, create a plan and then work and support that plan. I believe we’re on the right track and I hope to continue the great work with the school board.
9. Voters should elect Ebony Rivers Boyd for school board because I understand the school board is a seat of purpose and passion- not a seat of power or political motive. I value our teachers, staff and administration. I love and believe in our students, and I believe in meeting the community where they are. I have relevant professional and passionate experience in every area that our students and community will have to matriculate through. I’m a servant leader and I call this hard work- “heart-work” because you must have the right heart to operate in this arena of service. My campaign is built on me being dedicated to serve, connect and impact RSS. That’s what I’ve been doing in this community for 15+ years and it’s what I’m dedicated to do while on the school board. I’m running for the west seat, but I’m dedicated to ALL of RSS. Please turn your ballot over and vote for Ebony Rivers Boyd, seat #4- Rowan Salisbury School Board.
1. I am a trained Champion for Christ from Liberty University. My completed degrees are: Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Bachelor’s Degree: Criminal Justice/Juvenile Justice, and an Associate of Arts Degree: Interdisciplinary Studies. My second Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Liberty will be completed in the spring of 2023. I am a self contractor and I became 1/3 owner of Fonso Farm Services located in Mocksville, after my father Carence Lee Spillman, passed away last year.
2. My education helps qualify me. Moreover, the huge amount of studies and research I’ve conducted in the field of child psychology and juvenile justice will help guide me in the decision making process. Voting on public policy/school policy is a huge responsibility. One must be capable and willing to independently research topics in an effort to make more informed decisions before they vote. Board members cannot only rely on policy writers and attorneys to guide them, they must commit to independent study, because it’s the board member’s vote we want, not the policy writers and attorneys. I am prepared to put in the extra time and effort required. Finally, being a father of six and having two children who graduated from Rowan County schools allowed me to see first hand knowledge of where our school system failed our children, and what we should do to rectify those problems moving forward.
5. Make sure, Critical Race Theory, Mandates, Masks, and vulgar books comprised of liberal pornography do not make it into our schools. Cut wasteful spending. Increase Teachers Pay. These goals can easily be achieved by using transparency, by conducting independent research before voting, which also includes talking with parents and teachers. Creating and maintaining a relationship with the public/voters is key, because it’s going to take collective effort between government, elected officials, parents, teachers and the public to maintain a morally enriched school system. One where every child is afforded an education without political interference and every teacher has the tools needed to give children the best education possible.
6. For years the school board did a great job making sure every child and teacher’s Constitutional Rights were being met. However, the school board failed us when they chose mandates over law. They failed us when they forced our children into online learning and wearing masks, that we now know did not help to slow the spread. The school board members failed when they chose government mandates over The People’s plea to do away with them. As a result our children lost out on a lot, like in person learning, sports, and other school related events like proms and graduations. We The People must never again elect leaders who are unwilling to fight for our children. Which includes fighting for an education system that is not politically driven. I give you my word, I will never stop fighting for our children and teachers.
7. We have to remember why the national report card is so low. It’s because of forced online learning and forced mandates. Putting a great majority of our children behind in their studies. This is not only a state/county issue, nationally, children’s reading and math scores are down as a result. Parents were forced to be teachers and teachers became online instructors. It was never supposed to be that way. Many children had to stay home alone and depend on their devices to help them instead of in person teachers. Keeping that in mind, I will vote to make sure children continue in person learning, even if the government tries to force them home again. Aside from the in person learning, I will advocate to cut wasteful spending and put those funds towards more reading and math remediation programs during and after school.
8. Again, our school system is in need of more remediation programs, both during and after school. Our children have fallen behind, so we must focus on the individual needs of the student and what areas they encountered a gap between what they know and what they are expected to know, then go back and reteach them. That is what remediation programs aim to do– reteach the child.
9. If I have the honor of representing you, I will not only advocate for your children to have a normal education free from political interference, I will also fight for teachers. Whereby advocate for a work environment that is not politically driven. As a member of the school board, I give you my word that I will always be the voice of reason, a voice for The People. And I will never stop fighting for our children and teachers! You will always have a Vote of NO from me on wasteful spending, CRT, masks/mandates, and online learning. I will also make it my personal mission to make sure vulgar books comprised of liberal pornography do not make it into your children’s schools without you knowing about it. And together we will fight to have them removed. A vote for Eddie Spillman is a vote to have your voice heard.
1. I have a Master’s Degree in English Education and an Education Specialist Degree in Leadership. I have a Montessori diploma. I am also working toward becoming a Certified American Language Therapist, assisting students and adults who have literacy challenges. I founded, own, and am Head of School at Yadkin Path Montessori (ages 6 weeks to 12 years) in Salisbury. We are family farmers, selling produce in Woodleaf for 6 years. Wife of Dean; mom of a 9-year-old who attended West Rowan last year.
2. I am engaged in Rowan County, born and raised here. The Leadership Specialist studies guide me to make decisions based on the voices of students, parents, caregivers, teachers, and all school staff. I taught in the Salisbury school system in Early College. I have a 26-year-career in teaching children and adults, coaching parents, studying teaching methods founded on student interest and developmental stages, facilitating learning that encourages students to be creative, innovative, and develop entrepreneurial skills. I have first-hand experience and a heart-felt understanding of being a teacher, administrator, and a parent. I hope to bring my passion for education to the seat to advocate for our school system, our administrators and teachers, staff, all students, and families. This opportunity to work actively in local government and give back to the residents of Rowan County brings a sense of joy to my life.
5. Advocacy and respect for educators, school staff, all children, and families. By listening to stake-holders at each school and working toward a culture of respect throughout the entirety of the organization. Focusing on literacy: 42% of 8th graders are functionally illiterate, 20% of students have dyslexia. I want to address that through the availability of reading therapists in the schools. Nurturing the human needs of children by supporting social, emotional, academic, and practical life skills being available to every student. What do you think the school board has done well in recent years, and where could they have done better? Although with COVID hindsight, we see issues that have emerged, the board navigated an extremely disruptive time to the best of their ability. And got our children back in school earlier than anyone else. We have seen some of the anticipated issues that we imagined might happen, but they were greatly mitigated by getting students back in and keeping them in schools. The board was brave to look at and embrace renewal. They lost ground during the pandemic and during leadership changes.
6. We need to spend more time demonstrating to parents and the community how fabulous we are! Let’s use tools that represent our values and the goals we have for strengthening student performance in Rowan County. To gain a full picture of our students’ abilities and challenges, let’s identify tools that give us insights about our unique student populations.
7. We need to use the data to understand what is working, what our strengths are, how to make our community aware of them, and how to build on them.
9. I have a passion for education and have dedicated myself to proven methods in teaching and learning; I have experience in owning a business and marketing; I love working on a team for a great cause: our remarkable students in Rowan County.
1. Please provide some education background and your current profession.
2. Please comment on any other qualifications you would like voters to consider
3. Have you ever run for another position, and were you elected?
4. If you held another elected position, please mention 2 or more achievements.
5. If you could pass one failed bill from the last year, what would it be and why?
6. What will be your legislative priorities if elected?
7. What do you anticipate being your biggest challenges?
8. Open comment: Please discuss whatever you feel is important to voters.
1. Graduated from AL Brown High School in 1975. Attended Rowan Tech and earned a certificate in Textiles. Attended NC College of Textiles in Belmont, NC. Current profession, 40 years in broadcasting. Owner of Ford Broadcasting since 1992.
2. Eagle Scout. Served 7.5 years on the Rowan DSS Board, 2 years on the Rowan County Planning Board, decades of service to the Rowan Republican Party. Served several years as a Member At Large. Rowan Republican of the Year 2007, 2008 & 2020. Served several years as Precinct Chair or Vice Chair. Rowan Republicans for Jesse Helms Chairman in 1996.
3. 2008-2012 Rowan County Commissioner – 2 years as Chairman and 2 years as Vice Chair.
2012-2018 State Representative for North Carolina 76 House District, Cabarrus/Rowan. Two terms as Chairman of State & Local Government Committee.
2018 to current date North Carolina Senate. Chair for Appropriations General Government & Technology, Chair for State & Local Government, Chair for Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on General Government.
Senate Republican Joint Caucus Leader for 2 years.
4. While serving as a Commissioner in 2008 & 2009’s recession, cut 5 million from the county budget during tough economic times. Selling the Kannapolis Intimidators Ball Park which helped the county stop losing a million dollars plus a year.
5. The Religious Assembly Security Protection Act of 2021. Handguns for the purpose of protection on educational property that is also the location of a place of religious worship during church days and hours.
6. Continuing to cut personal and corporate income taxes and the continuation of cutting government red tape.
7. The biggest challenge will be Governor Cooper.
8. Married to wife Angela, 4 children and 7 grandchildren. Member of the same church, City Revival Church, for almost 40 years.
1. I was educated in Stanly County public schools. I graduated from North Stanly High School. I earned my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Speech Communications from Wake Forest University and my Master of Education in School Counseling from Liberty University. I have worked for Rowan Salisbury Schools for over 20 years. I was a classroom teacher for almost 15 years and have been a high school counselor for the last eight years.
2. I currently serve as the Democratic precinct chair for China Grove, secretary of the NC Democratic Congressional District 08 and secretary/treasurer of the Rowan Salisbury Association of Educators.
3. I have never run for any other elected position.
5. House Bill 149 had the potential to provide the state with several billion dollars from the federal government that would have covered 90% of the healthcare costs for many low-income North Carolinians. Unfortunately, there were provisions in the bill that caused it to stall in the House of Representatives. More than 13% of adults and 6% of children in Rowan County do not have health insurance. Expanding Medicaid would improve health and financial situations for families in Rowan County and across NC.
6. My legislative priorities include: 1. Education-increase pay, staffing and resources, K-12 2. Healthcare-protect reproductive rights; provide affordable quality healthcare to all 3. Economy-increase minimum wage to a livable wage 4. Internet-make broadband accessible and affordable in rural areas 5. Environment-invest in renewable energy sources
7. I anticipate as a junior senator, building bipartisan relationships with fellow legislators will be a challenge.
1. Note your education and profession
2. Note anything else you feel qualifies you for this position.
3. Have you run for election before? What position? Were you successful?
4. If elected previously please note 1-3 of your achievements while in office.
5. Comment on your top three goals if elected, and your strategy for each.
6. Where do you think commissioners have done well in recent years, and where do you think they did poorly?
7. What is your vision for Rowan County’s economic and population growth?
8. How would you address the need for more housing in general and affordable housing?
1. I received a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and History ( double majored) from Winston Salem State University I received an MBA- Master of Business Administration – concentration in Human Resources Management from Strayer University. Currently a Doctoral student – concentration in Organizational Leadership at Northcentral University with an anticipated graduation date of October 2023. I have 27 years in Human Resources and the owner of two businesses: Byrd & Co., Inc. and Gemstones and COMPASS Leadership Academy.
2. I have been actively involved in Rowan County for several years and have served on numerous boards which has equipped me to learn and know the needs of those in our community. I am currently serving my 2nd term on the Rowan -Salisbury School Board ( 6 years) the last two as Vice-Chairwoman, Rowan County Chamber of Commerce – 2nd term, Rowan County United Way, Novant Health Foundation Board of Trustees, Dorsett Chapel U.C.C. Board of Trustees and Financial Secretary. All of these positions require me to be fully engaged with the community, to provide input regarding policy and to review and approve financial reports.
3. I have ran for the Rowan-Salisbury School Board, Seat 5 ( Salisbury) twice and was very successful both times.
4. The first achievement was being able to vote in favor of our district being the only Renewal District in the state of North Carolina. While is has not produced everything is has the potential to, I do feels as if by now have a well developed Strategic Plan with achievable goals, we should be able to produce the outcomes our district desires to see especially as it pertains to literacy and math. Secondly, being able to finally approve building a new K-8 for the Knox and Overton consolidation. Knox had been on the back burner for way too long and to now have it as a priority with all board members on deck means a lot to our students, Knox staff and community. Lastly, being able to hire the first African American Superintendent. This might not mean a lot to some, but it still means a lot to me. It showed that Rowan County is open to change and if and when given the chance when can become the change we desire to see. Unfortunately, Dr. Watlington was not with us as long as we had hoped, he did in-fact make some great strides.
5. The position of Rowan County Commissioner is obviously different from the Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board, my first top goal as it was then is to first and foremost learn my role as a Commissioner. Get to know those more closely and start establishing a relationship with them. Introduce myself to all of the municipalities throughout the county and ask the hard questions, which makes it apparent to address the needs they have. Secondly, study and know the pressing issue throughout our county and pick up where the others left off. I’m sure there are numerous agenda items that still need to be addressed and voted on. Therefore, I will do my research and homework to ensure that I am effective in this role. Lastly, bring some of my concerns to the table and start the conversation around education, youth engagement, mental health, substance abuse, crime and strategic growth and get solid answers as to what we really need to do in order to become and healthy and whole Rowan.
6. I think the Board of Commissioners have done a great job when it comes to economic development and workforce development, They have been able to bring some businesses here to tackle and reduce our unemployment rate. The one area in particular which I feel they have done poorly is the mismanagement of the West End Plaza. During the 2018 election it was said to bring an “Idea Center” to the West End Plaza and years later it is still an “Idea”! My hope is to turn the West End Plaza into something that will benefit our non-profit organization and our youth.
7. Before we can tackle a major economic and population boom, we have to “Re-Imagine Rowan”. What would it look like if the village came together and became more focused, concerned and hands on with education? What would it look like if the commissioners allocated money towards the reduction of crime by finding safe spaces to keep our youth off the street and engaged in something positive besides athletics an school sponsored activities. What would it look like if the commissioners found it necessary to assist organizations such as United Way with substance abuse and mental health issues. After these questions are fully addressed, an serious economic and population boom might be put on hold. It starts and Home and we need to take care of ours first.
8. Since the end of the pandemic, affordable housing has been one of the most talked about topics. I think it boils down to the change of heart of the contractors/builders. They are the one’s who set the price on what is deemed affordable and what isn’t. As much as I am not a fan of certain incentives and tax breaks, this might be a primary solution. Issue credits to developers targeted towards lower-income households. Revitalize neighborhoods. We might need to look into a purpose built community which would include affordable housing for our teachers and police officers while offering an education component such as daycare or an educational facility. Yet, this question goes back to “Re-Imagine Rowan.” Lastly, something we are not prone to doing, ask the community to help tackle some of these issues and take their input seriously.
1. Bachelor’s degree in business administration. I am a 27-year small business owner, State Farm Insurance Agency in Salisbury. I hold professional designations of Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant.
2. Past Chair – Rowan County Chamber of Commerce, Past Chair – Rowan County Airport Board, Past Chair – Cabarrus / Rowan Metropolitan Planning Organization, Rowan County Planning Board, Rowan County Personnel Commission, Charlotte Regional Partnership, Salisbury Civitan, First Baptist Church – Salisbury
3. Ran for election in 2014 for the Rowan County Board of Commissioners and successfully ran for re-election in 2018. Have been elected Chairman by my fellow board members each of the past eight years.
4. 1) Rebuilding our Economic Development Commission and modernizing our economic development recruiting process. This has brought hundreds of millions of dollars of new investment to the county and thousands of new jobs with full benefits. Chewy, Hexagon-Agility, Macy’s, Intercon, Eastern Fence, Snow Joe are just a few examples. We’ve also attracted multiple large projects from national developers like North Pointe, Red Rock, Crow Holdings, Trammel Crow, Fortius, and Silverman. This has helped put us in a very strong financial position. 2) Created the Rowan Education Collaborative to bring together our K-12 system, Community College, Livingstone and Catawba Colleges, and our Economic Development Commission to align our educational systems with one another and to identify and develop relevant skills necessary to recruit more and higher paying jobs. 3) We’ve invested heavily in our county employees. In the past, Rowan County had become a training ground for other community’s employees. As soon as our people were trained, they were being recruited to work for other communities. That is an extremely expensive and inefficient employment model and it had to change. We created an ongoing pay study that focuses on 1/3 of our employees each year to make sure we’re remaining competitive in our market. Each department is reviewed every 3 years. This has significantly cut our turnover rate and helped us retain experienced employees, which means better service provided to our county residents. 4) Our economic demographic outlook has improved significantly and that is bringing new and additional retail businesses to our community. New restaurants and retailers have recognized our economic improvement and have brought new retail choices to our community. Now, our citizens can make retail purchases locally that they used to travel out-of-county to buy. Those sales taxes now stay home and help us fund necessary services for our residents. It also improves our choices and overall quality of life and that helps make Rowan County even more attractive to folks looking for a great place to live.
5. Work with the new RSS Superintendent and the community to turn around our public school system, specifically, help create a community call to action around the issue of 3rd grade literacy. This is a moral issue and the economic future of our community. 2) Work with our incoming Sheriff, Salisbury City Council and Police Chief, other municipalities, and State and Federal authorities to address the issue of local crime. We have already begun this effort by pulling together our Sheriff, Police Chief, city and county managers and elected officials, Chief Magistrate, District Attorney, Superior Court Judge, Chief District Court Judge, and local House and Senate representatives to begin planning for specific actions.
5. We must always be mining for more and better jobs for our citizens. If we want our kids and grandkids to stay in Rowan County, they must see abundant opportunity and those opportunities must be relevant to our 21st century economy. 4) We will be working on ways to support and strengthen Rowan County’s families because we believe families are the cornerstone of a stable society and a healthy community. School performance, crime, health, depression, teen suicide, drug use, gang involvement, mental health…the data is very clear that these issues suffer when families struggle. But when our families become stronger our community becomes stronger and that is good for everyone.
6. We’ve done a good job of building strong, new, positive relationships between the county and all the municipalities. We’ve pulled together organizations and people from across our community and created great momentum by finally getting everyone to pull in the same direction. The results have been extremely positive, and each municipality is now benefiting from growth, added jobs, and significant new investment that is coming to our county. We’ve done a good job at taking a competitive business approach at how we operate our county departments, encouraging each department to recognize that local government is not a monopoly, but that we are one small player in a global competition fighting for our economic lives. We have adopted a philosophy that in areas where we have total control to succeed or fail, we will commit to being the very best in the nation. We can’t afford to be mediocre or even average when we’re in heated competition for better jobs and new investment. We’ve done a very good job of increasing our tax base. Since taking office, our tax base has increased by over $2 billion dollars, which is remarkable. That has allowed us to keep the tax rate down. In fact, the tax rate is lower than the day we took office. That has allowed us to make important investments in our county employees, education, facilities, and increased economic development. New business recruitment has allowed us to significantly cut our retail leakage numbers and help boost our retail sales tax revenues by over 87% since 2015. We’re now in a great financial position resulting in our bond rating being raised to the second highest rating possible.
7. With the completion of the I-85 expansion and the new focus on quality economic development, new jobs and investment, Rowan County is no longer the county on the outside looking in. Clearly, Rowan County is now the focus of the entire region. This newfound success provides benefits that include newer and higher paying jobs while giving the tens of thousands of Rowan’s Citizens who travel out of Rowan County for employment the opportunity to return home for quality employment. That’s good for everyone, especially our families. But with opportunity comes never-before seen challenges. Roads and infrastructure require our immediate attention. And while population growth can be a positive shot in the arm for our economy and a labor force that is in demand, we want to be sure we’re able to retain our sense of community and small-town feel that makes Rowan County so attractive.
8. Construction costs are a direct result of the cost of building supplies and labor costs and those costs are influenced by a whole host of issues that the county cannot control. The county cannot pass an ordinance to demand that building supply costs be reduced, that labor costs be reduced, or that builders and developers risk capital and not be allowed to make a profit. What we can do is help reduce development costs by helping reduce infrastructure costs, which are a large part of the overall cost of each home. When a builder wants to build homes, if there is no water and sewer available then wells must be drilled and septic systems installed. Those two costs alone can approach $25,000 to $30,000 per house. In addition, where wells and septic are required, larger lots must be carved out, significantly driving up the cost of housing. If the county can work with the state and the development industry to wisely locate water and sewer infrastructure, more homes can be built on a parcel of land, water and sewer replaces well and septic and the result can be a savings of tens of thousands of dollars per house and that certainly helps make home ownership more affordable. Lastly, we can’t ignore the role that successful economic development efforts play in significantly raising the wages of our citizens. We want to see our friends and neighbors’ wages rise so they can afford nice homes, and not just focus on trying to get developers to build cheaper homes.
1. I am West Rowan graduate and BA Degree in Education from Catawba College. I have professional designation in insurance CIC, and managed Greene Insurance and Fisher Greene Ins. For over 40 years.
2. Served as president of Civitan Club of Salisbury, Pres Woodleaf PTA, served 2 terms Rowan Economic Development Commission, several positions with my Church, served for 8 years as Vice Chairman of Rowan County Board of Commissioners.
3. Have served last 8 years as RC Commissioner.
4. Supported the reorganization of Economic Development Commission into the best and most successful commission in RC history. Created jobs program with RCCC to educate citizens and provide full time employment to over 600 citizens in 2022.
5. Finish bond passed for RCCC to expand facilities and new jobs programs for Rowan citizens. $43 million. Support and encourage expansion of Pre-K programs. Provide room for different county services at West End Plaza.
6. Rowan commissioners have expanded tax base, provided wages and benefits to employees. Supported Fire Services, expanded money to School System for student and construction (West Elementary, Centra Office, $55million for current construction}. Open and friendly dialogue with all municipalities. I don’t believe we have done a poor job with anything, but some things such as broadband have been much longer than expected.
7. I expect expansion of economic partners along I85, Hwy 70, 150 29. If inflation is controlled our population will grow putting strain on infrastructure. We must have officials able to plan for expansion including schools, housing, and safety.
8. The way to provide affordable housing is to provide good paying jobs. Contractors will be eager to build if the Federal government can keep interest rates low enough for families to buy. We have streamlined inspections and permitting services.
1. Please outline your education and occupation.
2. Please mention any other experience that you feel qualifies you for the position of Rowan County Sheriff.
3. Please comment on where you think the Sheriff department succeeds, and where it can improve.
4. What would be your top three priorities as Sheriff?
5. What do you think is the biggest challenges?
6. Please give your thoughts on Sheriff department community relations.
7. Where and how would you like to focus resources, funding and training?
8. Please comment on your approach to addressing crime trends in the County.
1. I have a fully accredited Master’s Degree in Administration of Justice and Security from the University of Phoenix and BS Degree in Criminal Justice from Pensacola Christian College.
I hold an Advanced Law Enforcement Certification as well as over 2000 hours of Law Enforcement Training.
I have been heavily involved in our community.
2. I started my career with the Salisbury Police Department in 1994. I was hired as a Deputy Sheriff in 1999 by Sheriff Wilhelm. I have been with the Sheriff’s Office ever since. I have experience in almost every area of the Office. For the last 10 years I have been a Detective with the Sheriff’s Office and have cleared over 900 cases by arrest.
I have been an elected official on the Rowan Salisbury Board of Education for the last 8 years and have experience with complex budgets and personnel issues. I am a lifelong resident of Rowan County.
3. The RCSO succeeds every day in response to crime and violence throughout the county. The Sheriff’s Office is comprised of men and women who are dedicated to the community and strive to serve and protect to the best of their ability. The RCSO provides security for many of our county’s schools and provides hundreds of hours a month of extra duty functions for the citizens and business of our county.
The RCSO can improve by doing a better job at recruiting employees and maintaining a work atmosphere that is supportive and engaged with our employees. We also need to tell our story much better than we are doing now. Many great things happen every week at the office that the public never hears about.
Promotional processes need to be implemented to insure transparency and just promotional practices.
When it comes to crime we must focus on local drug dealers, gangs and public shootings. We must make an effort to help stop the violence and gun use in many of our communities. We need to focus less on Federal projects outside the county and place our focus on local issues.
4. My first priority is the safety of our community and schools through aggressive enforcement against gangs, drugs and gun violence.
My second priority is improving our hiring practices and recruitment, especially in our Detention Center. We must have an atmosphere change in our Detention Centers so that our detention officers feel valued and appreciated. We must address staffing shortages there which is causing over worked and under supported employees.
My third priority is advocating for our employees for an increase in salary and better benefits. We cannot be a successful agency and attract the best employees if we pay less than agencies around us. The County Commissioners have recently given us an increase, but we are still about $5000 below starting pay from where we need to be.
5. Our greatest challenges are combating the gang and gun violence in our communities as well as hiring and compensating officers in an anti-law enforcement society.
6. The Sheriff’s Office has always been dedicated and responsive to our community. We will continue to be a service focused agency, whose main goal is to serve all our residents to the best of our ability.
7. I would like to focus additional resources to our patrol squads to help with call volume and response times in the county. I would like to add at least 1 deputy to each of our 4 patrol squads. A training focus would be more mental health response related training for deputies to better equip them in dealing with individuals suffering from mental illness.
8. We address crime in Rowan County by aggressive enforcement. We have a lawless society in which many have no respect for their fellow citizen. They are not held accountable for their actions and continue to prey on the innocent. Law enforcement is not the problem in our society. A lawless, morally bankrupt society is the problem. The criminal element in the United States has been catered to and pacified too long to the detriment of the law-abiding citizen. It’s time to take back our streets. Rowan County is not so large that we must spend all our times studying trends. We need to spend our time aggressively taking the criminal element off the street.
NC Supreme Court
1. Please provide some education background and your current profession.
2. Please comment on any other qualifications you would like voters to consider.
3. Have you ever run for another position, and were you elected?
4. If you held another elected position please mention 2 or more achievements.
5. Please name your top 3 priorities if elected.
6. Please note your primary motivation for running.
7. What do you think are the biggest legal issues you may face?
8. Open comment: Please discuss whatever you feel is important to voters.
1. I currently serve as a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals. I’m from a small-town mountain family and was the first in my family to attend college. Through hard work, I graduated first in my class at Wake Forest University law school and earned a master’s degree from Duke University. As a partner at one of the State’s largest law firms, I handled cases in state and federal courts across the country. In 2014, I joined the Court of Appeals and am now the third-most senior judge on the fifteen-member court.
2. I’ve spent my entire legal career working on the kinds of complex, ground-breaking cases that arrive at the Supreme Court. As I lawyer, I handled appeals in courts across the country, ranging from billion-dollar legal disputes to help for low-income families. I have personally argued in the U.S. Supreme Court—something only a handful of lawyers in our State have ever done. I am also the only candidate, and will be the only Supreme Court justice, who is a board-certified specialist in appeals.
3. Yes, after being appointed to fill a vacancy on the Court of Appeals, I successfully ran to keep my Court of Appeals seat in the 2016 election.
4. In my work as an appeals court judge, I’m best known for having on open mind, working to build consensus, and writing decisions that are fair and easy for the public to read and understand. Outside the courtroom, I’ve worked to help the public understand our court system. When the pandemic hit, I created an online “Constitutional Academy” for high school students stuck at home and organized a month-long summer seminar for law students who lost their internships. I’ve also created an animated series on YouTube to educate the public about the appeals courts.
5. Judges shouldn’t have political priorities. My only priorities for the Supreme Court are to defend our rights; protect the rule of law; and help people resolve their legal disputes fairly.
6. I’ve made the theme of my campaign “leadership, not politics.” There is too much anger in politics today and it is invading the courts. My passion is the law, not politics. I want to ensure our Supreme Court keeps its role as an independent, impartial court that acts like an umpire calling the balls and strikes, not a political body legislating from the bench.
7. I don’t spend time planning for legal issues that aren’t yet before the court. That’s part of what’s wrong with judges right now — too many of them have a political vision and eagerly await controversial cases. Whatever cases come to our Supreme Court in the future, I will approach them with an open mind and decide them fairly.
8. After eight years as a Court of Appeals judge, I am so proud of North Carolina’s justice system and all the people who are part of our court system. Our State is a model of how the rule of law can keep people safe and allow everyone to grow and prosper together. I’m running for Supreme Court because we need leaders who can reassure the public that our State’s highest court is not political, and show that judges are public servants who defend our rights and uphold the law. Thank you for believing in me and my journey to our State’s highest court.
Sam Ervin IV
1. I am a product of the City of Morganton and Burke County public schools; graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College in 1978; and earned a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1981. I practiced law in Morganton from 1981 until 1999, where I handled a wide variety of civil, criminal, and administrative matters, including many appeals to the Supreme Court of North Carolina and the North Carolina Court of Appeals. I served as a member of the North Carolina Utilities Commission, which is a quasi-judicial body that regulates the rates charged and service provided by privately-owned utilities, from 1999 to 2009; a Judge of the North Carolina Court of Appeals, which is our State’s intermediate appellate court, from 2009 until 2015, and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, which is our State’s highest court. from 2015 until the present.
2. While in private practice, I participated in numerous jury trials and appeals and handled almost all of the types of cases that are addressed by the Supreme Court. As a member of the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, I have written hundreds of opinions and helped decide more than two thousand cases involving virtually all areas of the law. As an appellate judge, I have not attempted to implement any sort of partisan or ideological agenda and have decided cases in ways that one would not have predicted given my party affiliation. As a result of my ability to fair and impartially decide the cases that have come before me, I have the support of all three of the lawyer organizations that have endorsed candidates in the race in which I am involved even though the members of two of those organizations regularly oppose each other in court.
3. I ran for a seat on the Court of Appeals in 2008 and was elected. In 2012, I sought a seat on the Supreme Court and was defeated. In 2014, I ran for a seat on the Supreme Court and was elected.
4. As a member of the Utilities Commission, I helped decide many important cases involving the regulation of privately-owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, and water and sewer companies. I was also heavily involved in the collaborative process that resulted in the Clean Smokestacks Act, a landmark piece of legislation that the General Assembly enacted in 2022 that required the installation of additional air emission controls on coal-fired power plants without any increase in customer rates. In addition, I served as the Chair of the Committee on Electricity of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and helped develop the organization’s policies relating to climate change. As a Judge of the Court of Appeals, I wrote more than 500 opinions and helped decide more than 1,000 cases, including a number of important decisions involving issues arising in civil, criminal, and constitutional cases.
5. The principal responsibility of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court is to decide specific cases that come before the Court for decision. As I explain in my response to Question No. 7, the Supreme Court has limited control over its own calendar. In addition, the Code of Judicial Conduct precludes sitting judges from saying what decision they would make if a particular case were to come before the Court. For those reasons, I cannot say what sorts of cases I would like to decide if I am re-elected and how I would decide them. Thus, my three top priorities are making sure that the Court decides each case fairly and impartially on the basis of the law, the facts, and nothing else without taking political considerations into account; to give everyone a fair opportunity to be heard; and to treat everyone equally under the law.
6. I am running for re-election to the Supreme Court because I want to ensure that the Court decides the cases that come before it based upon the facts, the law, and nothing else; gives everyone a fair opportunity to be heard; and treats everyone equally under the law. I am concerned that North Carolina’s return to partisan judicial elections and the resulting increased cost of campaigning for judicial office sends a signal to voters that they ought to view judicial officials in purely partisan terms. I am convinced that partisan politics has no place in our courts, believe that the introduction of increasing amounts of partisanship into our courts will impair public confidence in the judiciary, and decided to run for re-election, at least in part, to express my concern that our courts are in danger of becoming just another partisan political institution.
7. The Supreme Court’s work involves deciding the most difficult and important cases heard in North Carolina’s legal system. Since the Supreme Court is required to hear certain cases, such as death penalty cases, business court cases, and utility general rate cases, directly from the trial courts and to hear cases from the Court of Appeals in which the three judge panel assigned to that case could not reach a unanimous decision, it does not have complete control over its own docket. Although the Court does have the ability to grant review in other cases from the trial courts and the Court of Appeals, deciding which cases to take involves the making of a judicial decision about which I am prohibited from commenting under the Code of Judicial Conduct. As a result, I do not believe that I can provide a specific answer to this question.
8. I am the best qualified candidate in this race for numerous reasons. I had a much broader private practice experience than did my opponent. I have twenty-three years of judicial and quasi-judicial experience while my opponent has none. I have made decisions that one would not expect based upon my party affiliation and do not use ideological labels like “liberal” or “conservative” to describe myself. I have the support of numerous organizations, including all of the lawyer groups that have endorsed candidates in this race, the Fraternal Order of Police, the North Carolina Association of Educators, the Sierra Club, the North Carolina Home Builders Association PAC, and the Employees Political Action Committee. After evaluating both of candidates in the race in which I am involved, the joint editorial board of the Charlotte Observer and the Raleigh News and Observer has described me as the “clear choice.”
1. NC Court of Appeals Judge, 2015 – Present, NC Superior Court Judge, 2010 – 2014, Attorney, 1992-2010, Law Clerk to NC Chief Justice James Exum, 1990-1992
2. I was born and raised in Raleigh by parents who valued truth and respect for all people, and was educated by excellent public school teachers. After earning an English degree from NC State University, I was a newspaper reporter, and learned that people from all walks of life meet their government on a daily basis in court. I earned a law degree from UNC School of Law and worked as a law clerk for the NC Supreme Court’s chief justice. For 18 years, I represented individuals and businesses in trial and appellate courts. In 2010, I served as a Superior Court judge, presiding over criminal and civil trials in courthouses across North Carolina, including in Rowan County. In 2014, I won a statewide, nonpartisan election to the NC Court of Appeals, and have served there for nearly eight years. My husband of 31 years and I have two grown children.
3. 2014, NC Court of Appeals – Yes.; 2020, NC Supreme Court – No.
4. Since joining the Court of Appeals in January 2015, I have authored more than 500 appellate decisions in cases ranging from first-degree murder to constitutional challenges statutes enacted by the legislature. I have written a few dissenting opinions that were adopted by the NC Supreme Court, changing the outcome of those cases and maintaining the rule of law, and including decisions in cases of first impression that have been relied on by courts across the nation. I write every opinion in plain language that does not require a law degree to understand. Also during the past eight years, I have presented educational programs to attorneys and judges across the state promoting ethical practices and insights and addressing mental health and substance abuse problems that affect the legal profession, and in turn affecting people depending on legal professionals to navigate the justice system and render fair and impartial decisions.
5. My three priorities are (1) to preserve the rule of law; (2) to fairly and impartially decide each case that comes before the Supreme Court; and (3) to defend all freedoms guaranteed by the North Carolina Constitution and the United States Constitution.
6. After serving for four years as a trial judge in courthouses across this great state, and nearly eight years as a judge on the NC Court of Appeals, I am running for the Supreme Court to continue my judicial service and to preserve the integrity of our justice system, the rule of law, and the rights of the people enshrined in our state and federal constitutions. My judicial experience, as well as 18 years representing clients from all walks of life, has prepared me to fairly and impartially decide the most difficult cases that affect the lives of every North Carolinian.
7. Two big legal issues seem likely to reach state courts, including the NC Supreme Court, in the coming years. One issue recently decided by the NC Supreme Court and still pending review by the United States Supreme Court, is the relative authority between our state’s legislative and judicial branches to interpret and defend provisions in our state constitution that provide for free elections. Also, the recent decision by the United States Supreme Court overturning its decision in Roe v. Wade, and holding that the United States Constitution does not guarantee women a right to obtain an abortion, leaves it to state courts to decide if state constitutions provide for such a right.
8. If I’m on the Supreme Court, you can count on this – I’ll follow the law, rule independently, and keep politics out of the courtroom. Representing people from all walks of life and presiding in trials and hearings in courtrooms all across this state prepared me well to serve on the NC Court of Appeals. Reviewing and deciding appellate cases for the past eight years, and the experience of collaborating with judges to make group decisions, also has prepared me to collaborate with other justices on the NC Supreme Court. You can learn more about me at lucyinmanforjustice.com. I’d be honored to have your vote.
NC Superior Court
Michael S. Adkins
1. I have a B.A. in Political Science from Berea College, and a J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law. I am currently one of the managing shareholders of Adkins Carter, P.A., a law firm in Salisbury, primarily doing civil litigation and some criminal work.
2. I have 35 years of legal experience representing people, 30 of those here in Rowan County. I have been married to my wife, Cindy, for 38 years, and we have raised two children who graduated from the Rowan Salisbury Schools. I’ve been a deacon at Wyatt’s Grove Baptist Church for over 25 years. I’ve worked with youth in this county for years in various capacities. I was the caretaker for my parents. My life experiences combine with my legal experience to give me a good context to draw from as I serve as a judge.
3. I did run for school board once. I did not win, losing to the late Jim Emerson, who was a retired Charlotte-Mecklenburg school superintendent and former head of the Army’s education command. I did not really see that as a loss, however, given Jim’s excellent qualifications and subsequent service to our community.
5. My top 3 priorities would be (1) to establish good working relationships with the other elected officials who interact with the judicial system so that we could provide the best, most efficient administration of justice, (2) to establish an atmosphere of professionalism and respect for all, and (3) to update our policies and procedures in cooperations with those impacted by them and those who have to implement them.
6. I have been blessed to have gotten a great education, and to be a practicing layer for 35 years, during which time I have accumulated a lot of knowledge and, I hope, wisdom that I wanted to use in service to our community and to the law, and this is the best way I could think of to do that.
7. I really do not see any true legal issues that I will face. I am committed to the Rule of Law and as such I can’t really foresee any big legal issues.
8. I want voters to have confidence in the judicial system, and to know that the Constitution will be respected and followed, and that elected officials can and should be fair and seek to do what is right.
NC District Court
1. East Rowan High School 2004, BA in Pre-Law from Pfeiffer University 2007, JD from UNC 2010
2. I’ve been practicing law for 12 years and have practiced in every facet of District Court. My practice has largely focused on criminal defense (everything from speeding tickets to murders) and family law but I have also practiced in estates, incompetency, abuse, neglect, and dependency, juvenile delinquency, and general civil work.
3. I have never run for office before
4. Not applicable
5. Be a force for good in the judiciary, make sound decisions based on the law, and treat others as I would wish to be treated.
6. My primary motivation for running is that this has been my goal since I graduated from law school. I have felt called to this position and will do my best to do the right thing.
7. Biggest legal issues: grandparents’ rights of children, freedom of speech, and search and seizure.
8. I feel it is important for voters to make informed decisions and appreciate all of the different groups and organizations throughout the county that have made efforts to get information to the voters.
NC Court of Appeals
1. I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and from North Carolina Central University School of Law before joining the U.S. Navy as a Judge Advocate General (JAG). As a JAG officer, I assisted servicemembers with various legal matters to decrease distractions and to increase their mission readiness. After my active duty, I served as an Assistant District Attorney, working closely with victims and law enforcement as I prosecuted misdemeanors and felonies, and as an Assistant Federal Public Defender representing defendants charged with various federal offenses. In 2012, I was elected to serve as a Superior Court Judge in Cumberland County. I preside primarily over serious criminal and civil cases, and some administrative appeals.
2. Raised in the tobacco fields of rural North Carolina by a single mother of four, I learned at an early age the importance of hard work. I believe my humble background and my diverse legal experience balance my perspective and equip me to consider matters from various viewpoints before making a just decision.
3. I have run for Superior Court Judge twice. Each time I was unopposed and won each election.
4. As a Superior Court Judge, I serve on the Pattern Jury Instruction Committee which is responsible for drafting jury instructions for the use of District and Superior Court Judges statewide in jury trials. We review recent cases and legislation and then draft jury instructions to reflect changes in the law. Each Superior Court Judge must obtain a required number of hours for approved continuing judicial education. I serve on the Education Committee which is responsible for planning those approved continuing judicial educational programs for Superior Court Judges statewide. To complete these hours, judges must attend various presentations which could include any number of legal topics ranging from expert testimony on DNA to search warrant.
5. I believe in following the law, not someone’s political ideology; in being fair and impartial, not deciding cases based on where people come from, who they know, or what they look like; and in treating people with dignity and respect, not in a condescending, harsh, or rude manner. As judges, we must remember the tremendous impact we have on the everyday lives of people and we should not take that responsibility lightly.
6. Many of the cases heard in the Court of Appeals originate in the Superior Court, which is a trial court. As a Superior Court Judge, I understand what was likely happening in the courtroom when that Superior Court Judge made the decision that is being reviewed for error by the Court of Appeals. I have served as a Superior Court Judge for almost ten years so I would offer that unique perspective. Also, I bring to the Court of Appeals a very diverse legal background, having served in the United States Navy as a Judge Advocate General (JAG), later as an Assistant District Attorney, as an Assistant Federal Public Defender and, currently as a Superior Court Judge. I have practiced on all sides of the courtroom and have a greater understanding and firsthand knowledge of the perspectives and experiences of each of these court participants. Again, I would bring this unique perspective to the Court of Appeals.
7. There are a number of hot button topics making their way through the courts nationwide that North Carolina courts will likely address in the near future.
8. Judges are important. As members of the judicial branch, we safeguard the rights of citizens and protect the balance of power among the three branches of government. Our judiciary, therefore, must operate independently, rule fairly and impartially, and administer equal justice to all of the citizens of North Carolina. Judges must decidedly act to restore public confidence in our ability to follow the law as it is, and not as we wish it to be. We must rise above politics and remember that our oath requires us to make those decisions that are grounded in the law, fairness, and impartiality, and not fear or favor.
1. I attended public elementary and middle schools in eastern Wake County, East Wake High School (Class of 1988), and UNC-Chapel Hill where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science (Class of 1993). I then earned my Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Duke University School of Law in 1996. I practiced law with a small firm in Zebulon where I enjoyed a general practice with an emphasis on civil litigation. In my 25 years of practice, I litigated both criminal and civil cases in all levels of the state courts, from Small Claims Court to the Supreme Court, as well as US District and Bankruptcy Courts and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. I have served on the NC Court of Appeals as a judge since January 2021.
2. I am the only candidate in this race with appellate experience. I have filed appeals, I have orally argued appeals, and now as a judge, I have written over 120 appellate opinions. My legal peers voted me a Martindale-Hubbell Top Rated Lawyer in Litigation for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability.
3.Yes, I served 6 terms in the North Carolina House, being elected in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020.
4.Mothers Against Drunk Driving Legislator of the Year (2013, 2015) State Employees Association Lisa B. Mitchell Legislator of the Year (2102, 2018) North Carolina Sherriff’s Association Defender of Public Safety (2019) Police Benevolent Association Legislative Excellence Award (2018) Defender of the Environment by the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters (2019). League of Municipalities Legislative Award (2015) Mayor’s Award of Excellence for Civic Contributions (2018)
5. Fairness, Justice, Impartiality
6.I have really enjoyed serving as a judge these last 2 years and so now I am running for election so that I can continue to serve. I try to approach each case in a fair and impartial manner without any preconceived bias or desired outcome. That is the only true way to do justice. Politics has no place in our court system.
7.Maintaining the public’s trust in our judicial system.
8. The North Carolina Court of Appeals is the state’s intermediate appellate court. The Court of Appeals reviews the proceedings that occurred in the trial courts for errors of law or legal procedure; it decides only questions of law – not questions of fact. The role of the Court of Appeals is to decide if the trial court correctly applied the law, or if there was prejudicial error in the conduct of the trial. I think it’s important that we do this job timely and in a transparent fashion, recognizing that people’s lives are up in the air waiting on a final decision. Decisions should be made only on the law and the facts, nothing else. I have a lifetime of unique experiences that I bring to the job and I would like to ask the readers to consider voting for me come November.
1. Campbell University, BA in government, with highest honors, 1985; Campbell University School of Law, JD, ranked first in class, 1988; Duke University School of Law, LLM in Judicial Studies, 2014
2.Before becoming a judge, I had 16 years of experience as an attorney in private practice, representing people from all walks of life and trying cases in many counties. This experience is important because the Court of Appeals hears appeals from trial courts all over North Carolina. I also served as a District Court judge in Wake County and have served on the Court of Appeals since 2007. I have also served as an adjunct professor at Campbell Law School, teaching Judicial Process, since 2008. I have written nearly 1300 opinions while on the Court of Appeals, so I have a proven track record as a judge.
3.Elected to District Court, 10th Judicial District (Wake County); 2004 Elected to the Court of Appeals, 2006; re-elected without opposition in 2014.
4. While on the Court of Appeals, I have worked to improve the State’s courts by service on several commissions and groups, including the Courts Commission, the Family Court Advisory Commission, and the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism. I also serve as Chair of the Chief Justice’s Rules Advisory Commission, which is working on changes to rules needed to implement electronic filing in all of North Carolina’s trial courts. The eCourts system will improve public access to the trial courts, both to file documents with the courts as well as to get information from the courts. At the Court of Appeals, we have improved access to our court as all our oral arguments are available on Youtube. You can watch at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5RBqtdOMqHTErl7ysntfBA/videos?view=0&sort=p
5. As judges, we do not have policy priorities as legislative candidates do. My priorities as a judge are (1) to continue my work considering each case fully and fairly and writing opinions clearly explaining the ruling for the parties and the public, (2) To protect the integrity of the courts and to increase public trust and confidence in our judicial system, and (3) To continue to improve digital processes of the court and access to the courts..
6. I am running for re-election to continue my work on the court and as Chief Judge, working along with the other judges on the Court to improve our Court’s work, internal processes, and public access and transparency. Most of the judges on our court now are in their first terms, and it is important to keep experienced judges on the court to mentor our new judges, train our employees, and improve our court processes.
7. I will first note that under the Code of Judicial Conduct, judges cannot state how they may rule on a particular legal issue. In addition, I cannot identify a particular type of case as presenting the “biggest” issues, since the Court addresses important issues in all types of cases, whether the case is a small claims case or a first degree murder case, or anything in between. The Court of Appeals hears appeals from the District and Superior Courts in all 100 counties as well as appeals from some administrative agencies. Our cases present a tremendous variety of legal issues, and each one of those cases and issues is of utmost importance to the parties in that case. My goal is to fully and fairly consider the issues presented in each case and to write an opinion clearly applying the law and resolving the issues presented.
8. Public trust and confidence in the courts is crucial to maintain the rule of law in our society. As a judge, I have been working for nearly 18 years to protect the integrity of our courts and to increase public trust and confidence. Judges must faithfully perform their duties, comply with ethical standards, and maintain public transparency. My ultimate goal in my work on the court, as well as on various committees and commissions and as a law professor, is to increase public trust in our courts and to protect the rule of law. I am honored to have broad bipartisan support for my re-election based upon my years of work as a judge.
1. Please provide your education and your current profession.
2. Please comment on any other qualifications you would like voters to consider.
3. Have you ever run for another position, and were you elected?
4. If you held another elected position please mention 2 or more achievements.
5. Please name your top 3 priorities if elected.
6. Please note your primary motivation for running.
7. Your turn: Please respond to frequent opponent claim/s you consider false.
8. Please comment on at least three of these topics; abortion, crime, debt, pandemic, second amendment, taxes, Ukraine war.
I graduated from Tufts University in 1995. I primarily write and work on peace and social justice issues. My income comes from my veteran’s disability pay and work, such as driving for Uber.
2. I’m a disabled Marine Corps combat veteran. I live paycheck to paycheck, often solely on my veteran disability payments. Due to my disability, I went five years unable to earn an income. This, more than anything else, has prepared me to represent working families in Washington, DC.
In 2009, I resigned in protest my position with the State Department in Afghanistan over the escalation of that war. I’ve worked in Washington, DC, with members of Congress and their staff for over a decade on war and peace, veterans issues and foreign policy. I’m very familiar with how Congress and the DC establishment operate, and this, perhaps, is the best explanation as to why I am running with the Green Party and not as a Democrat or Republican. Locally, I have done peer support in the veterans and homeless communities.
3. No, I am a first-time candidate.
4. Across North Carolina, I hear the same three issues: healthcare, housing and drugs. Millions of people in NC live without healthcare due to being uninsured or underinsured, while more than 20% of NC adults are in collections for medical debt. I am the only candidate in the US Senate race calling for an end to for-profit healthcare and establishing a universal healthcare system, e.g., Medicare for all. Housing is unaffordable everywhere. Home prices are out of reach for most working families, while rents have increased at a staggering rate of 25-50%. I am the only candidate calling for measures like rent control, public banking and banning corporations from purchasing single-family homes. The destruction of individual lives, families and communities by the War on Drugs through mass incarceration must end, and we need to treat substance abuse and addiction not as crimes but as public health issues.
5. People I love live with the brutal costs of the policies of the Democratic and Republican parties. Family and friends must check their bank accounts before going to the doctor. Neighbors had to move because corporations purchased their homes. I know a half dozen families ruined by deaths from opioid overdoses, while many others live with the unending costs of the War on Drugs’ mass incarceration policies. I participated in the counterproductive and immoral Iraq and Afghanistan wars built upon and sustained by lies. There has never been any accountability for those wars. Nor has there been accountability for the parade of recessions and financial collapses that provide foreclosures, unemployment and inflation for working families and bailouts, subsidies, tax breaks and record profits for corporations and banks. Similarly, there has not been any real action to address the existential danger of climate change.
6. This past summer, the North Carolina Green Party and my campaign had to go to federal court to be allowed to participate in this election. This was necessary because of a well-funded legal campaign by the Democratic Party to keep the Green Party off the ballot. This campaign, from the highest levels of the Democratic Party, falsely asserted my campaign and the Green Party had committed fraud in achieving ballot access. A multi-month review by the North Carolina State Board of Elections and lawsuits in US District Court, Federal Appeals Court and Wake County Superior Court all demonstrated that the charges against us were untrue and without evidence. Even though we clearly prevailed, our ability to participate in elections and represent voters who otherwise would not be represented was dramatically impacted. Voter suppression occurs in multiple forms by both of the major parties.
7. Abortion: Abortion, like other reproductive rights, is healthcare, and healthcare is a human right. Abortion is ultimately the sole decision of a woman. Like all other forms of healthcare, abortion should be available through a universal single-payer healthcare system available to all people without cost at the point of service. Abortion should be available without conditions and judgment. We must ensure women and their families have all the resources they need for healthy and productive lives, and we must protect abortion seekers and providers from violence.
Debt/Taxes: More than half of our discretionary federal budget goes to the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex. Subsidies of tens of billions of dollars are provided yearly to corporations making record profits; meanwhile, corporations, banks and the wealthy pay lower tax rates than small businesses and working families. Cutting the Pentagon budget, ending corporate subsidies and making corporations and banks pay their fair share of taxes is the first step to reducing the national debt.
Second Amendment: I carried rifles and pistols in combat. The American people have the right to use firearms for self-defense and hunting. Still, we must implement measures like background checks, proper training standards, and mandatory waiting periods. A thorough in-person licensing and training program should be a requirement for possessing a firearm, especially outside the home. We must also work to dismantle the gun lobby, whose continued obstruction of common sense gun regulations puts us all in danger.
Crime: Prohibition and poverty are and have long been, the primary root causes of crime. End the decades-long, failed, counterproductive and shameful War on Drugs. We must address the deep state of poverty by ensuring all people are paid a living wage and have healthcare and access to free public education from pre-K through college (including trade/vocational programs).
US House of Representatives
1. I currently serve as the Congressman for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. I am a double Tarheel, graduating with both a bachelor’s degree and a Juris Doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
2. After graduating from Chapel Hill Law, I began a 29-year career as a business litigator. Throughout my time as a litigator and in public service, I’ve always stood for conservative values and have never run from a fight. I guarantee the 8th Congressional District that I will always put their interests and America first.
3. From 2004 to 2008, I served as a Mecklenburg County Commissioner. I did not intend to hold public office again but was inspired to run for the North Carolina House so I could join the conservative revolution in the General Assembly. After that, I was elected to the North Carolina Senate and served there until I was elected to Congress in a 2019 special election.
4. In the North Carolina General Assembly, I joined my fellow Republicans in cutting taxes, reducing government waste, raising teacher pay, and ending sanctuary cities. I am also proud of two constitutional amendments we put forward that were overwhelmingly passed by the voters – the voter ID amendment and the amendment capping the income tax at 4.5%. Unfortunately, these amendments have been tied up in the courts by activist judges.
5. My top priority next Congress is to conduct robust oversight of the Biden Administration, including reining in the intelligence state. The FBI and our intelligence agencies have illegally surveilled Americans, entrapped individuals, and interfered with elections. Should Republicans take the majority, we must be creative and relentless in bringing light to these misdeeds, including creating a select committee, like the 1975 Church Committee, to investigate these agencies.
Second, Congress must rethink its approach to foreign policy. While we must have a strong national defense, we cannot afford to foot the bill for globalist foreign entanglements. It is essential that Congress reassert its Article I war powers authority and use the power of the purse to rein in the security state.
Finally, we must address the Swamp’s reckless spending. Republicans must make dramatic changes to how we conduct business in Washington. That means making tough decisions to ensure we do not bankrupt our children and grandchildren.
6. America is at a perilous crossroads, and we cannot afford to choose the wrong path. We need elected officials who fight for American rights and values and will stand up to the Left’s cultural destruction. All too often, politicians put their interests above their constituents’ interests. I will not, no matter the cost. I will always listen to and fight for my constituents, no matter how the Swamp may view or attack me.
7. My opponent can’t tell you what a woman is – that’s almost all you need to know.
Democrat attacks on police have caused an explosion of crime. In Congress, I will continue to be a strong voice for law and order. Americans have the right to live safely in their communities, and the best way to deter crime is to arrest, prosecute, and jail those who commit crimes.
The national debt is $31 trillion, and inflation is skyrocketing due to Democrats’ reckless spending. We can no longer afford to spend money we don’t have. I will stand against reckless spending regardless of which party is in control.
As Frederick Douglass once said: “A man’s rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.” I strongly support the Second Amendment and will always defend this God-given right in Congress.
I am troubled by our nation’s response to the war in Ukraine. Putin is an aggressor, and the United States should play a proportional role in supporting Ukraine’s self-defense. However, the Washington Uniparty has transformed the conflict into a U.S.-Russia proxy war. At $69 billion in appropriations so far, the United States has committed more than double the support of the rest of the world and three times that of Europe – which should be taking the lead for a European crisis. American taxpayers have already borne a cost more than double our first year in Afghanistan, while Biden has erased the southwestern American border and saddled Americans with crushing inflation. Rumors now emerge of some Republicans favoring another $50 billion appropriation early next year. And American troops are positioned near the Ukrainian border in a potential powder keg. In the next Congress, I will push for restraint and a prompt diplomatic resolution of the war and a dramatic curtailment of U.S. expenditures.