Name as it Appears on the Ballot: Eric Weaver
Date of Birth: 11-18-1969
Campaign Web Site: www.ElectWeaver.com
Occupation & Employer: Self Employed Realtor / Business Owner (Weaver, Boryk, & Associates, LLC); Also full-time police officer (Agency undisclosed)
Years lived in North Carolina: 25+
1) What do you see as the most important issues facing North Carolina? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?
1. We have a worsening employment and business environment. We need to fix this be cutting taxes, lowering regulation, and providing skilled workers to keep us attractive to business and industry to relocate here or be started here.
When elected, I will work towards lowering taxes and eliminating as much burdensome regulation as possible. I want North Carolina to be a tax haven, so that companies will want to bring jobs here, and not send them to lower-tax jurisdictions.
2. Our education system is failing many children, especially poor and minority children. We need education reform, and we need it now. We need school choice, so that the no students are relegated to schools that are dysfunctional. We also need vocational and technical education to give a path to prosperity for those who do not want to attend a four year academic college.
When elected, I will work towards making real school choice a reality, and also for changing the system for electing school board members in Wake County. To enhance accountability of school board members, they will continue to reside in their district, but their positions will be elected in a county wide election. I will also work to end busing of children for any sort of racial or socioeconomic diversity, since neighborhood schools increase parental involvement, especially in low-income areas where transportation may be difficult.
3. Our criminal justice system is broken. It is failing in its mission to protect society from the criminal predators in our midst. We need to fix many of its deficiencies. As noted in recent articles in the media, we have a dysfunctional probation system that does not protect us from serious offenders. We have a woefully underfunded judicial system, one that dispenses a product that is often not recognizable as "justice." There are many disparate data collection and storage systems from different parts of our criminal justice system that are not linked together, and that represent a huge stumbling block to efficient administration of justice.
We also have a system where we lose many of our best law enforcement officers to careers that are more lucrative, and that have better retirement plans.
When I am elected, I will work towards either making probation work or doing away with it if it cannot be made to work properly. I will also push for funding for our judicial system. This will take the form of more judges, prosecutors, and whatever it takes to replace the antiquated information processing systems with something more comprehensive and useful. I will also push for statutory due process and twenty five year retirement for law enforcement officers.
2) Are there specific needs in your district that you would add to that list? How do you propose to address them?
District 35 is home to the infamous I-40 traffic jams in both the morning and the afternoon, and also to the last remaining four lane section of the original beltline. Simply put, we need to fix our roads. We need to change the "Equity Formula" that stiffs Wake and other urban counties out of our fair share of road tax money in favor of building roads from nowhere to nothing much down east. We also need to concentrate on what gets the most congestion relief per dollar spent, and that is highways, not a light rail system.
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.
I have held leadership positions in many organizations. (NC Sheriff Police Alliance and other law enforcement organizations, Chairman of the Wake GOP Men's Club, Member of NC GOP Executive Committee, Board Member of the Wake County Taxpayers' Association, Police Captain, etc.) I have proven to be effective in getting things done. I will be effective in the North Carolina House of Representatives, as well.
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 conservative Republican, with a healthy streak of libertarian "leave me alone" thrown in for good measure. As Ronald Reagan said, "The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom." This is reflected in my campaign platform as espoused on my website at www.electweaver.com.
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.
As a police officer, I have worked hard to promote justice within whatever jurisdiction I was serving. One method of promoting justice is shown by my support for the death penalty, and increased funding for the state court system.
I also believe that the state should fund more mental health beds for residents of the state who need mental help, and not close Dorthea Dix Hospital until enough beds are provided in Wake County.
We have a duty to help the least in our society, those who are unable to help themselves due to physical or mental challenges. However, I reject the idea that many people have that there is some sort of mythical "justice" available that requires one set of people to work in order to provide another set of able-bodied people who do not care to work with some sort of material benefit. This is merely theft by proxy, and does not represent "justice" in any but a misguided use of that word.
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 am anti-abortion, as I believe in protecting innocent life. I am also pro-death penalty. This will likely cost me some votes with many Independent readers.
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?
There can never be an equality of outcome as long as there are differences in the natural ability and effort spent by individuals. What we need to do is offer opportunities for all North Carolinians who want to work hard to obtain the education and training that they can use to improve their economic lot in life. Vocational education would be one of those opportunities. Remember -- there is effectively NO minimum wage issue for people who have made the effort to acquire skills that are in demand in the market. Have you ever see a plumber or an electrician working for minimum wage?
b. Transportation needs in the state, including roads and transit in the Triangle?
We need to fix congestion by building roads in urban and suburban areas such as the Triangle area. To do this, we need to drastically modify the transportation "equity formula" that is used to allocate road money. Wake County gets somewhere between 60 to 65 cents back for each dollar we give to the State in transportation taxes. The remainder is given to politically connected areas, mainly to build lightly travelled roads from nowhere to nothing much.
Once we fix that funding structure, we will have plenty of money to spend on widening our interstates and arterial roads, which should be completed as soon as possible. This is the best return on investment for each dollar spent in congestion reduction.
There is no need to spend the enormous sums of tax money that would be required to build pie-in-the sky schemes like the light rail system that some envision for the Triangle. Though freight rail is one of the best transportation options available, funding rail transit systems provide the worst return on investment of almost any transit alternative. They also saddle the taxpayers with another mouth to feed -- a system that will require money each year in perpetuity, and that will become a source for patronage jobs, but that will not improve the congestion that we face in the Triangle.
c. Crowded prisons: Should we be moving toward more alternative-sentencing programs instead of prison time?
No. One of the best investments that the state of North Carolina can make is increased prison capacity. While it is certainly not ideal to incarcerate, it is for many criminals a cheaper solution than allowing them to continue their activities uninhibited amongst the good people who make up most of our society. The average career criminal costs society far more in terms of theft, pain, and medical care than it costs to keep him or her in prison. This is not even taking into consideration the indirect costs such as a lack of security or the impediments to commerce that keep crime-ridden areas economically depressed. Incarceration of repeat offenders increases the peace within our communities that alternate sentencing schemes do not.
As we have seen through the recent publicly displayed debacles within our probation system, probation is a toothless tiger, and is not to be taken seriously. Accordingly, the Department of Corrections should be given some tangible goals for probation, and a reasonable but fixed deadline to meet them. If they are not met, then the whole probation program should be scrapped and the money spent on incarceration.
d. Health care: What should the state do next to address the problem of adults and children without adequate health care or insurance?
Market based reform is needed to address the huge problems in healthcare. We need to allow insurers from out of state to compete in North Carolina. We need to lower the cost of insurance by removing most or all of the 46 coverage mandates in North Carolina. I ought to be able to purchase insurance that, for instance, does not cover pregnancy or substance abuse, if this coverage does not interest me. (It indeed does not interest me, as I neither intend on getting pregnant nor on developing a drug habit.) Right now, I can't. Let me (and others like me) save our money.
e. Foreclosures: What more should the state be doing to help consumers avoid foreclosure and hold onto their homes?
Speaking as a real estate broker, I have had a front row seat for this latest episode of foreclosures. It is certainly a sad day for many people. The reality, however, is that unless there is force or fraud involved in a mortgage contract, it is not the business of the state to get involved in a private contract between two legally competent entities.
Some people made stupid deals. If they signed a contract with their eyes open to this fact, then that is their problem. If they signed a contract that they did not understand, then I hope they learn something from this and do not do it again. There is an attorney at every real estate closing. The attorney works for the buyer. Part of that attorney's job is to make sure that the buyer understands what they are signing. Some advice: If you do NOT understand what you are signing, DON'T SIGN IT. If you do understand it, honor your commitments and pay your bill.
What is missed in this whole discussion is that there are a tremendous number of alternatives to foreclosure. The lenders, especially in today's market, do NOT want to foreclose and take possession of your property. They are (especially at this point) willing to work with borrowers to find alternatives to foreclosure. This may be a graceful exit, where the lender pays a sum for the property owner to move out and sign over the deed. This may be forbearance, modifying an adjustable rate loan to a lower, fixed interest rate, or it may be holding off from foreclosing until a market sale or a "short sale" is accomplished. For all of this, all the delinquent borrower needs is a competent real estate advisor, and not the State of North Carolina. Ignoring the mortgage company never helps.
f. Energy: Do you support off-shore drilling in the state's coastal waters? Other state initiatives to reduce gasoline and other energy costs?
I support off-shore drilling in the coastal waters of North Carolina. This will help increase oil supplies and also will provide some highly paid jobs to many of our coastal communities. Many Eastern North Carolina communities have missed out the recent boom times in North Carolina, so these jobs will be a boon for these areas.
I support the state allowing the free market to work so that the inventor who does indeed build a better mousetrap (or a car that runs on pine straw or gets 350 miles per gallon or whatever) can have the world beat a path to his or her door without the state getting in the way with unnecessary regulation. Remember, simple economics dictates that many technologies that already exist were too expensive per mile when we had ninety-nine cent gas. At this point, though, they may indeed be cheap compared with running cars on four dollar gas. The price for gas has sent the signal that there is an opportunity for inventors to take advantage of this situation, without the state doing a thing.
g. The mental health crisis: Everyone agrees it's a mess. Now what?
We need to keep Dorthea Dix Mental Hospital open until there are at least as many mental health beds open as there are now in Wake County. Speaking as a police officer, community based care has been a disaster. Many of the mentally ill have a dual diagnosis of mental illness and substance abuse. If they are provided inpatient care in a safe setting, they can live relatively decent lives. Unfortunately, when they are left to their own devices due to the lack of inpatient mental health care being available, many of them have problems. They become non-compliant with their medications and become hazardous to themselves and others. They frequently end up as chronic substance abusers, and are common sights in our jails.
This is a problem that has affected me personally. In a line of duty shooting in 2005, I shot a mentally ill man who had two revolvers -- one in each hand. Had he been in the institution that he needed, it could have saved a lot of pain and expense to all involved.
Given this set of circumstances, the state needs to add additional mental health bed capacity in areas where it is needed. This is not a blank check to do everything for everybody, or to pay for non-residents of North Carolina. But all who seriously consider the current system will note that it is at once expensive and dysfunctional.
A good solution would be to provide money and legal liability protections so that our local hospitals (such as WakeMed, Duke, and Rex) have a financial incentive to provide those psych beds. Perhaps providing adequate Medicaid reimbursement for inpatient mental health services along with tying the construction of new inpatient mental health beds to Certificate of Need waivers to allow for new non-mental health beds would be incentive enough to get more of them built. How about this: For each mental health bed provided, a hospital can add 1.5 surgical or other unit beds, and not have these count against them in the CON process.
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 lower taxes on everyone in this state. The state has no revenue problem. It has a spending problem. What revenues the state does need ought to be from broad-based sources and at a low-rate.
i. School vouchers: Should the state provide vouchers to parents who choose private (K-12) schools for their children? If so, for what amount?
School choice is a good thing. Rich folks have it. Middle class families who are willing to make it a financial priority may have it, but few of the poor have it. To take a poor child and give him or her a good education is to enable the child to get out of poverty. To make that same child languish in a failing public school that is not providing that good education is a sad situation. Competition brings out the best in all of us -- public schools that have to compete with charter schools and private schools for students will become more attuned to finding how to succeed than they otherwise would be.
As to the amount of funding the system should provide to send a child to a school of their choice, it would seem reasonable to allocate to the "choice school" 80% of what the public school would otherwise have received with the enrollment of that child.
8) 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?
I am absolutely in favor of the death penalty in North Carolina. We obviously have to be sure that we are sending guilty people away to this fate, and that their constitutional rights are scrupulously observed. This has not happened in every case throughout North Carolina's history. The appellate courts and the NC Actual Innocence Commission are good checks and balances on the state's awesome power to exact this penalty. Once the state's case has cleared these hurdles, then the death penalty is an appropriate choice for many murderers.
I will not support any moratorium or second-guessing about some unobtainable perfect fairness that the state is supposed to achieve in the application of the death penalty. As far as I am concerned, the decision to commit murder is not a fair one in the selection of victims, and guilty parties are not entitled to a free shot just because of membership in one statistical group or another. Murderers "play the game and take their chances."
9) 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 anti-discrimination laws, including state personnel laws.
I think that all persons should have the same rights, and not special rights. I do not believe that gay marriages or civil unions should be given sanction under North Carolina law. Sexual orientation and identity should not become yet another protected class in employment or other law. The best policy is for all persons to keep discussion of their sexual desires and identity to themselves, as these topics are generally not discourse suited for polite company, and are certainly inappropriate to dwell upon in the workplace.
But I do want to cut the taxes of all LGBT folks.
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? 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?
I do not support the right to choose to kill an innocent human life. Unless there is force involved (rape,) women and men both have a right to choose: They can choose not to have sex, who to have sex with, and what sort of pregnancy precautions to observe. But once two people choose to have sexual relations, they can have a hand in creating a human life that is incapable of articulating his or her say in the matter. Protecting innocent life is a hallmark of all civilizations worthy of the name. Killing babies is not.
I support abstinence based sex education. The ideal in a relationship is to abstain from sexual relations until marriage. The fact that many of us do not actually reach this ideal does not change the fact that we ought to strive for it ourselves and encourage it in others. Other decisions about teaching sexuality beyond this are best tied to the emotional maturity of the individual young person. The parents are the best people to know what is an appropriate age at which to teach an individual young person about sexuality. They and are also in a position to make sure their teaching about sexuality is properly explained within the context of their family's moral and religious belief system. In fact, they have a duty to explain matters this way.
11) Should public employees have the right to bargain collectively in North Carolina?
Along with collective bargaining come the potential for strikes and for other inappropriate work actions. Accordingly, I cannot support collective bargaining. I believe in treating state employees fairly and with due process, but not collectively. Collective bargaining increases costs to the taxpayers, who often are "The Forgotten Man" when we talk of issues such as these.
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?
The 287(g) program is a good thing. At the heart of it, you have to remember that illegal aliens do NOT have a right to be here. There is a laundry list of financial and social ills that are caused by illegal immigration. By making it more difficult for illegal aliens to live in North Carolina, by the 287(g) program and by other legal means, many illegal aliens will "self-deport." They will either leave the country or become a burden on jurisdictions that roll out the red carpet for them.
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?
We need to ban illegal aliens from attending college in North Carolina unless they pay a tuition somewhat in excess of the full actual cost of providing that education, including an appropriate allocation of capital costs. We must also make sure that, in any particular instance, illegal aliens enrolling are not displacing a legal resident or citizen from any class. Even at out-of-state tuition rates, the taxpayers are still subsidizing the education of UNC system and community college students. Providing subsidies for illegal aliens is not an appropriate use of tax money.