Name as it appears on the ballot: Darren G. Jackson
Date of birth: June 29, 1970
Campaign website: darrenjackson.org
Occupation & employer: Attorney, Gay, Jackson & McNally, LLP
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 am not in favor of raising the sales tax (except on the so called sin taxes) any more. It is too regressive. Any more increases are going to have to be in the way of fees in the court systems for users and on people that make at least 100k per year (and businesses). We cannot continue to balance the budget with taxes that voters think are fair (ie sales) that are in effect extremely regressive. To continue to do so, without full exemption for the necessities of life (ie food, clothing, shelter) only further balances the state budget on the backs of those that can least afford it.
My personal view is that those who can do more to help should. People die every day overseas for our country. Those of us that are here and can afford it should do what we can to help our fellow citizens here at home. Our top bracket could be raised. Other methods, such as combined reporting for multi-state corporations, could raise the much need revenue in a more equitable fashion.
2. Do you support the Racial Justice Act? Is it time for North Carolina to abolish the death penalty?
Although I am in favor of capital punishment, I do believe if the State is going to be in this business, then we make sure that we execute people based on the facts of their crime, not the color of their skin or the skin of the victim. That's why I voted for the Racial Justice Act in 2009 and against its repeal in 2011.
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?
In general, I do not believe a Voter ID law is necessary. However, if there is going to be one, I have been clear since prior to session that I would only vote for an ID bill if it contained the following:
a. It has to be constitutional. That means that the state must make the id available for free. I think the state needs time to do this. It will be expensive. You've seen the systems at the local DMV. Camera takes a picture. Mail you id. Well, those would have to be provided to every BOE in every county across the state. In addition, I believe that HAVA documents should be accepted in accordance with Federal Law. Help America Vote Act was a President Bush issue, passed by a 92 to 2 vote margin in the US Senate.
b. The ability to vote a provisional ballot with signature verification or some other means to double check the person's identity if they fail to have an id with them should be included. There should be a way to verify the person's id without having them have to come to the County Board of Elections after the election.
c. The third issue is that any bill should actually address voter fraud and not just partisan advantage. If we are truly concerned with the integrity of the vote, shouldn't all ballots be screened? The SBOE has given us information that shows that the incidence rate of voter fraud for absentee ballots is seven times higher than the rate of voter fraud from in person ballots. And that makes sense. If there is a 30 year old that wants to vote for his grandfather, I ask you what is more likely? They show up in person and vote for someone that is 60 years older or that they do it by mail? Stats back that up. In order to commit voter fraud in person you have to be the same gender, same race, and roughly the same age as the voter you are pretending to be. But a 20 yr. old white female can commit voter fraud through mail in the name of an 80 year old African American male. That's why any reform bill should require an absentee ballot voter to send in a copy of their identification or for the ballot to be notarized like some states require. Ballots should also have to be requested by the voter personally and mailed to their address on record.
These reforms would really address voter fraud and not just partisan gain.
4. How will you vote on 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?
It is my belief that freedom means freedom for everyone. If you can't be free to make the most personal decisions about who to dedicate your life to, what are you free to decide? Our State Constitution:
"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 their own labor, and the pursuit of happiness."
It is my belief that any law that prevents marriages between people solely based on their sexual orientation violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
It is my belief that this proposed constitutional amendment goes much further than simply putting the current law in the constitution--it bars any legal recognition of domestic partnerships, civil unions and would make our law the second most restrictive in the nation behind Idaho.
It is my belief that this amendment is inconsistent with the purpose of constitutional amendments, which are to enact limits on majority rule where necessary for the protection of civil rights and liberties of minority groups of citizens (see the Bill of Rights).
It is my belief that the proposed amendment will all create immense numbers of legal challenges to current domestic violence laws, family law, business and insurance practices, municipal laws and employment practices.
It is my belief that the proposed amendment clearly hurts business recruitment and retention in the state at a time when we are all struggling. Economic and job losses in the potential fight over the amendment would be staggering, as highlighted by a growing number of business leaders in the state, most recently Bank of America, Lowe's, Duke Energy, BB&T, The Body Shop, and Reynolds American.
It is my belief that the fight over this amendment would tremendously scar diverse children and families in North Carolina.
It is my belief that this proposed amendment sends the wrong signal to those in our society that are considered different for any reason.
It is my belief that discrimination of any type is wrong.
If we want to strengthen families, we need to focus on issues such as domestic violence and poverty.
I would note that the following can marry in NC:
-14 yrs. old
-those partaking in pre-marital sex
-convicted child abusers
There are a lot of stressors on a marriage (getting married too young, infidelity, and financial difficulties). A gay couple moving in next door isn't one of these.
As to the specific amendment:
It is possible that this language could override existing domestic violence protections for unmarried couples. The amendment could prevent the state from giving any further rights to committed couples to order their relationships. For example, domestic partners would be prevented from being added to the list of people who have surrogate medical decision making authority. This Amendment was rushed through. Second part of amendment will not even appear on ballot due to drafting error.
My belief is that this amendment only seeks to oppress, deny and stigmatize those that are different. To tell young kids that they will never be equal to their heterosexual peers. Why should our government care who you love? If two people want to give themselves to each other in a committed relationship who are you to object? Everyone deserves the right to be happy. Happiness and stability are what marriage should be about. It was wrong when our laws did not recognize marriages between slaves. It was wrong when our laws used to treat women like property. It was wrong when our constitution prevented interracial marriages. And this is wrong as well.
I voted against this bill in the legislature and I will be voting against it on May 8th.
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?
I am pro-choice and support and believe in the Roe decision. I voted against the bill requiring ultrasounds and counseling. These are all attempts to get around the Roe decision.
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?
The state should take additional steps to encourage cleaner, renewable energy sources. Additional nuclear plants should be discouraged.
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?
Fracking is not ready to use in NC. We need to do a lot of carefully study, including in depth review of the environmental impact that is occurring in other states. My wife's family is from Pennsylvanian where a lot of fracking is occurring in the countryside. I just don't think this is what the citizens and residents of NC want our state to like and I know we don't want to do anything that might have even the slightest impact on our water supply.
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?
Although I do believe that a sales tax is very regressive, I would support putting it on the ballot and would vote for the transit sales tax, but only because I realize it is the only way we are going to begin planning for our vast transit needs.
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?
The state should sell the land (for use as a park if the consideration paid for the park can approach that of private sale). The funding from the sale should be used only for funding services to people with mental illness.
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?
Having served in both the majority and now the minority, I certainly agree with this criticism. After promising to run the House like a business, the Republican leadership has done little of that. Instead, we have surprises, late night votes, and constitutionally questionable veto overrides. The General Assembly owes it to our citizens to be more transparent in its operation.
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?
I have spent a few weekends driving my new district. To see firsthand how badly it is drawn is certainly something to behold. Knightdale is divided into three house seats, Wendell into two, Zebulon into two, and Garner into three. I now have twice as many split precincts as I do entire precincts. On many county roads, I may represent one side of the street, but not the other. Computers have made the redistricting process way too easy to be grossly manipulated for partisan advantage. Therefore, I will be in favor of turning all future redistricting over to an independent commission.