Chris Cole, Libertarian
Education: Independence High School, 1982; BA, 1986, UNC Wilmington.
Professional experience: contract post office manager, 2002-2013.
Previous public offices: None.
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Would you support efforts to repeal HB2? Undecided.
Would you support measures to transfer tax revenue from urban to rural counties? No.
Would you consider raising taxes for education? No.
Would you support further tax cuts? Yes.
What would you do to improve Mecklenburg County relationship with Raleigh? Move the capital to Charlotte.
Jonathan Hudson, Democrat
Education: Senior in political science at UNCC (4.0 in major), AA from CPCC, independent scholar.
Professional experience: Dishwasher, Cook, Gardener, Janitor, Mover, Canvasser, Volunteer, Student.
Previous public offices: None.
Website: None provided.
Would you support efforts to repeal HB2? Absolutely, it is a violation of federal civil rights laws and an insult to workers and citizens. Institutional policy controls bathrooms, not the state. This law deters companies who pay fair wages from locating in NC and damages our economy and reputation. Simply put, this is disrespectful foolishness that shows how small-minded republican leadership has been.
Would you support measures to transfer tax revenue from urban to rural counties? This depends on how the revenue will be used. Higher sales tax is a regressive taxation policy, we need lower sales taxes alongside progressive income and corporate tax rates. Urban and rural counties can both benefit from aggressively incentivizing solar power and offshore wind farms. Marijuana legalization with taxes earmarked for public education is an excellent idea that would highly benefit rural and urban counties. We all need a solid public sector to protect people from exploitative private companies who value profit over people and planet.
Would you consider raising taxes for education? Yes, we should examine new revenue streams such as taxes on pesticides, lawnmowers, diesel, and other destructive products, and have a higher bracket for multinational corporations above a certain threshold of profit. We should increase funds for public services such as bike lanes, roads, electric vehicle charging stations, tree planting, and education- by taxing the rich. Marijuana legalization will be the fastest way to allocate money for higher teacher pay and electric school buses charged from solar farms. Food taxes should be lower and luxury items taxed higher. Knowledge is the key to success and we need to improve public library funding to support lifelong education. Community colleges need to implement electric vehicle technician programs and all schools need money to purchase rooftop solar systems and retrofit buildings to become more energy efficient, both of which have a high long-term return on investment.
Would you support further tax cuts? We should cut taxes for the lowest income bracket, restore the solar tax credit which was foolishly allowed to expire, cut taxes for solar, wind, energy efficiency products, bicycle products and infrastructure, and other sustainable goods and services. The Republican tax agenda is horrible due to de facto campaign corruption, and partially responsible for the growing class divide, and the results are higher crime rates (from poverty) and worse pollution (from the auto services tax increase and anti-renewable energy policies). We need higher revenue to enforce laws strongly which protect our ecosystem, and for public transit. The wealthy do not put their money back into the economy at a high rate, another reason why we need livable wages to “trickle up” and build the middle class, which ultimately results in budget surplus. Progressive states attract ethical companies and social enterprise, those without strong public services remain impoverished.
What would you do to improve Mecklenburg County relationship with Raleigh? Kicking out the Republican Party would be a great start. The GOP supports torture and endless war and the only way they maintain majorities is through voter suppression and an influx of money from abusive corporations. Young people and conscious older folks will not be casting ballots for so called “leaders” that consistently ignore public opinion and cater only to big business and greedy individuals. Mecklenburg County needs the new green Democrats to represent us, and people with strong ethics that seek to serve all communities should stop being afraid to run for public office.
Jeff Tarte, Republican
Education: BS Economics, University of Illinois.
Professional experience: Executive VP; Synergy (International Water Valve Company) Senior Advisor; JTS Partners (National Healthcare Consulting Firm) Chairman Emeritus; Applied Revenue Analytics (International Healthcare Consulting Firm) Former Partner; Ernst & Young Sales Representative; IBM.
Previous public offices: Member, NC Advisory Committee on Cancer Coordination & Control Member, NC Council for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Former Mayor of Cornelius (2007-2013) Former Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Commissioner Former Member,. Mecklenburg Transit Commission.
Family: Dr. Nancy Tarte (wife) and three grown children who attended Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools K-12.
Would you support efforts to repeal HB2? Sometimes we make things harder than they need to be. If we were back at square one, and it was in my control, I would simply have vacated the Charlotte ordinance, thus avoiding the need for HB2. Transgenders in bathrooms were not a problem. Recognize that certain parts of HB2 have been removed and/or modified. I hope we can continue to dialog with all stakeholders to strive to find a workable long term solution. Putting this in our court system is waste of legal fees and is an abdication of our responsibility to solve this matter. Call me old school, but I will not support allowing grown men to use showers, locker rooms, and open bathroom facilities with women and young girls. Conversely, we should not allow hurtful discrimination against a human being.
Would you support measures to transfer tax revenue from urban to rural counties? No. There are better ways to help struggling rural economies. The application of “Robin Hood” economic policies is dangerous. I advocated for no transfer of any additional sales tax revenue. As a Senator I will continue to oppose mislaid plans for redistribution of income and taxes.
Would you consider raising taxes for education? I am reluctant to consider a tax increase. Supporting our public education system is a clear priority. We have an obligation to set priorities and spend within our means. During the four years that I have served in the Senate, we increased education spending to the highest level it has been in state history. We accomplished this without the need to raise taxes. With education a top priority for the NCGA the past four years, we have seen increased graduation rates, test scores, and teacher pay. We still have much to do. I will continue to advocate for prioritizing public education, while not forgetting the need to provide opportunities for pre-K and secondary education.
Would you support further tax cuts? I support taxing your income one time. I support the philosophy of lowering our corporate and personal income tax rates and broadening our tax base. We have and I anticipate we will continue to shift to more consumption based taxes. I generally support selected tax credits for economic development when they apply to everyone. I support investing in infrastructure, rather then giving cash to selected companies. I will support legislation that will enable businesses to create good full time jobs. I will continue to advocate for decreased taxes that translate to more actual dollars in the pockets of hard working middle class families.
What would you do to improve Mecklenburg County relationship with Raleigh? As with any relationship it starts with open and regular communication. It is about listening more than talking. Candidly we all need to learn how to check egos and power struggles at the door. These are major barriers. We do not always play nice in the sandbox together. Both sides need to understand and respect the responsibility and roles each has in serving our residents.
We need to work to avoid surprises as well as minimize unintended consequences through transparent and substantive combined work efforts on important initiatives and potential legislation.
There has been and will be significant changes in the composition of who serves from our county in both the House and Senate. I will continue to invest my time and energy in working with the various governmental bodies in Mecklenburg. I take pride in my ability to work with every member of our delegation as well as elected officials in our communities, regardless of party. Good ideas are not red or blue. Ideas need to be considered on their own merit. Again, open communication and collaboration are a must. I am committed to building outstanding relationships between our legislative delegation and the county.