The Ocracoke Observer asked the candidates for the General Assembly districts that include Ocracoke for their views on several issues.

The Observer asked the candidates for the N.C. Senate District 6, which includes Ocracoke, to answer the following:

1. What are the crucial challenges facing eastern North Carolina and what can the General Assembly do that can help?  
2. How well is the COVID-19 pandemic being handled on the state level and what can be done to reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths caused by this virus?
3. Many people are distraught that many members of political parties have shown little interest in working with the opposition to the benefit of all North Carolinians. Would you be willing to find common ground and seek bipartisan support? If so, on what issues?
4. Do you support or oppose offshore drilling?

Bob Steinburg

Bob Steinburg (R-Edenton; incumbent)

1. COVID-19 wreaked havoc here. I’ve pushed for aid to small businesses, schools, PPE supplies, and rural hospitals, and a $335 one-time check for every family with a child.

2. We continually learn a better approach to treating and preventing this virus. That’s why I’ve funded vaccine research so that we never have to experience this again.

3. Yes, we had bipartisan support for COVID-19 relief, as well as the best state budget in history for this area. Unfortunately, Gov. Cooper has not been willing to compromise with the legislature, though legislative Democrats supported our balanced approach which funded teacher pay raises, tax cuts for families, and significant investment for Eastern NC.

4. I oppose it, because too much of our economy is based on the natural beauty of the coastline and research indicates minimal resources are there. Thankfully, President Trump recently added NC to the moratorium.

Tess Judge

Tess Judge (D-Kitty Hawk; challenger)

1. The number one issue I hear about on the trail is access to quality, affordable health care. We need to make sure we expand access to the 500,000 North Carolinians who currently do not have it, while ensuring we keep our rural hospitals open, and properly fund mental health facilities. And now, with so many losing their employer-provided insurance due to the pandemic, it has become even more crucial.

Another crucial issue is our public education, and the dwindling level of state resources over the last few years allocated to our public schools. We need to fully fund our public schools, make sure all of our students have access to the same resources in Northeastern North Carolina as their counterparts in urban and suburban communities, and raise teacher pay.

We also need to treat broadband like a public utility and ensure all of our rural communities have access to fast, reliable, affordable internet.

2. I believe Governor Cooper has worked hard to protect the health and safety of all North Carolinians, following the best available scientific data. To reduce hospitalizations and deaths, I believe we need to follow the best and most up to date guidelines from the medical and scientific communities.

3. I absolutely will be looking to find common ground if elected. There is good on the right, and good on the left, and as someone with a long career in small business, I know that in order to get things done, you have to learn to compromise with everyone at the table. It’s time we elect leaders to the General Assembly, not followers of party lines.

4. I firmly oppose offshore drilling. Our water resources are too important to our economy, whether that’s commercial fisheries, farmlands or tourism, to risk damaging with an offshore drilling accident.

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