Octobert 12, 2018
State Senate Candidates Share Their Views
Reprinted from the Ocracoke Observer
Carolina State Senate District 1 covers Camden, Chowan, Currituck,
Dare, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and
This race will pit D. Cole Phelps (D – Creswell) against Bob Steinburg (R-Edenton).
Incumbent, Bill Cook (R-Beaufort) who had served in this seat for four
years, was not eligible to run for reelection due to redistricting that
took his residency out of District 1.
Steinburg is serving his third two-year term as a state House
representative from the 1st District. He defeated Clark Twiddy in the
Republican primary, getting 58 percent of the vote.
Phelps is serving his second term as a Washington County commissioner.
He has a law practice in Plymouth. Although in the primary he had an
opponent, that person was declared ineligible to run due to a residency
D. Cole Phelps (D – Creswell)
My primary goals are restoring funding to the traditional public school
systems and state supported community college and universities; raising
public school teacher salaries to meet the national average;
compensating our teachers for advanced degrees, longevity and
certification; ensuring that all the areas of Senate District One have
high-speed broadband internet access. In addition, educational
offerings need to include trades as well as modern technical fields
including information technology, biotechnology, robotics, web design
and system design and other advanced studies in secondary schools,
community colleges and universities.
During my time as a Washington County commissioner, we were able for
the first time to pay county supplements to our public school teachers.
In addition, during my term, we were able to establish a community
college branch in our county for the first time so that our residents
could receive higher education nearby and not have to drive long
distances to get the higher education and training they wanted.
Finally, I established the D. Cole Phelps Scholarship Foundation to
provide university and community college scholarships to residents of
Washington County and surrounding counties. For the past five years,
the scholarship fund has grown, and we were able to assist in the
education of 35 local students.
I will work to expand Medicaid in North Carolina. In this way, we can
start to reverse the trend of rural hospital closure that resulted from
our legislature failing to expand Medicaid. Rural areas must have
improved access to good medical care.
During my time as a Washington County commissioner, we were able to
locate a medical clinic in our county for the first time and our
residents no longer have to drive long distances to see good medical
providers. I would like to see this availability in every county in
I believe Ocracoke Island residents and property owners must have
dependable, convenient, safe and free access to ferry transportation. I
will work to support this.
I am opposed to offshore drilling and seismic testing on the basis that
these activities pose an existential risk to our tourism-based economy
and as well as to our fisheries. This risk greatly outweighs any
benefit that might be gained by allowing it.
Commercial fishing is a substantial economic driver for all coastal
economies and I support our fishermen. The current legislature worked
to establish out-of-state fish farms which adversely affect our
commercial fisheries. I will work to assist our commercial fishermen in
getting the legislation and regulation reform they need so that they
can make a living.
Preserving Ocracoke’s unique environment
Ocracoke has a unique and very pleasing environment. My goal is
to communicate effectively with each of the eleven counties in this
district to help the residents preserve the unique characteristics of
their county as we modernize and adapt to what our future has to offer.
I recommend that the voters oppose the constitutional amendments this
election because 1) they are unnecessary in that citizens already have
these rights or the power to impose them; 2) will disrupt the balance
of power between the three branches of government; and/or 3) tie the
hands of future lawmakers who encounter unforeseen circumstances. North
Carolina currently has a very well-drafted and comprehensive
constitution. These amendments were drafted in haste and all unintended
consequences have not been explored.
Bob Steinburg (R-Edenton)
This year, the top issues are the economy, schools, and constitutional
amendments. Our hometowns have the assets for a promising future, and
thanks to the policies I’ve fought for, our community can ensure
prosperity for generations to come.
From day one, I’ve focused on job growth throughout the region. We cut
taxes, eliminated red tape, and saved for emergencies. I led the effort
to attract new manufacturing and processing jobs by partnering the
state with the Virginia Port Authority’s Port of Norfolk and expanding
the Foreign Trade Zone status to include Northeastern North Carolina.
I believe every student deserves the opportunity to succeed. The best
help the state can provide is directing education funding to the
classroom. I’ve increased education funding every year, including five
consecutive teachers’ pay raises. In fact, half of all new state
spending went directly to K-12 classrooms since Republicans gained
control in 2011 – double the rate of the previous eight years.
I voted for all six constitutional amendments because I believe they
will improve the protections taxpayers expect. From protecting against
voter fraud and leftists’ assault on hunting and fishing, to limiting
the income tax and partisan election administration – our state needs
all six amendments.