Legislator Profile

North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rick Horner (R-Johnston, Nash)

Sen. Rick Horner (R-Johnston, Nash) is currently serving his second term in the North Carolina Senate. Prior to his election to Senate, Horner served as a board member of the Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools Board for over fourteen years.

Since his election in 2016, Horner has made inconsistent claims about his support for health care access and education. Horner said the state should “take a serious look” at Medicaid expansion, but provided no further information on his position. Horner supported the 2019 budget, which failed to expand Medicaid. The 2019 Republican budget would have cut DHHS’s budget by $42 million.

Horner said he wants to bring urgency, accountability, and quality to education in North Carolina but as a lawmaker his votes did not support these claims. Horner, whose wife is a teacher, campaigned on teacher pay and said, “we need to listen to teachers,” but criticized the teacher rally and failed to follow through with his votes. Horner was the primary sponsor of a bill requiring school districts to repeal discipline policies that warned about racial disparities. Read more here.

"Not everyone up here was screaming bloody murder," Horner said when asked about the tensions between lawmakers and educators.” (Rocky Mount Telegram, 5/17/18)

 

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: UPDATED Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford)

Jon Hardister, the House Majority Whip and close ally of Speaker Tim Moore, was elected to represent Guilford County in 2012. Hardister played a key role in the recent ambush vote to override the Governor’s veto of the 2019 Republican budget. Hardister texted rank-and-file Republicans to “be in your seats” during the floor session in which Rep. David Lewis told Democrats there would be no votes. Hardister’s participation in the deception on September 11, 2019, is just the latest on a long list of times he said one thing but did another.

“As Hardister knows well, North Carolina’s motto is “Esse quam videri”— “To be, rather than to seem.” I’m starting to suspect that he has it the other way around.” -Greensboro News & Record, Opinion, 10/13/19

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Charles Graham (D-Robeson)

Representative Charles Graham (D-Robeson) was elected to the North Carolina House in 2010 and is currently serving his fifth term.

Graham has a history of siding with Republicans instead of his constituents when it comes to protecting clean air and water. Graham’s votes prioritized big corporations like Duke Energy instead of the people he was elected to represent. 

Graham voted for H467 in 2017, which prioritized big agricultural companies over nearby residents suffering from environmental hazards affecting their quality of life. Graham also supported H576, a bill that would have allowed landfill operators to dispose of “garbage juice” by spraying it into the air, sending harmful chemicals flying over neighbors’ homes and businesses. Robeson county is majority people of color and people of color are more likely to live near solid waste facilities. Finally, Graham voted in support of S729, which allowed Duke Energy to charge customers to clean up its coal ash mess, but the bill did not include Robeson county on the list for priority cleanup. Read more here.

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Senator Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg)

Dan Bishop (R- Mecklenburg) is serving his second term in the NC Senate. Prior to joining the NC Senate, Bishop was a representative in the NC House for one term.

Bishop repeatedly voted against making health care more affordable and accessible for North Carolinians.He was the only NC Senator to favor big pharmaceutical companies over North Carolinians and vote against H384, a bill that protected small community pharmacists and kept prescriptions affordable. Bishop, along with other Senate Republicans, chose to amend a school safety bill to include provisions intended to destabilize the Affordable Care Act, once again failing to protect North Carolinians’ health care.

Bishop was a primary sponsor of HB2, demonstrating how little he cares about protecting the LGBTQ+ community in NC. Not only did HB2 fail to protect the LGBTQ+ community, but it also cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Bishop was more than willing to prioritize his discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community above the NC economy.

In 2015 Bishop voted to increase taxes on NC families and small business owners, making it more expensive to do business, get a driver’s license, and have a baby. He also voted to cut food stamps for 100,000 North Carolinians. Read more here.

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Sen. Don Davis (D-Greene, Pitt)

Sen. Don Davis (D-Greene, Pitt) is currently serving his fifth term in the North Carolina Senate. Before his election, Davis taught sociology at Lenoir Community College, Pitt Community College, and East Carolina University. He also served eight years of active duty in the Air Force. Davis got his start in politics as the mayor of Snow Hill, serving from 2001 to 2008.

Davis supported Republican leadership instead of standing up for the people in his district. Davis voted for a Republican budgets that shortchanged teachers and cut taxes for corporations instead of raising per pupil spending. He again stood with Republicans and voted to dismantle health care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Read more here.

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford)

Jon Hardister, the House Majority Whip and close ally of Speaker Tim Moore, was elected to represent Guilford County in 2012.

Since his election to the General Assembly, Hardister supported Republican budgets that shortchange public education by failing to meaningfully raise teacher salaries or fund classrooms.In 2017, the Republican budget gave no raises to beginning teachers and a 0.6 percent raise to experienced teachers— the equivalent of “just a tank of gas.” He has also supported moves to end tenure while asserting that having an advanced degree “does not necessarily make a teacher more effective.” Hardister called the 2017 budget “a commitment to public education.” This “commitment to public education” did not include a stipend to aid teachers with out-of-pocket expenses. After voting to pass the 2013 budget—which similarly failed to adequately fund schools— Hardister said he came to regret his vote after “experiencing firsthand how hard the teachers work.”

Hardister voted to deny affordable insurance to thousands.In 2013, he and the Republicans voted to block a fully-funded Medicaid expansion that covered half a million North Carolinians. Studies said this failure to expand affordable healthcare would cost the state $15 billion in new economic activity and 455 to 1,145 lives per year. Hardister later said it would be “unwise” to expand Medicaid and that we need to be “cautious about expanding the role of government in healthcare.” In 2018, Hardister and House Republicans used a loophole on a non-controversial bill to attempt to dismantle coverage for pre-existing conditions. By adding an amendment to an unrelated school psychologist licensure bill, Republicans tried to pass a statute that would discriminate against those with pre-existing health conditions, offer skimpy benefits, and come with few or no consumer protections.   

Hardister likes to harp on redistricting reform as a talking point but chose to repeatedly support unconstitutional districts that suppress voters’ electoral power. He has sponsored three independent redistricting bills, but they all stalled in committee. To avoid “double-bunking” with incumbent Guilford representative John Faircloth, Hardister moved, even though he says he believes the “seats don’t belong to us, they belong to the people.” After both the 2011 and 2017 legislative maps were struck down by the courts, Hardister said he believed the maps were “in compliance with the law.” He also helped draw the 2016 congressional maps that were later thrown out in court. When Sen. Trudy Wade tried to pass a Greensboro City Council redistricting bill, Hardister said he would oppose the bill. He “caved when it counted,” changing his vote at the last minute.

Read more here.

Photo: Greensboro News & Record
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North Carolina Candidate Profile: Chuck Kitchen (NC Court of Appeals)

Sidney “Chuck” Kitchen is a GOP-affiliated attorney who has worked as both the Alamance County Attorney and the Durham County Attorney and currently works at a private law practice in Chapel Hill, Stark Law Group. He is currently the town attorney for Holly Ridge. The Stark Law Group is the law group often used by the NCGOP. Thomas Stark alleged, on behalf of Pat McCrory, that voter malfeasance occurred in Durham during the 2016 election. The allegations were disproved, but delayed election results.

Kitchen has been pictured getting cozy with Republican leaders; he attended Dan Forest’s birthday party and has been photographed with Thom Tillis and Tim Moore.

Kitchen represented Alamance sheriff Terry Johnson when Johnson was accused of targeting the Hispanic community through discriminatory checkpoints and ethnic slurs. Kitchen defended Johnson by citing his supposed Cherokee ancestry and said individuals in the case had their own “ax to grind” with the sheriff. He noted that Johnson was “very sensitive” and doesn’t tolerate discrimination, yet the judge in the case noted that jail officers under Johnson’s supervision targeted minorities with ethnic slurs. Kitchen was paid at least $357,360 by Alamance County for representing Johnson.

Kitchen was removed from his position as Durham County Attorney because of a conflict that was triggered by a developer’s lawsuit.The lawsuit alleged that Kitchen “interceded in a matter outside his authority” and got involved in a Jordan Lake dispute at a planning director’s request. 

As the attorney for Durham County, Kitchen was embroiled in multiple issues involving animal control, Durham County Schools, same-sex marriage, and guns.Kitchen was accused of “usurping the animal control board’s power” by increasing the pet licensing fee without board input.” He said Durham County didn’t need anyone’s permission to start charging schools for essential services like water and sewer and dismissed a lawsuit two men filed after their marriage license was rejected. As the Durham County Attorney, Kitchen said the “guns, especially pistols, are designed to shoot and kill people.”

Read more about Kichen here.

 

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North Carolina Candidate Profile: Jefferson Griffin (NC Court of Appeals)

Jefferson Griffin is currently a Wake County District Court Judge seeking election to the NC Court of Appeals for the seat being vacated by Ann Marie Calabria. While he insists he is not campaigning as a Republican judge, his record speaks differently. He was a Pat McCrory pick for a Distric…

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North Carolina Legislator Profile update: Larry Yarborough (R-Person, Granville)

Yarborough simply follows his Republican colleagues lead and votes in line with his party, which has resulted in a lack of public education funding in North Carolina. Yarborough voted for multiple Republican budgets, all of which failed to meaningfully increase teacher pay and left NC nearly…

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North Carolina Candidate Profile: Andrew Heath (NC Court of Appeals)

Former Governor Pat McCrory’s budget director Andrew Heath landed a job as a judge during the final days of McCrory’s administration after the legislature used the December 2016 special session to add several Superior and District Court judge seats, so McCrory could appoint a few judges on his way out of office.

Heath is challenging incumbent judge John Arrowood for his seat on the N.C. Court of Appeals, the state’s second highest court. Arrowood was appointed to his seat in 2017 after Judge Doug McCullough resigned to foil Republicans’ court packing plan. Arrowood also served on the court from 2007 to 2008. Meanwhile, Heath’s primary credentials include three jobs given to him by Former Governor McCrory, creating major questions about his ability to be an independent and fair judge. 

Heath has a record of siding with business over people. He was chair of the Industrial Commission, his first (of three) McCrory appointments, and served on the board of a Koch-funded “workers’ education” nonprofit. Heath’s record on the Commission fundamentally altered its ability to protect North Carolina workers and decide workers’ compensation disputes; he stacked the deck against workers every time. 

Heath’s three most recent jobs were appointments by McCrory, calling into question his independence as a judge. His inexperience showed in his role as McCrory’s budget director. Heath’s budget left teachers behind, saying it showed restraint for not “showering money” on teachers to “gain political points.” He also downplayed the significant economic impacts of discriminatory HB2. 

Heath will be a close ally for Republicans on the court, placing partisanship ahead of the needs of some of the most vulnerable North Carolinians. He turned to Twitter just days after the election he took to Twitter, using questionable math to imply voter fraud should invalidate Roy Cooper’s defeat of McCrory. His willingness to use questionable data to defend his boss and political patron shows who he’ll stand up for on the state’s second highest court. 

Continue reading for more about Judge Andrew Heath, candidate for the NC Court of Appeals.

Source: News & Observer

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