Ten Questions and Answers with Erik Davis, Candidate for NC House District 78
Interviewer's note: Erik Davis is running as a Democrat for NC Congressional District 78 against Republican Neal Jackson. These questions were submitted to Mr. McNeill via email and he sent his answers back via the same method.
You don't live in Moore county. Please explain to voters here how electing you will benefit them.
While I do not live in Moore County, I want to be a Representative who listens to my entire District. I welcome anybody in Randolph or Moore County to ask me questions, voice their concerns, and hold me accountable. My Facebook, Twitter, and Email are all open. If you see me on the street, please feel free to talk to me. Let me know what you are looking for so I can represent you. That said, I feel my desire to expand Medicaid, protect women's reproductive rights, protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ population instead of demonizing them as my opponent does (literally holding that accepting their existence is going to destroy the Nation), expand affordable, high-speed internet and the like would all be a blanket benefit for Moore County by themselves.
Do you feel your opponent is running a fair and honest campaign against you?
Honestly, no. He hasn't attacked me per se, but his campaign has refused to talk with my campaign and blocked me and anybody who mentions me on social media. His posts have also implied he was already the candidate-elect without any mention of actually having an opponent. I feel that is behavior unbecoming of a Representative.
Tell us what your plan is to fix the issues Moore County faces due to the North Carolina General Assembly’s tier system.
The Tier System, while great in theory, needs work in practice. Providing aid to enhance equity across the State is a goal we should strive for, but the current system doesn't work as intended in many cases. I feel the system should be retailored so that it is more targeted and uses more parameters for designation. Currently a County could be designated a Tier 2 or 3 due to an extremely affluent and expanding geographic region even if other, larger areas of that county would be designated a Tier 1.
Adding to issues with the methodology is that it currently doesn't give an adequate insight to wages and unemployment. A county could have lower unemployment due to lower wage positions, bumping them into a higher tier, despite there not being a large statistical difference in mobility and access between another county with higher unemployment.
The North Carolina Education Lottery is a shell game. The NCGA uses money generated by the lottery to REPLACE education funds rather than to enhance them. How would you work to ensure the education lottery is used to enhance funds for education as promised?
The point of the "Education lottery" was originally and ostensibly a way to generate more revenue for schools. Currently, only a small portion actually gets spent on education, with that portion potentially replacing actual funding instead of supplementing it. We need to bring back the statement that was dropped from the original legislation that would have required revenue to be used in addition to, and not as a substitute for, state funding.
Reproductive rights is a huge issue in this campaign. As a house representative in NC, what would you do to ensure the privacy of women's healthcare records and to protect the rights of all citizens to make decisions with their doctors about their own health care?
I would work to maintain the rights of women over their own healthcare and reproduction. I would work against the push from those who would place unconstitutional bounties or restrictions on people for the "crime" of exercising their basic rights. The current use of text messages and search history to go after women who have had an abortion, are seeking one, or who suffered complications and are now being accused of having an abortion simply needs to go. I will not stand for Legislation similar to other states trying to unlawfully punish women for traveling to other states for healthcare. I know the "police state" is a big dog whistle on the Right that they claim Democrats are pushing for, but using search history against women for practicing healthcare and banning travel to other states is about as "police state" as it gets. The Supreme Court erroneously gave States the ability to make and break rights, and I will work to make NC a State where rights are given and respected, not taken away and trampled on.
Our jails are full of marijuana users. What is your stance on legalization of marijuana and granting relief to those who have already been convicted and sentenced for marijuana possession?
I feel that Marijuana use should not be a crime, especially regarding medicinal use. Why make it a crime if we can allow tobacco sales? Why ruin people's lives by sending them to jail for something that is no more harmful than other regulated drugs? There is even the argument that decriminalizing marijuana would actually decrease backroom and more illicit dealings surrounding the topic since there will be no need for them. Decriminalizing marijuana use could actually lower other crime rates.
I also feel it should be retroactive. Those in prison should have the crime of marijuana use expunged, and their sentence should be altered if that reduces their sentence or would release them. We can't hold people for a crime that is no longer a crime.
I will also state that stores and other companies should be able to enforce their own regulations on the use of marijuana on their premises the same as smoking.
What is your position on the massive effort to ban books from our school libraries that some members of the community find offensive?
Call me crazy, but I'm not one to want to ban books. There are plenty of offensive books, but I feel there are better ways to deal with them than banning them. If people don't want to read a book because of what it says, don't read the book because of what it says.
That said, I do have standards when it comes to this. Books regarding extremist thought akin to terrorism or hate speech or the like need to be addressed. However, simply banning a book because a person took umbrage with it should not be our default. Currently, many books are being attacked because of topics such as the LGBTQ+ community. There is absolutely no reason for such bans. When books begin to be banned, thought begins to be suppressed. Ideas become regulated. That is not a path we want to tread lightly down.
Tell my readers how we can expand Medicaid without causing a huge burden on Moore County taxpayers.
Currently we already pay for much of the expansion while getting nothing for it. Our tax dollars are already being used to fund the expansion in other states. Accepting the expansion will, for the large part, simply be bringing our tax dollars back into the state. There is a small portion the state would fund, but it would easily pay itself through reduced load on hospitals, lowered premiums, and increased preventative and lower-cost care. We would save millions every month just through no longer needing redundant spending. It could also see returns in local areas since the money that would normally be going to pay for higher premiums and more costly, less effective care due to people having to wait until there was no other option other than dying would instead be spent in the local economy, bolstering cities and counties through direct influx of currency.
What is your basic belief on the issue of gun control?
I grew up around guns my entire life, and I even shoot a multitude of different models and calibers. I believe people should be able to own a gun, but that it should be regulated properly. There is no need for high-capacity magazines, and the minimum age needs to be increased. We also need proper background checks that can't be circumvented through private sales. We are talking about a deadly weapon. The entire point of a gun is to kill. We have to apply proper regulations for that. It is harder for some people to get a license to drive a car than to get a gun.
Moore County is a traditionally deep red, Republican County. Tell my conservative readers in Moore County why they should vote for you, a Democrat.
While I may not agree with everything, I am willing to listen. I want to be a Representative that listens to all of my constituents and takes their needs into account. That doesn't mean I will always support what a particular person wants, but I will listen. I also feel that my platform benefits everybody, with no political leaning. Being able to afford healthcare, protecting rights, making our education system better, working to bring jobs in (such as those created through the CHIPS Act), working to provide adequate internet access across the state, and the like benefit everybody no matter their political affiliation. I also believe that it is the people who should be represented, not industry. I can't be bought and paid for by corporations.
To the Conservative LGBTQ+ population, I would like to again point out my opponent has compared you to bestiality, has blamed your existence as part of the reason natural disasters hit the US, and has at the bare minimum implied your existence is part of the reason for terrorist attacks.
I would also ask that everybody, not just the conservative readers, look into both me and my opponent's platform, the surveys we have taken, how transparent we are, how open we are to talking to people, what we have said on our Facebook pages, and our ideas for actually getting things done. I think they might find one of us is far more open on all of those fronts while the other has been as silent as possible, seeming more akin to a puppet than a qualified Representative. We may not always agree on topics, but at least they know my qualifications and exactly where I stand. Can they say the same about my opponent?
***Interview conducted by Cheryl Christy. Cheryl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
***You can find more information about Erik Davis on his website: