For Ocracoke news, click here.
Beverly Boswell-R of Kill Devil Hills is a Dare County commissioner and the Republican challenger for the N.C. General Assembly District 6 seat against Warren Judge-D, Kitty Hawk. She requested to answer our questions by email.
What do you see as North Carolina’s biggest challenges and what you could do as a member of the General Assembly to help them?
Under Republican leadership, NC has become a model for the nation on how to attract jobs and I am looking forward to continuing that process. I am proud of my conservative record on the Dare County Commission, including fighting higher taxes and standing up for our local fishing industry.
What committees would you like to work on?
I’ll be honored to work on any committee which the Speaker would assign to me.
What do you see as the biggest challenges Ocracoke’s residents, businesses and many visitors face that you as a state representative can have a positive impact.
Due to the large presence of commercial fishing on Ocracoke Island – I would say preserving our culture and heritage of our working Waterman is critical. North Carolina is quickly losing our commercial fishermen industry. They are being regulated right out of business. Poor science and knee jerk reactions are debilitating to the industry. Regulations having to do with turtle by catch have been a major hurdle for the fleet of small boats in the sounds to overcome. Limited fishing days have put plenty of guys out of business due to these regulations. The people placing these regulations on our fishermen miss the big picture. They are overlooking the families and communities supported by working waterman and they feel that their agenda is much more important than the watermen.
Do you support sales tax redistribution plans that would provide more monies to poorer counties from richer ones like Dare?
I’m not fond of having winners and losers in reallocating sales tax dollars. But the sky-high property taxes in much of rural North Carolina create another major obstacle to new industry locating and creating jobs there, and we need to find a way to help our state’s rural counties.
What can the General Assembly do to improve education in North Carolina?
We can all agree it’s vitally important to have high, rigorous academic standards and accurate measures of student achievement to make sure our kids are getting the education they deserve. But the decision by previous state leaders to implement Common Core without tailoring the program to fit North Carolina public schools is hurting our children. Problems arose when less proficient students were faced with the merged math of Math I, II and III. Many parents are not able to help their children, and there is nowhere to go for these students. Also, Math scores dropped significantly for this segment of students – or about 70 percent of high school math students. College bound students scored as well or better than the average students. The merged system does not cover the basic computational skills needed for all the students. The traditional system of Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II is strong on basic computational skills. We need to reassert North Carolina’s rightful authority over academic standards, provide continuity for our teachers and students and – most importantly – ensure our state has high, rigorous academic standards that prepare our children for academic and professional success in the future.
Although there have been some raises for teachers, many have said that good teachers are leaving for better paying jobs in neighboring states.
The truth is that last year, 6.8 percent left teaching to pursue a different career and only 1.1 percent left to teach in a different state. Some undoubtedly left because their spouses found jobs in other professions. In fact, between 2010 and 2014, 8,500 out-of-state teachers moved to North Carolina to teach while only 2,200 teach.
NC is ranked among the lowest in the country in terms of teacher pay and student performance, what can the state Legislature do to improve education in North Carolina?
Teachers are the most important asset in the classroom, and reducing class sizes has and will continue to be a step in the right direction. In reference to teacher pay – two years ago, North Carolina raised teacher’s salaries more than any other state in the nation. Teacher salaries were increased by 14 percent for beginning teachers. Last year, teachers with six through 10 years of experience received raises between 6 and 17 percent. This year teachers received pay increases averaging 4.7 percent, and those experienced teachers between eight and 19 years on the pay scale received raises of 10 to 13 percent. The problem of teacher pay hasn’t been solved yet, but we are heading in the right direction, and I’ll supports initiatives to protect and even expands funding for public education.
Ferry transportation tolls
I am opposed to the imposition of tolls on our ferries for the citizens of Ocracoke. In our coastal counties, many of whom are Tier I and II counties, server ferry routes are mostly folks going to work. The river ferries are virtually all commuter traffic, including school buses going to and from school, and folks going to the doctor’s office or doing every-day shopping. While there is tourist traffic, a sector of our economy which brings in billions of dollars for the state’s economy, most ferry traffic is simply coastal citizens using this ‘secondary highway system’ to do everyday stuff, as they have for many years. I have been in consultation with Senator Bill Cook and other legislators about this issue. Our Senator is fighting hard for us to eliminate tolling and to keep the ferry replacement funding stable – I intend to do the same in Raleigh (fight against ferry tolls on behalf of the citizens of Ocracoke) as the Representative for N.C. House District 6.
House Bill 2:
It’s simply illegal and a dangerous policy to force women and young girls to share bathrooms with grown men. The City of Charlotte turned a blind eye to the rule of law and common sense with an ordinance that forced women and young girls to share bathrooms, locker rooms, and changing areas with grown men. Thankfully, HB 2, blocked Charlotte’s actions that would have allowed people of the opposite sex to use restrooms, locker rooms and changing areas in our public schools and agencies which would violate the privacy and safety of others.
Please see the link below to a resolution that the Dare County Board of Commissioners passed unanimously on April 6, 2015. Thus, I voted for this resolution. But make no mistake, we need to be prepared for the future, projections indicate that the global population will increase from 7 to 9 billion by 2050 which will double energy demand. According to the U.S. Energy Information and Administration, oil and natural gas will remain the backbone of this country’s energy supply for decades to come. These projections take into account the growth and advancement of renewable an alternative energies, as well as improve efficiencies. These reports also indicate about 50 percent of the country’s energy demand will have to come from oil and natural gas, and we as a country must be prepared for that need.
Alternative energy sources
Prior to the renewable energy tax credit sunsetting out, more than $200 million in targeted credits were going straight into the pockets of a connected few since 2010. Subsequently, North Carolina’s energy costs have risen 2.5 times faster than the national average since the mandate was put in place, according to a March 2015 NC DEQ report. More jobs are lost because of increased energy costs than are created by the renewable energy sector, according to the Beacon Hill Institute with Suffolk University, it’s a loss of 3,592 jobs with full implementation of the mandate. Moreover, anything that raises the cost of a utility power company will ultimately raise the cost on the rate payers – and there is no method or way that anybody else pays for that except the people that get utility bills – which is almost every person in America or at least every family in America. Therefore, I’m interested in saving and standing up for the rate-payers, which is approximately every person in America, from unnecessary mandates that drive up the cost of energy. Needless to say, by increasing the cost of power, it will force companies to move to other Southeastern states that do not have a REPS, and therefore have lower power costs. Senate Bill 843 would add safeguards to protect the environment, like requiring annual groundwater testing, annual reporting of impacts on wildlife in the location of wind facilities, as well as any impacts on our military operations.
Sea level rise and climate change
If there were credible scientific evidence of sea level rise acceleration, there would indeed be cause for alarm. But there’s not. The best evidence indicates that most of the North Carolina coast will see only about 7-9 inches of sea level rise by 2100, a very modest change. Fortunately, the North Carolina Legislature stopped this in its tracks. The 20 coastal counties are indebted to Rep. Pat McElraft, Rep. (now Sen.) Bill Cook and Sen. Harry Brown for their leadership.
I have been in the medical profession for over 29 years. It is my passion. Taking care of others is second nature. I volunteer every year with MOM, a Dental Clinic aka Missions of Mercy. I am a patient advocate who believes in choices. The “Certificate of Need” (CON) law is a regulation that limits health care supply unless a specific “need” is determined by state bureaucrats. In a report published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University (Certificate-of-Need Laws and North Carolina: Rural Health Care, Medical Imaging, and Access) clearly delineates how CON laws in North Carolina are associated with decreased access to health care services and facilities. Another eye-opening finding is how States with CON laws have 30 percent fewer hospitals, including 30 percent fewer rural hospitals, than those that do not. Therefore, our state’s CON law needs to be phased out or repealed.
Here is her website: http://www.beverlyboswell.com/
For Ocracoke news, click here.