Violet Rhinehart | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week

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Violet Rhinehart

N.C. House District 40


Name as it appears on the ballot: Violet Rhinehart

Party: Democrat

Date of birth: August 10, 1950

Campaign website:

Occupation and employer: Retired Educator, Wake County Public Schools

Years lived in N.C.: 60

What do you see as the most important issues facing North Carolina? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?

Economy and job security- Support cooperative efforts to bring a regional approach to business to enhance economic security.

Education – Continue to advance the educational systems in place in NC to support a world class system for globally based learning.

Government that serves the people and offers accessibility- To maintain a government that works with the people and with agencies to solve problems in an open and accessible manner.

Are there specific needs in your district that you would add to the list? How do you propose to address them?

Water quality is a major concern in District 40 especially as it pertains to the Neuse River and Falls Lake and the municipalities that surround this water supply. I will address this by continuing to involve the stakeholders of counties and communities, i.e. legislators, and associations such as the Upper Neuse River Basin Association in their efforts to be proactive.

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 issues.

Economy- I am from a family of small business owners here in NC who are meeting the challenges and problems found in today's business communities. I encourage commitment over convenience to support local businesses, and I support cooperative efforts to bring a regional approach to business to enhance economic security.

Education- As a career educator and a curriculum leader, our educational system must prepare students to be career and college ready.

Government service- As a community advocate with service oriented organizations in education, service to children and women and volunteer health associations, I have worked to inform law makers to help in providing services to the community and state.

How do you define yourself politically, and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?

I will make a good faith effort to look past political differences and partisanship and look to citizenship. Having spent my career teaching history, law and justice and civics to young people, my philosophy is that you become as active citizen thus being a listener, learner and a leader.

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 active citizenship is encouraged by media opinions as the Independent so that we can have involved and informed citizens. As we as citizens are allowed to think and to question, we then become a vital cog in the wheel of representative government.

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.

As a Democratic candidate in a highly partisan district, I must assure all voters that I can work across party lines to make decisions that may not be in the best interest or in alignment with a party issues but are in the best interest of the constituents of the district.

The current state budget was balanced with approximately equal amounts of spending cuts (primarily to human services and local school districts) and tax increases. Another very tough budget battle looms ahead next year. Will you support: (a) deeper spending cuts? (b) greater tax increases? (c) another mix of the two? Please tell us what you'd cut and which taxes should be raised, if any.

The state must maintain education and human service needs that we depend upon as a thriving community and state. As an educator, I know that cuts in education do not heal.

It will be my duty to look at all possible information, research and proposed solutions to determine what will be in the best interest of our populous. Possible solutions could include revenue enhancements and /or altering expectations.

North Carolina is sending record numbers of people to prison, and when they're released, they're often lost and get in trouble again. The Governor's StreetSafe initiative is aimed at breaking this vicious cycle and reducing the recidivism rate. As a legislator, what would you propose that she and the General Assembly do to help?

I would encourage looking at current Federal programs and the initiatives in other states that have made advances in reducing the recidivism rates.

Health Care: What should the state do next to address the problem of adults and children without adequate health care or insurance? What do you propose to do to address the mental health crisis?

In light of the recent passage of the Health Care Bill, we as a state will have to see the effects. Hopefully, with that and the current state initiative to put emphasis on reducing health care fraud, funds will be available in making health care and especially mental health care available and affordable.

What is your position on capital punishment in North Carolina? 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?

Studies and research have shown that capital punishment is not a deterrent to crime. In addition, current studies have shown capital punishment is not economically feasible for the punishment of a crime. In addition it is more costly to prison and to court systems than a sentence of life without parole. Tax dollars saved could be used to fund crime prevention programs.

What is your position regarding 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 antidiscrimination laws, including state personnel laws.

Civil unions in NC law would recognize individual rights to insurance, property and health care management issues. Congress has enacted laws which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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? 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?

We must work together with all factions to stop the causes of unplanned pregnancy, decrease the demands for abortions and insure that every child is wanted and assured a safe and loving home.

Should public employees have the right to bargain collectively in North Carolina?

Most public employees have the opportunity to belong to professional organizations through which shared needs and concerns are addressed. I do not support the tactics of groups that keep workers from performing necessary public services.

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.

The state of NC is partnering with the Community College System to put into place programs that are addressing the needs of workers who are retraining and retooling. This is in addition to programs that help small businesses and entrepreneurs who are investing time and talent. We are looking to jobs that will protect the environment "green jobs" and jobs to modernize and sustain a strong transportation infrastructure.

Submitted by Violet Rhinehart, September 15, 2010 at 2:25

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