Kim Hanchette | Candidate Questionnaires - Statewide | Indy Week

Elections » Candidate Questionnaires - Statewide

Kim Hanchette

Name as it appears on the ballot: Kim Hanchette
Full legal name, if different Kimberly Cowell Hanchette
Date of birth: 09/21/1958
Home address: 4100 Converse Drive, Raleigh, NC 27609
Mailing address, if different from home:
Campaign website:
Occupation & employer: CEO, Founder Diabetes Management Solutions, also known as “The Diabetes Bus Initiative” ®
Home phone: none
Cell phone: (919) 345-5074

1. How would you rate the previous session of the General Assembly? Explain. FOR INCUMBENT: What have been your most difficult decisions in your current capacity? Why?

FOR CHALLENGERS: What decisions has the incumbent made that you most disagree with? What would you have done different?

The Republican majority is moving our state backward in a number of very important ways. One of my biggest concerns is the harm being done by the Republican education agenda. After years of drastic budget cuts to teacher pay, and even with the most recent small raise for the newest teachers, North Carolina ranks 46th in the nation. This means some of our best teachers are working two jobs to make ends meet or are taking jobs in Virginia or South Carolina. Unfortunately, rather than fund our schools, the Republicans continue the choice to give massive tax handouts to special interests and out-of-state corporations. Their priorities are just wrong. A strong public education system from pre-K through high school and quality, affordable public universities are key to providing economic security for working families as well as attracting new businesses.

As a legislator, I would bring my health care experience from starting a successful diabetes health nonprofit to the General Assembly. Turning down the Medicaid expansion dollars was a costly, ideological decision that puts the health of 600,000 working North Carolinians at risk needlessly. It also threatens rural hospitals as well as our economy, which could benefit from the jobs it would bring. Unlike the current majority, I plan to stand with working families and the middle class, so that our state provides a good quality of life for people at every income level.

2. Should the state further cut public education or increase the public education budget? What are your thoughts on the recent cuts to teacher tenure? What are your views on charter schools and voucher programs?

The cuts that Governor McCrory and the Republican leadership made to education are hurting our kids and our schools in ways that will hurt North Carolina’s future. I’ve talked to teachers and parents in my district and they are all frustrated by constantly being asked to do more with less. With pay cuts for them and pay raises for political appointees at the Capitol, it’s time we put our priorities straight and truly invest in education and support our teachers, our kids and our local schools.

If elected, I would work tirelessly to support former Gov. Jim Hunt’s comprehensive plan to raise teacher pay to the national average within four years because supporting our children means that we have to support our teachers. To that point, I would also move to reinstate the incentive for our teachers to obtain their advanced degrees. Both studies and experience show that teachers with advanced degrees have a deeper content knowledge and are better able to dive deeper into the subject matter with our children. The General Assembly’s assault on our teacher’s assistants across the state must be reversed. We need teacher’s assistants in our classrooms so that every child has the opportunity to learn and get individualized attention.

The General Assembly majority is trying to create two school systems in North Carolina, a public school system and a private one. I support charter schools to encourage experimentation and new approaches to find innovative ways to improve education. However, I disagree with the Republican’s approach. I believe charter schools should operate with the same standards and requirements as public schools. The Republican majority has carved out too many exemptions for charter schools that allow them to operate on an uneven playing field versus our public schools. We cannot support student discrimination or lack of accountability with public school funds.

On vouchers my position is simple: I believe taxpayer money should only be spent on public schools. It is irresponsible to spend millions on vouchers for private schools while simultaneously underfunding our public schools.

Per-pupil spending is almost dead last at 49th in the nation. Most classes are using textbooks that are as much as a decade out of date and without enough for all of the students. The teaching fellows scholarship program that brought a pipeline of certified teachers from North Carolina in every 100 counties, until this General Assembly eliminated it. The Teach for America program does not replace that program since many TFA teachers only stay in our state to teach for two years.

Better pay, respect through due process and advanced degree incentives, and the teaching fellows program all have a positive and proven effect on public education in North Carolina. In order to provide a quality education to our students we need the best and brightest teachers in the classroom.

3. Do you believe the Racial Justice Act should be reinstated? Do you believe it’s time for North Carolina to abolish the death penalty?

While the Racial Justice Act was not perfect, I support its goal of removing racial bias from capital punishment sentencing. Race should never be a consideration when deciding to impose the death penalty in North Carolina. However, I do believe that criminals that willingly commit heinous crimes that end human life should have to face capital punishment as a consequence to their actions. As a legislator, I plan to bring people together to ensure that the death penalty is enforced fairly and without bias in North Carolina.

4. Are you in favor of the Voter ID law? Why or why not? Do you believe North Carolina’s Voter ID law makes it easier or harder for citizens to vote?

The GOP leadership of the General Assembly has gone to great lengths to insulate them from being responsible and accountable to the voters, and nothing serves as proof of that more than their voter suppression law. Their voter suppression law was clearly designed to make it harder for citizens to vote. The law cut Early Vote and ended same-day registration. These changes were designed to make it harder for North Carolina’s citizens to vote. The court has restored same day registration and voting out of precinct. Once elected I will fight to expand Early Vote because I believe that North Carolina is better served with more citizens engaging in the Democratic process.

5. What is your position on opening North Carolina’s coastline to off-shore drilling and exploration? On fracking? And should additional nuclear plants in North Carolina be encouraged, discouraged or stopped?

I believe that drilling offshore from our beautiful coastline is too risky for the unknown return on investment and the known detriment to our tourism, boating, marina, fishing, and park and recreation industries. I am concerned about the dangers of fracking that have yet to be discovered and proven. I question the wisdom of additional nuclear plants in our state. There have been multiple scares surrounding nuclear reactors at our existing Harris plant in just the last year.

The recent coal ash spill in the Dan River underscores the importance of protecting the environment and ensuring our families continue to have access to safe drinking water. I fully support common-sense safeguards that would ensure power companies are fully responsible for the cost of spills and cannot simply pass their costs on to their customers. As it stands now, Duke Energy is only being required to pay for the clean up through 2014.

North Carolina is also moving too fast on fracking. Again, my priority is protecting drinking water. Fracking allows big oil companies to inject an unknown cocktail of chemicals into the ground and on an individual’s property without their permission. Current fracking legislation doesn’t provide enough protections to justify moving forward with the practice in North Carolina.

6. What are your views on gay marriage?

I support marriage equality. We are blessed to live in a country where freedom and dignity are enshrined in our governing documents. I’m a proud supporter of marriage equality because our families, friends, and neighbors deserve to enjoy the same set of rights and protections that we all enjoy.

7. What are your views on the Moral Monday movement?

The Moral Monday movement is an organic reaction to the policies being passed by our current leaders in North Carolina. The crowds and issues they support are diverse. Anytime you have crowds of thousands showing up to make their voices heard about issues they believe in, our elected leaders have an obligation to listen to their concerns.

The Moral Monday movement accomplished a great deal and continues to shine a spotlight on the harmful policies being passed in the General Assembly.

I was proud to be a part of this movement to stand with educators, my fellow healthcare professionals, and women as we let our voices be heard on issues that we know are hurting people and the North Carolina we all call home.

8. What are your views on collective bargaining and the effects of North Carolina’s “right-to-work” law? Would you support a bill enshrining “right-to-work” in the state constitution? Would you support a law that allowed public employees to engage in collective bargaining?

We need to make sure that North Carolina is the best state in the country to live, work, and raise a family. This means giving our students the education they need to compete in the modern economy, supporting small businesses and helping create good, new jobs. Unfortunately, thanks to our current leaders, our workforce and economy are shrinking and leaving hardworking North Carolinians with fewer options. I strongly believe that we need to create new jobs and grow our economy, not simply legislate what types of jobs people should have.

The state constitution should only be amended under extreme circumstances. The current leadership in our General Assembly seem to believe it should be amended at the drop of a hat for political reasons. I didn’t support Amendment One and I do not support adding right to work to the state constitution.

9. If elected, what would you do to protect North Carolina’s environment and natural resources? Do you believe state environmental regulatory bodies need more funding or less funding, and why?

As a legislator, my priority would be to protect all our natural resources and drinking water. I support common-sense protections to ensure the air we breathe and water we drink won’t be harmful to North Carolina families and children. There should be expert testimony given on potential harm to our water and air, as well as full transparency in regard to harmful chemicals for which there could be exposure. I think those charged with protecting our natural resources and drinking water have a very important job and the state should ensure they have the resources they need to carry out their job.

10. 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.

It is difficult to predict a principled stand that might cost me popularity points with voters. I have never let what other people think or believe sway me from a principled, well-educated opinion. I’ve learned that finding solutions requires consensus building. I know that balancing all sides of a problem and getting feedback from stakeholders, experts, and citizens is the best way toward a common goal. I am a big proponent of civil discourse in our democracy. I believe that the current atmosphere on Jones Street is one that does not allow for healthy public discourse from all sides of an issue. I promise to bring the values and passion that I have brought to my other causes with me to the General Assembly, including collaborative, civil engagement.

11. 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 believe that we should trust women to make all of their personal reproductive choices with their physicians and family. I do not believe that politicians have any business getting between women and their doctors, let alone dictating what should be said, read to them, or what invasive procedures should be performed. Politicians aren’t qualified to make these decisions, nor is it their place to get between women and their families and physicians with these deeply personal decisions.

12. 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 fully support non-partisan re-districting.

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