Mary Belk, Democrat
Education: Garinger High School, 1974. B.A., Political Science, UNCC, 2006.
Professional experience: Small business owner. Sserved on several boards, including my children’s PTA, my neighborhood association, my church council, the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County, and on the Charlotte Catholic High School Foundation Board.
Previous public offices: None.
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Family: My father was a marine, my mother was an activist, and I grew up with seven siblings. My husband and I raised four children on the values of hard work and giving back, the same values I plan to take to the NCGA.
Would you support efforts to repeal HB2? Yes. HB2 has made it harder for anyone to sue for discrimination in state court, has cost us jobs, millions of dollars in lost business, the NBA All-Star game and the respect of the nation. This bill has tarnished our reputation and our brand, and hindered our economic growth.
Would you support measures to transfer tax revenue from urban to rural counties? I would oppose any plan to take our local tax dollars out of Mecklenburg County and send them to the rest of the state. Taking tax revenue from the engines that drive North Carolina’s economy is not the best way to help our rural communities.
Would you consider raising taxes for education? It’s time to make our local schools a priority again so we can attract new businesses and grow our economy. We need to reprioritize where and how we spend our revenue to ensure that teacher pay is increased to the national average, and our kids are no longer in classes that are too large, without textbooks, supplies or the personal attention they need to succeed.
Would you support further tax cuts? I would support a reevaluation of our current tax policy to ensure that any cuts would not further erode vital resources, and would be in the best interest of North Carolina families and our economy.
What would you do to improve Mecklenburg County relationship with Raleigh? I believe that thoughtful dialogue and respectful disagreement help shape relationships and lead to consensus. There is no desire on the part of the current leadership in the house to engage in either. The House supermajority must be broken in order to have any chance of better relations between Charlotte and Raleigh.
Robert P. Bryan, Republican
Education: University of North Carolina and Duke University School of Law
Professional experience: Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLB - Partner
Previous public offices: North Carolina House of Representatives: District 88
Family: Wife: Dottie and Children: Elizabeth, Jane Murray, Heyward, Beau, Ann Randolph, and Millie.
Would you support efforts to repeal HB2? I have worked on a number of compromise bills to modify HB2. Unfortunately, through this entire process, Mayor Jennifer Roberts has refused to work with state leaders to reach any compromise at all. The city’s original efforts were unnecessary, unconstitutional and so poorly worded that children and others could be unsafe and have their right to privacy violated, particularly in locker rooms and shower facilities. Instead of working to reach a compromise, Roy Cooper and Mayor Roberts have worked actively to thwart any compromise to instead try to use HB2 as a political weapon. I will continue to seek compromise that makes the perceptions of our state better match the reality, but we must have a local government that works in good faith with us. “
Would you support measures to transfer tax revenue from urban to rural counties? I helped to stop the sales tax redistribution, but make no mistake, urban Republicans are the only thing standing between this transfer passing the legislature.
Would you consider raising taxes for education? We have increased education funding by over $1 billion since I’ve been in Raleigh, while cutting taxes. Economic growth allows us to grow education spending, and North Carolina’s economic growth is directly attributable to the new, fiscally responsible approach in Republicans have instituted in Raleigh. Democrats raised taxes repeatedly over the last decade and destroyed the state’s economy, resulting in teacher furloughs and education funding cuts.
Would you support further tax cuts? North Carolina’s taxpayers deserve to keep as much of their money as possible. By cutting taxes on businesses and all income levels, we have turned our state’s economy into one of the fastest growing in the country. We now have the fastest growing median household income and gross domestic product. We have created 350,000 jobs. Fiscally responsible tax cuts, along with continued regulatory reform, are a key to continued economic growth.
What would you do to improve Mecklenburg County relationship with Raleigh? Urban Republicans are more necessary than ever in Raleigh to advocate for the needs of Mecklenburg County. I will work with anyone to advance good ideas and help modernize our state. Urban needs are different from rural needs, and Charlotte needs fair-minded advocates at the table to bridge the gap with other legislators.