Octobert 12,  2018


State Senate Candidates Share Their Views
Reprinted from the Ocracoke Observer

North Carolina State Senate District 1 covers Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington counties.

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 problem.

D. Cole Phelps (D – Creswell)

Education

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.

Health Care
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 this district.

Ferry Access
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.

Offshore drilling
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
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.

Constitutional amendments
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.



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