Elections » Candidate Questionnaires

Erv Portman

Candidate for State Senate


Name as it appears on the ballot: Erv Portman

Full legal name, if different: Ervin Portman

Date of birth: (57 years old)

Campaign website: www.ervportman.com

Occupation & employer: President, WestStar Precision Inc.

Email: erv@ervportman.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?

I support increased funding for schools by trimming waste in the rest of the budget, not increasing a sales tax. I also would limit the recent small business tax cut to apply to small business only, (currently grants first $50,000 tax free to all NC business large and small) that would add over 165 million alone in revenue that could go to funding our schools.

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

No I don't support statistical analysis to carry more weight than that of a jury verdict. If bias exists we need to reform the jury selection process to be sure all trials are fair.

Serious crime need be dealt with in a serious way, but this is an area I need to hear and learn more about the pros and cons of the use of 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?

Not as proposed by the legislature. Any solution needs to make elections more secure and do no harm. The plan vetoed last year would do nothing to fix the potential for fraud in elections which we know is very low, (but could be more at risk in absentee ballots) and would have made it more difficult for seniors who don't drive to vote. Any solution that makes elections both more secure without disenfranchising thousands of voters should be considered.

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?

My faith teaches me that marriage is between one man and one woman. My wife and I have been married for 39 years and see marriage as a sacrament. I would not want another faith community or my government to be allowed to tell my church how we can practice our faith. Nor do I feel my church or government should dictate to another faith community how they should practice theirs. In this country there is a difference between religious freedom and forcing ones faith on everyone else. The first section and the first article of our states constitution reads:

Section 1. The equality and rights of persons.

We hold it to be self-evident that all persons are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor, and the pursuit of happiness.

Our government needs to respect each and every citizen's inalienable rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Civil government should respect civil unions and afford same sex couples the same rights as my wife and I, once they are ready to commit their lives to each other. Anything less is public discrimination and should not be tolerated. People in this country should be free to love the person of their choice without fear of discrimination from their government.

5. Do you support a woman's right to choose to terminate her pregnancy?

This is the law of the land and has been for nearly 4 decades...

Yes, women have the right to make their own private decisions on their own health care. That is a private decision between a women and her doctor, and it is the law of the land. Some who disagree with the Supreme Court have tried to infringe on that right, which I feel is wrong.

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?

No I would not, these are private decisions to be made by a woman and her doctor, and should not be infringed upon by the state legislature.

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?

I support efforts to encourage renewable energy solutions that can create jobs here, and help us become more self-sufficient in the production of our energy needs.

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?

I do not support the rush to fracking approved by the legislature, approved by an error of one member who made a mistake. This issue needs further review and input; we need to respect private property rights which are trampled upon by this law. No company should be granted the right to drill under your house without your approval. No company should be allowed to pump water contaminated with undisclosed chemicals into our ground. The risks are too high and the rewards to low. The subject needs more study and only after safety can be assured and private property rights protected should it even be considered. The makeup of the current energy board is not balanced and favors an industry bias and needs to be revised to ensure a fair and unbiased result, and protect the interests of the public.

My opponent cites SB 709 as her jobs plan; this is the bill that seeks to expand off shore drilling (federal authority not state) and was a precursor to the fracking bill.

8. Will you support putting the proposed 1/2-cent sales tax for transit on the ballot in Wake County in 2012? Will you vote for or against it in a referendum?

I support allowing the voters to make this decision. I know that we have studied the issue for over a decade. Wake is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation. Our leaders before us did their job to plan and protect our area as we grew. We must do the same. Republicans and democrats worked on study groups and task forces over a ten year period, each and every study came to the same conclusion, we must plan for the future before growth gridlocks our roads and diminishes our quality of life. I did support this issue when it came before the board of commissioners; I challenged my colleagues on the board to read the report, to discuss it, to hold a public hearing. They failed to do any of it. After six months of inaction I called for a vote only to have the republican leaders of the county board vote no to a public hearing, no to discussion of the subject, no to allowing the voters to decide. Yes now is the time to plan for our future and yes now is the time for the citizens of wake to be allowed to decide this question.

9. With Dorothea Dix Hospital closing, should the state give or sell the 306-acre Dix tract for use as a park? What should the future of Dix Hill be, and what role should the state play in its future?

I support the state selling this land for a park to be used and enjoyed for future generations. The proceeds from the sale should go to support mental health needs in the state.

10. 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?

I would need to know more about the state legislature to comment. I can say that when I served on the Cary Town council we did not let partisan politics get in the way. We all worked well together and when we disagreed or argued an issue we never felt ill will to the other. We knew each member was trying to do what they thought was best for our town. We did not have to agree with each other on every issue to respect each other. That approach would be a welcome change in the statehouse. To be effective as a Senator we must be respected. To be respected we must be respectful of others, we all learned this in grade school.

11. 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?

YES, I feel that this is a serious threat to good government. Rigged districts are wrong, they predetermine the winners and losers before candidates even decide to run. It's like stacking the deck, its wrong and it must change. Both parties are guilty, and I would support reform that removes political party from the voter file for the purpose of redistricting. Look at other states, i.e. Wisconsin and Iowa; you will see squares and rectangles, compare this to North Carolina which may be one of the worst gerrymandered states. This rigging of districts tends to elect people from the extremes of both parties, that then don't talk to or respect each other. The result is a breakdown in good government and a legislature without the ability to discuss and truly debate the merits of important issues. Last session the house voted for such reform but it was blocked by senate leadership. I will fight for this as an essential government reform.

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