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Rep. Ross misrepresented his record on education, clean water and taxes in an ad where he tried to run away from his three-time incumbency

Rep. Steve Ross (R-Alamance) is running for a fourth term in the North Carolina House of Representatives.

In a new ad, Ross claims he’s made several legislative decisions that help Alamance County: boosting teacher pay, safeguarding schools, protecting clean water and cutting income tax for 99 percent of families. His record proves otherwise.

Claim 1: “He fought to boost teacher pay.”

Ross regularly votes in-step with his party to pass budgets that have let North Carolina education fall further behind. 

In 2017 Ross voted for a budget that allocated 30 percent less education spending than Governor Cooper’s, leaving per-pupil spending below pre-recession levels. Starting and experienced teachers received either no raise or a slight raise that one teacher described as little more than a tank of gas per month. Additionally, the 2017 budget did not include any stipend to help teachers with out-of-pocket expenses for classroom supplies.  

Claim 2: “He fought to safeguard our schools.”

Ross is a member of the House Select Committee on School Safety. The committee was formed in response to the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Despite this, there was been little to no mention of creating simple protections to keep guns out of the hands of those experiencing mental health issues or with active domestic violence orders against them.

Instead, Ross and other committee members chose to allocate funds to an app that would allow students to report anonymous tips—though law enforcement is limited in how they could respond to tips, Rep. Darren Jackson (D-Wake) pointed out.

Claim 3: “He fought to protect our water.”

Ross has no problem voting to protect corporations and their profits over consumers and his constituents when it comes to the environment and protecting drinking water. Since winning the HD 63 seat, Ross received at least $5,000 from Energy PACs and voted for multiple bills that damage the environment.These include repealing the OBX plastic bag ban, allowing Duke Energy to pass pollution costs onto consumers, limiting the compensation people can receive in lawsuits filed against agricultural operations for disturbances, allowing the aerosolization of leachate, and rolling back other environmental protections.

Name

Date

Amount

PSNC Energy PAC

10/31/16

500

Duke Energy Corporation PAC

9/8/16

1000

Duke Energy Corporation PAC

3/1/16

2000

Duke Energy PAC

9/19/14

1000

Piedmont Natural Gas PAC

4/14/14

250

PSNC Energy PAC

4/7/14

500

Total: $5,250

Source: NCSBE

After receiving these contributions, Ross voted for the “Duke Bailout Bill,” a measure that would reclassify coal ash spills as low-risk, despite the fact that the toxic material contaminated rivers all over the state. He also voted for an earlier bill that allowed Duke to pass coal ash cleanup expenses onto ratepayers. 

Ross voted for the 2017 budget which cut environmental protection jobs and resulted in companies being allowed to operate under outdated permits due to lack of enforcement. This weakened the state’s ability to respond to crises like GenX contamination. Ross and the Republicans of the General Assembly voted for cuts to water protection “just days” after news of the GenX spill broke.

In 2012 Stephen Ross supported a veto override to move forward with hydraulic fracking in North Carolina. He also voted for a bill that inadequately funded the response to the GenX crisis, allocating just $435,000, even though DEQ and DHHS requested $2.6 million. In 2017, Ross voted to pass a bill that would allow the spraying of “garbage juice” without a permit, allowing landfills to aerosolize harmful chemicals.  

Claim 4: “He fought to cut income taxes for 99 percent of North Carolina’s families.”  

In the ad Ross says he brought these ideas to the legislature from Alamance County. In 2013, Ross voted to end the Earned Income Tax Credit; 23 percent of people in Alamance County claimed the EITC on their tax returns in 2012. While in place, the EITC helped families working for low wages and reduced poverty. According to the NC Justice Center, 18.9 percent of residents of Alamance County live in poverty (2.5 percent higher than the state poverty rate) and 42.2 percent of residents were considered low-income (meaning their incomes were less than twice the federal poverty level). Additionally, since 2013, Republicans have expanded sales taxes to include items like car repairs and ticket sales, shifting the tax burden to low- and middle-income citizens.

Despite the fact that he claims to be “one of us,” Steve Ross is clearly beholden to his party, corporate polluters, and the wealthy, rather than his constituents back home in Alamance County. He faces Democrat Erica McAdoo, a small business owner and local farmer.