Linda Coleman | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week

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Linda Coleman

Candidate for Lieutenant Governor


Name as it appears on the ballot: Linda Coleman

Date of birth: July 12, 1949

Campaign website:

Occupation & Employer: State Personnel Director, State of North Carolina, January 2009-March 2012 (resigned to focus on Lt. Governor campaign)


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?

My top three priorities are: education, jobs and the economy, and environmental protection.

The citizens of our state are fundamentally concerned with the prospects of a brighter future. They want to the renew the promise that their children will be better off than they were. By making a firm commitment to education, creating the foundation for workforce training and jobs, and environmental protection we can offer that opportunity for all citizens of our state.

2. 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.

As past chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, I have led the effort to renew our commitment to our school system. During my tenure as Chair of the Board, Wake County was consistently rated as one of the best school systems in North Carolina. I consistently supported funds requested from the school board and spearheaded school construction initiatives. I supported teacher supplements in addition to teacher's state salaries.

As past Representative in the General Assembly, I launched anti-meth initiatives to make our communities safer. As a recipient of the Legislator of the Year Award by the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, I am very supportive of the adoption of renewable energy alternatives. Additionally, I was recognized by health advocates for my work combating cervical cancer in women by providing early screenings and prevention programs. I launched initiatives to assist small businesses, to ensure that our state's number one job providers get the resources to strengthen our economy.

As State Personnel Director, the state's top human resource officer, I was charged with attracting and retaining the best talent to our state agencies—a skillset that will be needed to move our state forward economically and financially. We need to attract industries and form alliances and partnerships with the public and private sectors my background perfectly fits this role. We need to refocus our training programs, another facet of my background as State Personnel Director.

As a teacher, I had a chance to give back to the educational system that taught me the value of service and the importance of providing a quality education for all students. As a former Human Resources Director for the North Carolina Community College System and currently serves as a member of the Wake Technical Community College's Board of Trustees, I understand the importance of the community college system to our state and its economy.

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

I consider myself to be a progressive candidate. My commitment to education is unyielding. I support womens rights and equality. I support civil unions and favor the cent sales tax for education. I believe in research and innovation as a driver of economic growth. I believe in a simplified tax system that affords our citizens opportunity. I believe an adequate healthcare system is vital to building a brighter economy. I believe in sound transportation policy that is tied to comprehensive energy reform.

My record for standing up for women, children, and underrepresented groups speaks for itself. I have made moving our state forward the mission of my life. As Lt. Governor, I will not only be concerned with job growth, but sustaining our economy and opportunity for years to come.

4. 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 support juvenile justice reform to include raising the age of which juveniles can be prosecuted as adults. North Carolina is one of two states that still prosecutes 16 year-olds as adults. Our juvenile justice system in North Carolina needs to join the rest of the nation; we need to look at reform programs for non-violent offenders. Throughout my career I have been a voice for all groups of people to ensure fairness, justice, and equality. I also strongly oppose the Constitutional Amendment proposed by the legislature.

5. Is there a stand you'll take on principle if elected, even though it may cost you some popularity points with voters?

The Independent reported that I was the first statewide candidate to announce my support for civil unions. Regardless of polling data, controversy or public opinion, I believe that we cannot subject the rights of the minority to the will of the majority. Hence, a referendum is not the appropriate political course of action to take with respect to defining marriage.

The State's Constitution sets up the framework of which the people give their consent to be governed. It was never meant to enshrine partisan political issues of any particular time into the document.

6. Do you support the Racial Justice Act? Is it time for North Carolina to abolish the death penalty?

I favor the Racial Justice Act; I support a moratorium on the death penalty.

7. 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?

I do not support a Voter ID law. I believe there are sufficient safeguards currently in place.

8. 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?

I will vote against Amendment One. I believe it fundamentally alters the laws in our state, enshrines discrimination into the Constitution, and barricades opportunity for younger generations.

If passed, it will prevent our state from attracting top talent in the LGBT community, and hurt us more in an already ailing economy. At a time where the agenda should be on job creation, the current legislature is working against that through this amendment and other social issues.

I fundamentally support the adoption of civil unions and have made that a defining tenet of my campaign. Being the first statewide candidate to announce my support for civil unions, I have set the stage for the debate among Democratic candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor.

9. 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?

As a recipient of the Legislator of the Year Award by the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, I am very supportive of the adoption of renewable energy alternatives. As a state and nation, we need to reduce our reliance on foreign oil. This will affect everything from job creation to national security. As Lt. Governor, I will support inverting our energy economy to the job creators of our state.

I will do so by launching an Energy Summit that brings together business leaders, government, non-profit leaders, elected officials, and private citizens alike. Together we will take on the energy crisis yet protect our state's natural resources and the safety of our citizens.

I will support comprehensive energy reform that includes job creation, research, exploration, and innovation of new, renewable energy sources. I will focus on diversifying our energy scheme, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and advocate the immediate use of more renewable energy sources.

10. 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?

My policies will help all citizens, but poor people will be specifically helped in the following ways:

I will support low-performing skills, address graduation rates (and drop-out rates), and focus on workforce training that includes emphasis on vocational skills, including high-tech jobs in biotechnology.

This reform begins at the very beginning of childhood education. I will enhance retention programs and develop strategies to drastically increase our graduation rates.

Additionally, I will support the smooth implementation of the Affordable Healthcare & Patient Protection Act. I believe that part of moving our economy forward is built on ensuring that every citizen is healthy.

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

To ease congestion in the Triangle we need to provide more mass transit options to include light rail. User fees have a definitely role in transportation funding.

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

Yes; we need to explore additional options for non-violent offenders including education and rehabilitation options.

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

The state should put more dollars into community healthcare clinics. North Carolina currently does a good job to reach out to assist children, through the S-CHIP (State-Children's Health Improvement Program). There is always room fore improvement and healthcare will be a continuing concern throughout my tenure as Lt. Governor.

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

State policy needs to be responsible in the sense that consumers are protected and business is able to thrive simultaneously. We need to make a commitment as a state to provide financial literacy classes at the high school level and throughout our community college system.

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

Yes, it is a mess. I believe what we need to do is take a fresh look at the whole mental health system in North Carolina. First we need to asses an accurate picture of the state of the system and decide where we want to go in North Carolina.

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

Rather than piecemeal legislation, we need to address taxes at the national and state level through a comprehensive reform that streamlines our tax code and makes it fair. We cannot balance the budget on the backs of children and public schools.

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