Forum crowd hears some differences in state Senate & Congression - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Forum crowd hears some differences in state Senate & Congressional candidates

Posted: Updated:
Democratic candidates for NC Senate Danny Hefner and Ernie Ward discuss the issues at a forum Wednesday night Democratic candidates for NC Senate Danny Hefner and Ernie Ward discuss the issues at a forum Wednesday night

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Primary candidates running for seats in Raleigh and Washington, DC largely agreed with each other during a candidates' forum Wednesday night at the Senior Resources Center in New Hanover County. But, some differences did emerge on a few issues, which voters might use to make their decisions when casting ballots in the May 6 elections.

The first of three forums organized by WECT and the League of Women Voters of the Lower Cape Fear brought together candidates running for the Republican nomination in the race for state Senate in District 9, the seat currently held by Sen. Thom Goolsby. Michael Burns, Justin LaNasa and Michael Lee expressed a lot of the same views on issues such as legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes in North Carolina, opposing Common Core standards for public schools and supporting taxpayer-funded opportunity scholarships, or vouchers, for students to attend private or charter schools. The issue where they stood apart slightly dealt with supporting incentives, including the film incentives program due to run out at the end of 2014. Two separate reports varied in whether the incentives proved beneficial to the state.

Lee told the crowd he supports incentives, with strong objectives to measure success. "If I could eliminate incentives across the United States, I would," Lee said. "I don't have the power to do that in other states we are competing with as far as the film incentives goes, whether it's Michigan or Georgia or other states. So I think we need to have that particular tool in our toolbox in order to compete for an industry that has given a lot to New Hanover County and to the state as a whole."

LaNasa said overall, he does not believe in incentives, but admitted the film incentives package is one that needs to be considered. "It's a bad thing to have large corporations getting mass amounts of tax dollars," LaNasa said. "Being a resident of New Hanover County, I see the people downtown looking at ‘One Tree Hill' sites and how much tourism it brings. That's one thing that was left out of the surveys that I think is a critical factor in bringing revenue to this town.  I think we do need to look at this film incentive package and have a better understanding of exactly what it does bring to New Hanover County, rather than turn it down with a blind eye and not really look into the whole matter."

Burns said the film incentives program is not something that needs to be done away with completely. But he suggests looking closely into the numbers before making any final decision. "I do believe the money could be spent more equally across the board," Burns said in regards to the film incentives. "I believe we need to look at both surveys, see where the math came from, and delve into where the money is going and how it is being spent. I am not a fan of getting rid of the film incentives one hundred percent, but I do believe it is something we have to look at and we have to make smart choices for our state to go forward."

Both Democratic candidates running in the state Senate District 8 primary, Danny Hefner and Ernie Ward, agreed on their support for the film incentives and on their opposition to taxpayer-funded opportunity scholarships. The two men from Brunswick County did slightly vary on how they believe lawmakers should go about funding proposed pay raises for the state's public school teachers.

Hefner said creating jobs and stronger economy is a must to find the necessary funding to bring teacher salaries more in line with the national average. "You have to have a revenue stream," Hefner said, stressing its' importance.  "The way to provide that revenue stream is to focus on jobs creation. Everything ties back to these jobs.  We have lost way too many, and without that revenue stream you cannot fund the system."

Ward says he believes the necessary funding already exists within state government, and lawmakers need to make tough choices to direct it the proper way.

"The money is there, it is simply one (case) of prioritization," Ward told the crowd in the second of the three forums.  "So, while I believe we need to grow our economy and so forth, we must get our priorities straight."

The final segment brought together two Democratic candidates running for the Seventh Congressional District nomination, looking to succeed incumbent Rep. Mike McIntyre, who is retiring. Unlike McIntyre, both Jonathan Barfield and Walter Martin, Jr.  said they would support President Obama's Affordable Care Act, and would also vote to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The two men differed on what they consider to be the greatest threat to the country's national security.

Martin, the former law enforcement officer and town council member from Princeton, NC, said he thinks homegrown terrorism threatens the national security. "Terrorists from other countries are able to make contact with united states-born citizens and have them turn against their own country," Martin said.

Barfield, a current member and former Chairman of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners, said he believes the biggest threat is in air travel. "The TSA is doing a great job, but we focus so much on American citizens as opposed to those who are traveling into our country," he said. "I think we need to have tighter controls on those who are coming into our country to make sure they are not bringing in any type of weapons that might be hurting American citizens."

Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved.

 

  • PoliticsMore>>

  • Industry leaders react to proposed film incentive program cuts

    Industry leaders react to proposed film incentive program cuts

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:53 AM EDT2014-07-30 11:53:51 GMT
    Lawmakers in Raleigh will likely vote later this week on a compromise budget agreement reached by conferees this past weekend, after negotiations extended the General Assembly session longer than many
    Pay raises for teachers, more vacation days for state workers, and less money for film incentives are all part of the $21.2 billion budget plan agreed on by negotiators in the state House and Senate. The deal will likely be voted on by lawmakers this week in the General Assembly.
  • NC Senate leader expects budget votes this week after deal reached

    NC Senate leader expects budget votes this week after deal reached

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:56 AM EDT2014-07-29 11:56:24 GMT
    North Carolina Senate leaders say they hope to have a final budget to vote on this week. Senate Leader Phil Berger said Monday both chambers are working together to finalize the budget and says he hopes
    Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) says he expects members of the General Assembly to vote on a compromise budget plan by the end of the week. Committee members reached agreement this weekend on teacher pay raises, teaching assistant positions and funding Medicaid, which have been the three major sticking points in negotiations.
  • NC Senate passes bill to reform Medicaid, bill goes to House

    NC Senate passes bill to reform Medicaid, bill goes to Senate

    Thursday, July 24 2014 9:15 PM EDT2014-07-25 01:15:35 GMT
    The North Carolina Senate has given tentative approval to a bill that changes how Medicaid is administered and paid for in the state. Senators approved the measure, 28-17, on Thursday. It would create
    State lawmakers in the Senate on Thursday passed a bill to partially privatize Medicaid by changing how the program is administrated and financed.
Powered by WorldNow

310 Broadway
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

FCC Public File
publicfile@kfvs12.com
573-335-1212
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KFVS12. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.