Richard Moore | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week

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Richard Moore

Candidate for Governor


Name as it appears on the ballot: Richard Moore
Party: Democrat
Date of Birth: August 30, 1960
Campaign Web Site:
Occupation & Employer: State Treasurer, State of North Carolina
Years lived in North Carolina: 43

1. What do you see as the most important issues facing North Carolina? What are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?

There is a lot of agreement on what the big issues are: health care, education, ensuring a sustainable future and managing our economy in tough times. The big difference will be our approach. The answer is not just spending more money and making more promises, it's about making better decisions.

I have proposed a major economic stimulus plan that will increase the minimum wage, cut property taxes for seniors, help us meet the infrastructure needs created by our rapid growth, and make high quality child care more affordable for working families.

My top education priority will be to cut the high school dropout rate in half by teaching real job skills, holding our schools accountable and making community college free for all high school graduates. We will build schools faster and smarter with my school construction plan. And we will work to recruit and retain the best teachers, principals and administrators for our schools.

We will make sure every single child in North Carolina has health insurance. We will improve the quality of health care by reducing waste and medical errors. And we will work to make health care more affordable for families and small businesses.

And I was the first gubernatorial candidate to put forward a comprehensive energy plan to help ensure a sustainable energy future for North Carolina. It includes making government a leading consumer of alternative fuels, measuring the State’s carbon footprint annually and setting targets for future reductions, improving the energy efficiency of state buildings, and utility rate reform that encourages new, clean electricity generation.

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.

I have a history of delivering results, stretching the state’s dollars and making meaningful reforms and I have more executive experience than any other candidate running for governor. This experience has demonstrated that I can improve and reform the operations of state government to better deliver existing services and free up money that can be invested in such priorities as health care, education, reducing poverty and protecting our environment.

As Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety in the Hunt Administration, I was responsible for one of the largest divisions of state government. I led the response to numerous federally-declared natural disasters, including hurricanes Fran and Floyd. We upgraded the state’s emergency management system and made sure first responders and victims had the supplies they needed when the storms came.

As State Treasurer, I oversee the state’s $80 billion retirement system, which was ranked as the second strongest state pension fund in the nation by Standard & Poor’s for the last three years. This money belongs to more than 800,000 teachers, police officers, National Guard members and other hardworking state and local employees. We have made investment changes that have generated billions of dollars in additional returns to ensure the strength of this fund. I also oversee the state’s debt and have worked hard to maintain our state’s triple A credit rating, despite the financial downturn that occurred in 2001-2002. By improving the way that North Carolina issues debt, we have also generated millions of dollars in interest savings that the General Assembly and governor can invest in other priorities.

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

I define myself as an excellent public manager who will stand up to special interests, make tough decisions and enact meaningful changes that expand the opportunities available to all North Carolinians.

This is reflected in such past achievements as raising the state minimum wage, securing the retirement savings of our dedicated public servants, and standing up to large corporations to fight outrageous executive pay, protect consumers from abusive lending practices, and address global warming.

My economic stimulus plan demonstrates this philosophy in my platform. We will expand opportunity by making community college tuition free for all high school graduates who want to expand their skills for the 21st century workforce. We will eliminate the child care subsidy waiting list, which will help thousands of working families across the state. We will address the infrastructure needs that our state’s explosive growth has created. And we will cut property taxes for thousands of seniors living on a fixed income so they can stay in their homes.

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 proposed creating a “Democracy In Action” fund designed to get special interest money out of campaigns and raise voters’ level of awareness and involvement in the political process. My plan is based on a 1995 proposal by then Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker. The proposal creates an endowment to provide funds to gubernatorial candidates who agree to fundraising restrictions and other guidelines to ensure a positive campaign.

The “Democracy in Action” fund takes the idea a step further by adding pieces that require the candidates to spend their time campaigning and talking about issues beyond 30 second ads. It requires any candidate opting into the fund to:

  1. Agree to twice a month debates in the first two months of the election year and weekly from March to the primary,

  2. Be available to meet with reporters weekly in the year of the election, and

  3. Give public speeches twice a month in the year of the election.

The “Democracy In Action” bipartisan independent board would have the responsibility to structure debates that allow for an in-depth exchange of ideas between the candidates, choose the moderator, ensure the debates and speeches are held across the state, and enlist the support of news media outlets to broadcast the debates and speeches. The board would approve the speech venues and withhold funds for any candidate who does not continue to meet the terms of the fund.

Voters are more tuned into the presidential primary than ever before. They are turning out to vote in record numbers because they have seen the candidates on stage in regular speeches, in twenty-six lengthy, detailed, free form debates, and in regular interviews with reporters. We should do all we can to offer voters the same excitement, enthusiasm, and level of information when choosing their governor here in North Carolina.

5. 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.

In January of 2006, I became the first statewide elected official to call for a raise in the minimum wage, which then stood at $5.15 per hour. I made this stand at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Chamber, the largest business organization in the state, and a traditional opponent of increases to the minimum wage. I continued to make dozens of speeches across the state over the course of that spring, and am happy to say that the minimum wage increased by one dollar just a year later.

As a gubernatorial candidate, I have proposed increasing the minimum wage again. In my first term, we will raise the minimum wage by one dollar. This increase will help ensure that the state’s minimum wage keeps pace with inflation and grows with our economy. Employees who work hard and play by the rules ought to be able to make ends meet.

6. If these issues haven’t been addressed above, please comment on:

a. Poverty: What steps, if any, do you advocate to lift up the poor in North Carolina?

I think my economic stimulus plan, which increases the minimum wage and expands opportunity for hard-working people across North Carolina will reduce poverty and strengthen our safety net. Additionally, I support efforts to increase affordable housing and funding for the Housing Trust Fund. We must be mindful in all policy reforms of the effects that they will have on our most vulnerable citizens.

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

I have a detailed transportation reform plan that is designed to cut politics out of the transportation process. We’ll establish clear metrics to measure the need for projects and programs as well as their effectiveness, eliminate legislative slush funds, and prohibit Board of Transportation members from making political contributions to candidates. With these steps we can end the backroom deals that govern too many of our transportation decisions. We will build roads where they are needed, not where the insiders want them.

Additionally, I would like to increase support and funding for mass transit in the Triangle and communities across North Carolina. I have proposed a $1.5 billion transportation bond to help us address our major transportation needs.

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

Our criminal justice system is overtaxed and is struggling to keep up with the demands placed upon it. There are numerous places for improvement. For example, as a leader of Governor Hunt’s Juvenile Justice Reform Commission when I served as Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety, I realized the importance of having community-based alternative-sentencing programs available. Unfortunately, many of our communities across the state do not have the resources to offer these programs and our Commission’s recommendations were not fully funded. As governor, I am committed to ensuring that more alternatives are available for juveniles so they do not fall through the cracks and can get the help and supervision they need at an early age.

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

My top health care priority is to ensure that every child in North Carolina is enrolled in a health care plan. Of the 260,000 uninsured children in our state, 180,000 are already eligible for existing coverage plans and simply are not enrolled. I think that is all too typical of Raleigh—a new initiative is started but the implementation is lacking. We will change that and enroll these children by working with hospitals, schools, and community organizations to provide a financial incentive for each new child enrolled in a health care plan. We will also increase the eligibility limits for these programs to expand coverage options for more children.

I also have a plan to improve the quality of health care by reducing preventable medical errors. And I will work to make health insurance more affordable for all of North Carolina’s families by holding costs down and helping small businesses purchase insurance for their employees.

We will start an unprecedented effort in North Carolina to promote healthy living, prevention and disease management – starting in our schools and continuing through to adulthood.

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

This is an issue that I have already taken on in my role as State Treasurer.

I recently launched the Mortgage Protection Principles, eight basic standards of transparency and fairness that should become the new standard for responsible and respectable mortgage lending. These common-sense principles are supported by a national coalition and will help to prevent future mortgage meltdowns and reform abusive practices in the lending industry.

I also called for an SEC investigation into the sale of stock by Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo. Countrywide, caught at the center of the subprime meltdown, routinely took advantage of its customers by qualifying them for loans they were unable to pay back. Mozilo cashed in $145 million worth of stock options just before his company’s stock went into a tailspin. The SEC did open an investigation on Mozilo, and he recently announced that he would give up $37.5 million in compensation.

As governor, I will continue to find ways to protect consumers by strengthening lending laws, cracking down on corporate abuses, and teaching financial literacy in our schools.

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

The systemic problems we face in mental health are troubling. Fixing them requires leadership that is invested in finding long-term solutions, developing the ability to analyze the likely impact of policy changes, stabilizing and streamlining funding streams, and improving accountability. Specifically, I will institutionalize ongoing task forces that bring experts in to review state policies and proposed changes. We will increase financial oversight to ensure that programs are staying within their budget and achieving their intended goals. We will work to ensure that communities across the state have good locally based care options, which will help people get the care they need and reduce the burdens on our hospitals and judicial system. And we will make sure that local providers are wellqualified professionals who are following strong protocols for care and financial management.

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

As the North Carolina Justice Center recently noted, our state and local tax system remains regressive – it “requires the poorest households to pay a greater share of their incomes in taxes than the wealthy.” I would like to make our tax system more progressive. Specifically, I have proposed doubling the income limit for the state’s homestead exclusion for senior property owners from $25,000 to $50,000, which would cut the property taxes of thousands of senior households in half. I have proposed cutting taxes for small businesses, which are an essential engine for our economy but are often unable to take advantage of the strategies employed by large, multi-state or multi-national corporations. And I have been a strong supporter of the state’s establishment of an Earned Income Tax Credit, which is an important credit for hard-working low-income families.

7. 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 believe there should be a death penalty for the most heinous crimes. The governor’s role in clemency is critically important, and I will review every case thoroughly to assure that justice is being served. I also support increasing resources for public defenders.

I do not support a moratorium on the death penalty, though I am in favor of continued review of its implementation.

8. 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 support existing law, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. In 2006 the Department of State Treasurer updated our Equal Employment Opportunity Plan to include sexual orientation as a protected class. As Governor I will not wait for the legislature to make such a change in the State Personnel Act, but will instead use my executive power to make this change in every agency in my administration.

9. 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, I support a woman’s right to choose. This is another area where elected officials should take a principled stand, even if it costs votes.

10. Should public employees have the right to bargain collectively in North Carolina?

We should allow public employees to negotiate work issues with their employers in a mutually-respectful manner, but public employees should not be allowed to strike.

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