By Peter Vankevich
Warren Judge, Democratic candidate for the General Assembly District 6 that includes Ocracoke, wants to improve services and education in North Carolina.
“Education is our insurance that each child gets a quality education,” he said during a recent interview on the island. “A better educated people will help the economy, improve the workforce and attract businesses to the state.”
A Dare County business owner who lives in Kitty Hawk, Judge disagrees with those in Raleigh who see expanding the economy as competing with the need for better education.
“A better educated people will help the economy, improve the workforce and attract businesses to the state,” he said, and taking money from the public education system to support charter schools is not the solution.
Expanding job opportunities in the district that includes Dare, Hyde, Beaufort and Washington counties and has a population of 86,000 is also his big concern.
“Jobs,” he said. “That’s all I’ve heard for the last six years.”
Judge, who has been a Dare County commissioner for the last 16 years and 11 of those years as chair, faces off against a fellow county commissioner Beverly Boswell, a Republican from Kill Devil Hills, for this seat that opened when incumbent Paul Tine (U-Kitty Hawk) decided not to run again.
As the owner of the Wilbur and Orville Wright Motor Lodge in KDH and the Sands Restaurant, Judge knows that the district’s economy is heavily tourism based.
“Our most immediate and biggest challenge is preservation and promotion of our economy,” he said. “This includes a stable ferry system. (Ocracoke’s) lifeline to Hatteras and the mainland is critical.”
As for the forthcoming passenger ferry, “The proof will be in the pudding,” he said. “It will work or won’t work, and I think it is well worth the experiment.”
In June, the General Assembly approved one-time appropriations of $4 million to activate the passenger ferry, about $4 million for ferry infrastructure repair, and yearly recurring $4 million for ferry replacement. Budget legislation reiterated no tolls for the Hatteras/Ocracoke route, but required off-island vendors to pay a $150 priority pass.
“For now, it looks like tolling is resolved,” Judge said.
On other issues, Judge is concerned that Republican-controlled General Assembly is stripping away the authority of local governments.
“The best government is the one that is closest to the people,” he said. “We need local governments to handle local issues.”
Among his other concerns are:
“We are in a crisis with health care,” he said. “When the state decided not to expand Medicaid and health care, it hurt a lot of people. It has impacted our district. When people do not have access to health care, you have some real problems. I can’t see myself voting to keep people from seeing a doctor. We need to debate the costs of health care, but not expense of human suffering.”
Judge is opposed to offshore drilling and thinks the legislature should support alternative energy options including solar and wind power.
As for HB2, the bill that requires people to use bathrooms according to the sex on their birth certificates, this is a bad law.
“Everyone has a right to having a safe bathroom, but why remove authority away from local government?” he asked. “The economic impact is measurable, and we have become a sore eye in the nation attracting a lot of negative press. We shouldn’t be the lead story on the nightly talk shows.”
He vowed to work with everyone.
“I have to believe that there is a lot more that brings us together than divides us” he said. “I will represent all, those that vote for me, against me and those that don’t vote, such as children.”
His website is at http://www.warrenjudgefornchouse.com/
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