Deborah K. Ross | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week

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Deborah K. Ross

Candidate for N.C. House, District 38


Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Deborah K. Ross

Party: Democrat

Date of Birth: June 20, 1963

Campaign Web Site:

Occupation & Employer: Legislator/North Carolina; Lawyer/Blanchard, Miller, Lewis & Styers; Senior Lecturing Fellow and Consultant/Duke University

Years lived in North Carolina: 21

1) What do you see as the most important issues facing North Carolina?

Helping people make ends meet; expanding educational opportunities; increasing access to health care; investing in infrastructure. If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues? Expanding housing options; making higher education more affordable; investing in transit and infrastructure.

2) Are there specific needs in your district that you would add to that list?

Fixing the mental health system. How do you propose to address them? I have consistently advocated to keep Dorothea Dix open, increase community services and improve accountability. I will push the new administration to make mental health a priority.

3) What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective on the issues you've identified?

I was ranked the 7th most effective member of the NC House after five years in office. I sponsored bills to increase the Housing Trust Fund, and it has received more than $12 million in additional funding. I sponsored new laws that help at-risk students and pushed for new programs to help with the cost of higher education. I sponsored the earned income tax credit and the tax credits for small businesses that provide health insurance to employees. I continue to advocate for mental health issues and the future of Dorothea Dix and have pushed for increased accountability from DHHS. Last session, I introduced a bill to provide funding for urban transit.

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

I am a practical progressive. The issues I work on and the bills I have gotten passed help people make ends meet, they also help all of our citizens build a better future. I am good at solving problems and getting things done.

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.

Many of the issues I work on create more economic and educational opportunities for low income people.

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 we have to invest in our infrastructure now, even if it creates debt and might result in increased taxes.

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?

Earned income tax credit, housing assistance, minimum wage, education at all levels.

b. Transportation needs in the state, including roads and transit in the Triangle?

See above.

c. Crowded prisons: Should we be moving toward more alternative-sentencing programs instead of prison time?

We need more alternative programs for non-violent offenders.

d. Health care: What should the state do next to address the problem of adults and children without adequate health care or insurance?

See above. Plus, continue to invest in children's health insurance, mental health parity and the high risk insurance pool.

e. Foreclosures: What more should the state be doing to help consumers avoid foreclosure and hold onto their homes?

We have done a lot in the past session on consumer protection. We still need to invest more in the Housing Trust Fund to help first time home buyers and help with home repairs.

f. Energy: Do you support off-shore drilling in the state's coastal waters? Other state initiatives to reduce gasoline and other energy costs?

No. We need alternative energy programs, but the biggest help will be energy conservation.

g. The mental health crisis: Everyone agrees it's a mess. Now what?

See above.

h. Taxes: Given the needs, are they too high? Too low? Too regressive? What direction should the state be taking on the revenue side?

We need to reassess our revenue base and conform it to today's economy.

i. School vouchers: Should the state provide vouchers to parents who choose private (K-12) schools for their children? If so, for what amount?


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

I favor a moratorium and promoting fairness in the system. I voted for the racial justice act.

9) What is your position regarding LGBT rights?

I do not believe in discrimination against LGBT individuals. I supported the bullying bill with enumeration.

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?

North Carolina should not remain one of only two states that outlaws all forms of collective bargaining with public employees.

12) One of the most controversial issues in this election year is illegal immigration. Recently, several N.C. counties—including Alamance, Johnston and Wake—have employed the 287(g) program, which streamlines local law enforcement and federal immigration enforcement. What is your assessment of the success, or failure, of these programs?

They should be scrutinized to see how they are working and if there is discrimination. Training should be centralized and monitored. There should be accountability for any discrimination.

13) Despite the Department of Homeland Security's finding that admitting Illegal Immigrants to college did not violate federal Immigration law, the N.C. System of Community Colleges ruled to maintain a moratorium on admitting Illegal Immigrants to degree-granting programs. How will you vote on legislative proposals to either ban, or permit, Illegal Immigrants attending college In North Carolina?

Students who have graduated from NC high schools and whose families pay taxes should not be banned from our institutions of higher education.

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