Posted Monday, October 31, 2016 10:40 pm
Wilson Daily Times, Wilson NC
In the days leading up to Election Day, The Wilson Times is publishing candidate Q&As for each contested local race. Responses are listed in alphabetical order by last name.
Education: Bachelor’s degree from N.C. Central University; J.D. from N.C. Central School of Law
Professional background: Attorney, judge and member of Congress
Political background: Seven-term congressman
Family: Three children, three grandchildren.
H. Powell Dew Jr.
Education: B.S. from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; master’s and doctorate degrees from Campbell University Divinity School
Professional background: Pastor
Political background: First run for public office
Family: Wife, Sharon; two children, one grandchild
Education: B.A. from Davidson College, master’s degree from Wake Forest University
Professional background: Employee benefits wholesaler
Political background: First run for public office
Family: Wife, Virginia; three children
Compiled by Brie Handgraaf
Wilson Times Staff Writer
Two political newcomers have put their names in the hat to represent the 1st Congressional District with the hope of defeating longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield.
Republican H. Powell Dew Jr., a pastor from Stantonsburg, and Libertarian J.J. Summerell of Greensboro are campaigning for the chance to represent the district at the national level. It is an uphill battle, though, to defeat the 12-year incumbent — so much so that Dew recently compared the fight to David and Goliath in the Bible.
All three candidates recently were given the following questions and limited to responses of 100 words in hopes of swaying the voters to cast a ballot in their favor:
Jobs and the local economy are major priorities for the 1st District. What is your plan to address these concerns?
BUTTERFIELD: Since coming to Congress in 2004, I have been a tireless advocate for eastern North Carolinians. I have used my position to help direct hundreds of millions of federal dollars to benefit the district. I have worked to address the economy in the district by making investments in good-paying jobs, making affordable housing available so that every family has a safe and healthy home to raise their children and providing every child with a quality education regardless of ZIP code. I am very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish and I will continue to work for the people I am privileged to represent.
DEW: Without a doubt, people in the district need jobs. After traveling to every county in the district and speaking with many people, the erosion of our manufacturing base has got to be the single most reason for the lack of jobs. Very few things are “Made in America” today. NAFTA has allowed our jobs to go overseas and we have created a hostile business environment that essentially invited our businesses to leave. I believe we need to reduce regulations, streamline the tax code and create an environment where business will want to return to America.
SUMMERELL: My plan for a Basic Income Guarantee would provide an economic environment conducive to industry compatible with the 1st Congressional District’s workforce.
House Bill 2 has a widespread social and economic impact on the state. Is action needed in D.C., and if so, what effort would you support?
BUTTERFIELD: North Carolina’s House Bill 2 is contrary to American values. In May, the U.S. Department of Justice determined that the law violates federal civil rights law and that department is prepared to take enforcement action if the North Carolina General Assembly does not repeal HB2. Although this is a state-mandated law, I have been joined by my colleagues Congresswoman Alma Adams and Congressman David Price in repeatedly calling on the governor to fully repeal HB2. If HB2 is not repealed, our state will continue to lose millions of dollars as well as private-sector businesses and lost tax revenue.
DEW: HB2 has had many unintended consequences! Who would have thought the ACC, NCAA or the NBA would cancel their tournaments in NC as a result of this legislation? In my opinion, the N.C. legislature made the right decision to roll back Charlotte’s ordinance. They made the right decision to restrict the use of bathrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities to individuals based on their sex stated on their birth certificate. Failure to take these steps could have resulted in the invasion of privacy of women and children across this state — with no legal recourse to stop the invasion.
SUMMERELL: No action needed. The Republicans in North Carolina will never do anything that stupid again and the other 49 states have learned from our mistakes. Even D.C. cannot regulate stupidity!
Despite the passing of the Affordable Care Act, many still struggle with medical care. What effort would you be a part of to address this issue and why?
BUTTERFIELD: In 2010, President Obama and the United States Congress acted to repair a broken health care system that left millions of Americans uninsured or financially burdened by the high cost of medical care. The Affordable Care Act is about improving the health of our families and building a healthier America. Under the ACA, states are allowed to expand Medicaid to all non-eligible adults with incomes under 133 percent of the federal poverty level. I support North Carolina’s expansion of Medicaid so fewer individuals are left uncovered. If North Carolina expanded Medicaid, an additional 312,000 uninsured people would gain coverage.
DEW: The ACA was a poorly thought out plan with a naive understanding of how the free-market system really works. Yes, it has helped many people get insurance that was unaffordable at the time. It has helped students stay on their parents’ policy longer. But it has also expanded what was covered, raised deductibles, limited coverage options and forced unnecessary, unwanted benefits on individuals. Today it is unraveling under its own weight. Congress needs to repeal/replace ACA and implement many of the options that were available before this terrible piece of legislation was passed.
SUMMERELL: The BIG would provide funding for those who choose to buy health insurance. A BIG would replace Medicaid and Obamacare.
What is the one goal you are committed to accomplishing if elected and why is that necessary for people in eastern North Carolina?
BUTTERFIELD: Everyone deserves an equal shot at success in America. But, for too many Americans, the American dream seems out of reach. Too many North Carolinians struggle to make ends meet. That is why I am working to expand opportunity to all Americans and ensure lower- and middle-class families have a seat at the decision-making table. In eastern North Carolina, this means a continued focus on creating jobs and raising incomes to ensure hard work is rewarded. We must also make investments to modernize our schools and make college affordable and available to our students.
DEW: The US House of Representatives is the branch of Congress known as the “People’s House.” Its time for the People to step up and reclaim control of the bloated bureaucracy in D.C., set reasonable spending priorities, financially secure Social Security, provide for the common defense and be responsive to the needs of its district. For this to happen, it will require cooperation instead of polarization. I believe after being in D.C. for 12 years, an individual can become so jaded and entrenched that they become ineffective. We need new leadership to bridge the gap to solve today’s problems.
SUMMERELL: Implementing tax simplification (including eliminating the federal income tax on those making under $60,000 per year) and a BIG.
This presidential race has been characterized by polarization and animosity. What needs to be done in the coming term to bridge the gaps in our society that have been recently highlighted?
BUTTERFIELD: It is time for healing in our country. Our next president will need the experience and steadiness to bring Americans together to tackle the big challenges facing the country. Congress must work together and compromise on issues. But this change must start at home. We need the people at home to demand that their representatives work together to get things done.
DEW: Sadly, both parties have adopted a policy of “Win at any cost” attitude. Opponents are degraded and belittled. Important issues are trivialized. Search for common ground for cooperation has been abandoned. In its place, a moral-less vacuum has been created. Decisions are made based on poll numbers. Votes are calculated to speak to the politicians financial base. It is time for individuals who possess biblical knowledge and wisdom to step out of the pulpits and into the political halls. The moral abyss we see today can only be corrected if godly people step up and take on the mantle of leadership.
SUMMERELL: Redistricting reform and campaign finance reform.
Why is this race important to voters in Wilson County?
BUTTERFIELD: The stakes in this election are so high that more people will vote in this election than in any other in our history. We are already seeing high voter turnout in North Carolina. Wilson County will have a strong voice in the kind of country we want to have and the kind of opportunities we want to create for the next generation. Wilson County will also play a large role in the state’s Senate, House and governor’s races.
DEW: The issues that Wilson County faces are the same issues that Durham, Granville, Vance, Warren, Halifax, Edgecombe, Northampton, Martin, Pitt, Washington, Bertie, Martin and Gates counties are facing. This district has been led by a Democratic representative for 133 years. What do we have to show for it? It has been stated this is the fourth-poorest district in America and the poorest district in North Carolina. This means it has the highest unemployment and poverty rate. If ever the 1st District needed a new direction, it is now.
SUMMERELL: Jobs, jobs, jobs.
What final message do you have for the voters of the district?
BUTTERFIELD: It is a privilege to represent my hometown of Wilson and the 1st District in Congress. I remain as eager today as the day I was first elected to develop, support and enact policies that will improve the lives of all North Carolinians. I encourage all Americans to vote and be active in this election process. In North Carolina, you don’t have to wait until Election Day to cast your vote — I urge voters to vote early in-person or by mail.
DEW: There is a vast difference between G.K. Butterfield and H. Powell Dew Jr. To learn how we differ on the issues, please visit www.Vote4Dew.com and go to the tab labeled “Take the Quiz.” This highlights the clear choice our district has between the two candidates. I look forward to serving ALL of the people in the 1st Congressional District in Washington, D.C.
SUMMERELL: The government hurts the economy of the 1st District more than it helps. We need to harness the forces of free minds, free markets and free enterprise to move the district ahead.
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