Elections » Our Endorsements

Cleary in U.S. House 13; Butterfield, Rich in U.S. House 1

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Democrat

Like District 2, this district was gerrymandered by the Republicans to elect a Republican. George Holding, of the Holding fortune from First Citizens Bank, is completing his first term after a stint as U.S. Attorney. Barring unforeseen scandal or illness, Holding will be re-elected. The Democratic nomination is significant only to the extent that the candidate has a message worth hearing while losing.

In that vein, we support Brenda Cleary, who stepped up last year at Moral Monday press conferences against Republican cuts to education and the GOP's rejection of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Cleary holds a doctorate in nursing from the University of Texas at Austin. She's been executive director of the N.C. Center for Nursing, a state agency affiliated with the UNC system, and from 2008-11 was head of the AARP's Public Policy Institute in Washington, advising on seniors' health issues. She's now in private practice as a health-care consultant.

Virginia Conlon is a community-minded businesswoman and volunteer with numerous nonprofits in the Raleigh area. As a clothing shop owner, she sold local merchandise and helped homemakers start their own clothing businesses—admirable work.

Ron Sanyal, a native of India, is a retired pharmaceutical company executive who coaches soccer and is well-known as the organizer of an annual International Night fundraiser for the Democratic party.

Both are quality candidates. But if the subject of this election year is health care—as it will be—Cleary's expertise makes her the best choice.

Elected in 2004, G.K. Butterfield of Wilson, is a moderate democrat who supports increasing the federal minimum wage and indexing it for inflation, renewing emergency unemployment benefits, providing tax breaks to businesses that hire the long-term unemployed, increasing access to capital for small and minority owned businesses, and enforcing equal economic opportunity for women. He also approves of workers' right to organize and workplace protections for gays and lesbians.

We endorse Butterfield, a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which crafts policy on telecommunications, consumer protection, food and drug safety, public health, energy policy, the environment and technology.

We do disagree with Butterfield's co-sponsorship of The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014, which would give sole authority to the Food and Drug Administration to require mandatory labeling on genetically modified foods. Twenty states want to require GM labeling, and this bill, supported by Big Ag, undercuts their ability to do so.

Like we said, Butterfield is a moderate. Meanwhile, his opponent, Dan Whittacre of Henderson, is ... well, we're not sure. An Iraq War veteran and father of six, he is running on an election platform of better jobs, energy independence and education—but does not tell us what he will do on those issues.

Instead of polishing his platform, he has been concocting strange allegations about Butterfield: that the incumbent stole an online map of the district from Whittacre's website and posted it on his. However, district maps are practically everywhere: on the state legislative website, the congressional website. No one really owns the map, except the public.

And in 2012, Whittacre protested that by using "G.K." (which stands for George Kenneth), Butterfield used a nickname and not his legal name to register for reelection.

Then there's Whittacre's election video, housed on his website. He is holding a large firearm and then heading to the shooting range, where he and a guy named Randolph fire off some rounds. It's essentially a minute and a half of gunfire.

Republican

We're trying to put ourselves in a Republican mindset for this primary contest between Brent Shypulefski of Rocky Mount and Arthur Rich of Garland. While District 1 encompasses central Durham, it also extends northeast along the Virginia border, a more conservative area of the state.

We endorse Rich, an accountant and tax specialist, who is running on a financial platform, including a "Housing Stimulant Act," that would help people buy homes. But if you read his website, these plans are written in accountant-ese, and he is not doing a good job of clearly communicating his ideas.

However, he's not Shypulefski, a life insurance salesman, who stands for everything progressive-minded people don't. He does not support collective bargaining, says anti-discrimination protections for gays and lesbians are unnecessary and is a climate change doubter.

If you're a diehard Republican, Shypulefski is your guy. If you have more compassion for people, then Rich is.

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