Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Fred Foster, Jr.
Date of Birth: September 12, 1948
Campaign Web Site: www.fosternchouse.org
Occupation & Employer: Retired
Years lived in North Carolina: 61
1) What do you see as the most important issues facing North Carolina? Economic recovery and Education If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues? Once our Federal Economy recovers and we have access to capital I will ask for monies to fund small businesses to stimulate invest and hiring which leads to Jobs and Economic Development, funding for Education to create workers that are skilled to attract industry to our community, and Transparency and Reform in government so that those who have been marginalized in the past with contracts being awarded will have a fair chance to do business with state government helping to raise the bar for everyone.
2) Are there specific needs in your district that you would add to that list? Yes, transportation , internet and cable access. How do you propose to address them? I will propose light rail and bus transit because we are the only community without access to a major interstate in the triangle. Also, to build a tower in rural Person County so that students have access to computers to do their work after school and so that we can compete for technology that will deliver cable and telephone services.
3) What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the issues you've identified? Please be as specific as possible in relating past accomplishments to current goals. As President of Old Farm Neighborhood Association, I was instrumental in stopping an ABC Store from locating in our neighborhood, I helped to get gangs and those who would destroy our community out and as a result I was honored by INC as the Neighborhood Hero, as President of Durham Voter Coalition I helped to mount a campaign to get the 92 dirt streets in Durham paved and that's about to come to fruition, and as an organizer, I put on the largest townhall for healthcare reform in NC at NCCU in 2009 and I want to believe that because of that, we saw healthcare become law at the federal level, Sunday, March 21, 2010.
4) How do you define yourself politically, and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform? Progressive and Liberal. I have always tried to be of service to those whose voice was not heard and I have run my campaign on that premise. I have been going through my district surveying everyone and getting results for them before I have even been elected. Never has Person County asked to work with Durham County until now. Neither have the people been asked what they want, but my campaign has started that conversation. I will continue to work on behalf of all the people, not just those who are from a special interest group.
5) The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. Please point to a specific position in your platform that would, if achieved, help further that goal. I believe that we have to have open and transparent government so that those who compete for contracts have a fair chance of getting them. By doing so we will not have no bid contracts for healthcare, drugs being thrown away in DOC and paying more for inmates' healthcare than medicare, and laying off state workers while keeping vehicles unused on the lot at DOT because of contracts not screened by managers. My campaign is calling for transparency and reform in government.
6) Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters. I believe that state workers should have the right to collectively bargain with their employer which will help keep them on the payroll and save the state $500 million in turnover each year. This will be unpopular to the business sector because this is a right to work state.
7) If these issues haven't been addressed above, would you please comment on:
a. Poverty: What steps, if any, do you advocate to lift up the poor in North Carolina? We must insist that our youths be well educated so that we can ask for higher wages. Industry will come if we have a pool of well educated, trained workers to do the high tech jobs that are coming into NC. I propose that we raise the drop out age to 18yrs and make it mandatory for those in trouble to get a GED or vocational training as a part of their probation. Vocational training and education is the key to lifting us out of poverty.
b. Transportation needs in the state, including roads and transit in the Triangle? We are going to need regional rail and bus transit to take some of the pounding each day off our roads. I will propose funding for my district and hope that others do likewise.
c. Crowded prisons: Should we be moving toward more alternative-sentencing programs instead of prison time? Yes.
d. Health care: What should the state do next to address the problem of adults and children without adequate health care or insurance? Now that healthcare reform passed Sunday, March 21, 2010 the state should do likewise and stop giving BCBS no bid contracts and make it competitive to lower cost for everyone.
e. Foreclosures: What more should the state be doing to help consumers avoid foreclosure or recover from losing their homes? Set up a consumer commission to educate and support those in danger of losing their homes. Provide oversight to banks and lending institutions that provide loans so that they follow the law and do not abuse or mislead those who may be in trouble or are about to get in trouble so that foreclosure will not take place.
f. Energy: Do you support off-shore drilling in the state's coastal waters? No. Other state initiatives to reduce gasoline and other energy costs? I support solar and wind as alternative forms of energy. We need to have all state buildings LEED certified so that we conserve energy.
g. The mental health crisis: Everyone agrees it's a mess. Now what? Now that we have federal healthcare reform we can look at adding funding to this very needed program.
h. Taxes: Given the needs, are they too high? Too low? Too regressive? What direction should the state be taking in its revenue streams? I believe that taxes are fine where they are right now, but I believe that those coming into Durham should pay for services like those of us who live here all the time.
i. School vouchers: Should the state provide vouchers to parents who choose private (K-12) schools for their children? No. If so, for what amount?
8) What is your position on capital punishment in North Carolina? I do not support capital punishment. If in favor, will you support a moratorium on executions while the question of whether the death penalty can be administered fairly is studied by the General Assembly?
9) What is your position regarding LGBT rights? I will support LGBT rights. Please address whether gay marriages or civil unions should be made legal in North Carolina; also, whether sexual orientation and identity should be added as a protected class under state anti-discrimination laws, including state personnel laws. Civil unions should be made legal and sexual orientation/identity should be added as a protected class under state anti-discrimination laws, including state personnel laws.
10) Do you support women's reproductive rights, including the "right to choose" as set out by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade? Yes. Given that North Carolina has the ninth highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, do you support medically accurate sex education that includes information about birth control? Yes.
11) Should public employees have the right to bargain collectively in North Carolina? Yes.
12) The latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that 11.2 percent of North Carolina's workforce is unemployed. Please state specifically what the state should and can do to create new jobs, describe the kinds of jobs the state should support and what your role will be in creating them. Until the U.S. Economy recovers and the state has access to capital, then there will not be any investing or hiring in the near future. Once the economy does recover, I would ask for money to support small business to create jobs in the fiber optics and energy sector because we are poised to be a leader in both in the research triangle.
13) Analysts predict another arduous budget year for the state legislature, with many more cuts to programs and services. How would you work to balance the budget? Ask for an audit of all departments and open our healthcare plan up for competition. In what areas would you recommend cutbacks and which services should remain untouched? I would ask for cutbacks at DOT in vehicles and maintenance as well as DOC in cost per inmate and drugs in their pharmacy. There can be no cuts to education and health and human services. What, if any, tax increase would you support in order to fill funding gaps? Hopefully none, but if any, to luxury items that we do not consider essential to our daily living.