Stumping for votes

Published 9:39 am Thursday, March 3, 2016

Part 2 of a series

MURFREESBORO – The African American Caucus of the Hertford County Democratic Party’s candidate forum on Saturday attracted only one candidate for Lieutenant Governor and only one for governor.

Running for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor was Ronald Newton. He will be vying for the nomination against Linda Coleman, Holly Jones, and Robert Earl Wilson.

Newton said as candidate for Lieutenant Governor, “There are three things I would like to do; first, unify the Democratic Party and the Democratic voters. Only voters can determine the true will of the people.

Ronald Newton

Ronald Newton

“Second, I want our Party to win the Governors’ seat and several other House and Senate seats,” he said. “This will establish a veto proof majority. This will also bottle up the bad legislation coming out of Raleigh.

“And third, I want to be your Lieutenant Governor,” said Newton. “I’m qualified, I know the issues, and I respect all people. My agenda will not follow the crowd. I am not a politician. I am North Carolina’s public servant. I am one with the people and together we will take North Carolina in a new direction.”

Newton continued, “My principle initiatives are economic opportunities for all, tax reform that benefits everybody, education, and our environment.

“For the most part, the most serious issues facing North Carolina flows from one of those issues because these issues are all tied together,” he said.

Newton said in his career he has been a professional football player, a vice and narcotics officer, a school board chairman, a business manager for one of the largest public employee unions in the country, a lawyer specializing in taxation, a CFO and a business owner for the past 25 years.

“I don’t know if you know this,” he said, “but North Carolina has the highest poverty rate in the country. We are the ninth poorest state in the country.

“These are alarming numbers,” Newton said. “This is our fight and we can’t turn our back on this particular fight.”

Ken Spaulding

Ken Spaulding

He suggested that North Carolina is in violation of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees equal protection under the law.

“With a poverty rate this high,” he said, “we are not protecting the residents of this state.

“When I talk about tax reform, the bill passed in Raleigh is the worst legislation in the last 100 years,” he said. “It made North Carolina a regressive tax state. They’re trying to make North Carolina a consumption tax state so that wealthy persons don’t have to pay more in taxes. The whole reform bill is about reverse Robin Hood. They’re taking from the poor and giving to the rich.”

He noted that the tax system needs to be changed, stating, “No economic system can stand when a tax system is regressed. Every person should pay the same tax for first dollar earned to the last dollar earned. The wealthy would pay more in taxes because they made more dollars. “It’s not rocket science.”

He then switched to how the public education system has been disrespected.

“Our teachers’ salaries are 49th in the nation,” he said. “We need to bring the best possible teachers in the nation into North Carolina to handle our children because the children we have are the most important capitol that we have and we need to provide for them.”

On the environment, he said hundreds die each year in the mountains due to poor air quality.

“We need renewable energy sources,” he said. “Our waterways have become dumping grounds, we need to restore the environment.”

Ken Spaulding is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor against Roy Cooper.

Spaulding, of Durham, has been a practicing attorney in North Carolina for over 40 years. He served the state in the House of Representatives for six years.

He interned in the US Department of Justice in the Office of the Civil Rights Division, in the US Vice President’s Office, and the NC Attorney General’s office.

Spaulding said he is not a big-money candidate and does not answer to the big-money funders. He said the “kingmakers in Raleigh” did not pick him, but the people of the state have.

He said his parents were his greatest influences. They were hardworking country people who taught him the value of hard work and the values they expected him to live by.

As a criminal lawyer, he learned all about Black Lives Matter and wondered why his clients kept coming back to him.

“They lost their way,” he said. “They were feeling hopeless and helpless and low self esteem.”

He said he doesn’t understand the politicians of today, who just put ads on TV but refuse to visit people in the state.

He said Eastern North Carolina has been ignored by the state and does not get the attention it needs in the state budget.

“We need a governor and a legislature that recognizes that,” Spaulding said. “We need to make sure that not a child is born in Jones County that does not have getting the same quality of education as a child in Mecklenburg County. We need the equitable funding in this state to assure that every child gets the same quality education, regardless of the color of their skin or the county they’re born in.”

He said everybody should benefit from economic prosperity, not just a chosen few. He said many areas of the state don’t even have Wi-Fi.

“You can’t start a business and bring quality people to work for you when you can’t even communicate outside your own county. Wi-Fi is critical for economic success,” Spaulding said. “We need to find a way to not just talk about economic development; we need to find a way to do it.”

He said at the end of his four years as governor, eastern North Carolina was going to be much better off.

“At 71 years old, I’m not doing this to start some kind of political career,” said Spaulding, “because my mother taught me to do public service and to help you community. All North Carolina’s children should have equal opportunities.”

He said eastern NC needs to diversify its economy, provide more high tech jobs so that young people will stop leaving and come back home to work and raise families.

The area needs better roads and the state needs to quit taking highway funds and putting them in the general fund.

Spaulding concluded by saying that governor he would remember how he got there and who got him there, adding that all elected officials need to put the needs and interests of voters first rather than the special interest groups.

Next in the series: Candidates for U.S. Senate.