Ellie Kinnaird | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week

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Ellie Kinnaird

Candidate for NC Senate District 23

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Name as it appears on the ballot: Ellie Kinnaird

Full legal name, if different: Eleanor G. Kinnaird

Date of birth: 1931

Campaign website: www.elliekinnaird.org

Occupation & employer: Retired lawyer

Email: ekinnaird1@nc.rr.com


1. Gov. Perdue is proposing a 3/4ths of 1-cent sales tax increase to balance the budget and avoid more cuts to education. Do you support her proposal? A different tax increase? Or no tax increase?

Renewing the 3/4 cent sales tax would have prevented the deep cuts to pre-school, K-12, Community Colleges and the University system the Republicans made in the budget. At this point, however, the State needs to completely re-write the tax code to close the numerous loop-holes, and tax services broadly and lower the tax rates for a fair, rational tax system.

2. Do you support the Racial Justice Act? Is it time for North Carolina to abolish the death penalty?

I was one of the original sponsors of the Racial Justice Act which would have led to a discovery of those death penalty cases which were tainted by racial bias. I introduced a moratorium on the death penalty that passed the Senate, but not the House, that led to five significant in the way capitol charges and trials proceed to protect the accused; this has drastically reduced the number of death sentences. I also introduced a bill to prohibit the execution of the severely mentally ill. North Carolina should abolish the death penalty.

3. Are you in favor of a Voter ID law? Why or why not? What steps can the state take to increase voter participation in elections?

Voter identification is not needed, since cases of voter fraud are negligible and are not large enough to effect the outcome of elections. However, a government issued voter id requirement would have the effect of driving down voter participation of low income people who do not own a car, the elderly who no longer drive and have no drivers' license, students who have only a school issued id, and women who may have changed their name during the course of their lives such that it appears differently on various documents. We must not enact a voter id at all.

4. What is your opinion of Amendment One, the amendment to ban gay marriages, civil unions and all other domestic partnerships other than the marriage of one man and one woman?

I worked and spoke against the Marriage Amendment bill and voted against it. My hope is the U.S. Supreme Court will declare it unconstitutional based on the 14th Amendment equal protection of the law, although this Court cannot be counted on to do the right thing.

5. Do you support a woman's right to choose to terminate her pregnancy? Would you sign a bill requiring that a woman, before choosing abortion, undergo an ultrasound? Be counseled about alternatives? Or in other ways be discouraged from choosing an abortion?

The Republican assault on a woman's right to make a reproductive choice - a most serious of life's decisions - with her conscience, her partner, and her doctor is an attempt at a severe government intrusion on a private life.

6. Should the state take additional steps to encourage solar, wind and other renewable energy sources? Should additional nuclear plants in North Carolina be encouraged, discouraged or stopped?

Solar distributive power, along with energy efficiency, could reshape our dependence on fossil fuels. We should not build any more nuclear power plants in North Carolina. The projected cost are unrealistic and there is no way or place to safely dispose of the radioactive waste.

7. What should we do about fracking—extracting natural gas by fracturing rock underground? Do you view it as a technology ready to use in North Carolina? Or one to be studied carefully before any decision about it is made?

The U.S. Geological Survey has projected that there is very little natural gas in North Carolina. We do know that the extraction process uses millions of gallons of water. North Carolina is a drought-prone state. We also have many private wells that could be contaminated. The disposal of the large quantity of water mixed with dangerous chemicals has to be stored in pools that could pollute our streams, rivers and lakes. The Department of Natural Resources has been tasked with finding protections for each of those problems, but the Mining and Energy Board is charged with oversight. The board is composed of a balance of stakeholders although some environmentalists are concerned that an appointee has a conflict of interest and another was an employee of Haliburton.

8. The General Assembly's been criticized for years as a place where the majority rules and takes unfair advantage to hold onto power, depriving the other party and the public of due-process rights that are basic to a democracy. Do you agree with that criticism? If so, what reforms would you support to make the legislature run better?

One of the guarantees of continued power is in the ability to redistrict. For 104 years, the Democrats controlled the legislature and redistricted the Congressional and legislative maps to protect incumbents. I introduced an Independent Redistricting Commission with a Republican colleague ten years ago. That bill that was not passed. Last term, when the Republicans took control of the legislature, I introduced an Independent Redistricting Commission bill againthat members of neither party would co-sponsor. If re-elected, I will continue to work toward an independent redistricting commission.

9. On reapportionment, both parties have shown that they will abuse the redistricting process when give a chance. Will you support a bill in the next session to turn all future redistricting over to a non-partisan or bi-partisan independent commission?

See above.

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