John R. Bradford, III, Republican
Education: Executive MBA, University of Memphis, 2000 B.S. in Engineering, Clemson University, 1996.
Professional experience: Park Avenue Properties - CEO & founder (current) sales executive and software sales manager, IBM Corporation (2000 - 2010) Sr. Environmental Engineer & Manager, ExxonMobil Corporation (1996 - 2000).
Previous public offices: NC House of Representatives (District 98), Freshman Majority Whip (2015 - Current) Commissioner, Town of Cornelius (2012 - 2014).
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Family: Shea Bradford (married 15 years) Jack (13) Molly (11) Sophie (9) Macy (9).
Would you support efforts to repeal HB2? There are parts of HB2 that have been repealed and there is room for more compromise; however, I do not support an open policy allowing men to use public restrooms, locker rooms and showers that are intended for use by women.
Would you support measures to transfer tax revenue from urban to rural counties? No, I do not. Mecklenburg County already has the 13th highest property tax rate out of NC’s 100 counties. I do not support sharing our tax revenue with any rural area until is mandated that these counties, at a minimum, be required to collect the state’s average property tax rate or higher. I understand some rural areas have fallen on very hard times and, yes, they need help. That said, it is imperative that these rural counties show a good faith effort that they are first trying to help themselves before relying on large urban areas like ours to help them. Rest assured, if urban areas were forced to help these other counties it would lead to additional tax increases to all of the hard working folks in Mecklenburg County. I simply believe there are other ways to help rural areas without demanding that the urban areas, like ours, pay for it.
Would you consider raising taxes for education? The state’s education budget represents 57 percent of our annual $22B budget. That means 57 cents of each and every tax dollar collected in NC is already being allocated to education. I do not believe raising taxes is the solution. Spending more in education will not magically solve the problems we are facing. I believe we need to maximize our kid’s experience in the classroom and we need to financially reward our best and brightest educators. This means we need to continue holding everyone accountable and find ways to cut bureaucratic and unnecessary expenses that we incur outside the classroom.
Would you support further tax cuts? Yes, we need to continue tax cuts for the middle class. It is noteworthy that since 2012 NC has made steady tax cuts in the areas of Personal Income Tax (PIT) and Corporate Income Tax (CIT). The PIT has decreased from 7.75% to 5.49% and the zero tax bracket for the standard deduction continues to increase from $6,000 to $17,500. The CIT has been reduced from 6.9% to 3% and, of those states charging a CIT, NC has the lowest CIT rate in the country. NC has made all of these tax cuts while still saving over $1B in our reserve fund which is the highest amount of reserves saved in the history of our State.
What would you do to improve Mecklenburg County relationship with Raleigh? The Mecklenburg delegation in the NC House has 12 members which is currently made up of 6 Democrats and 6 Republicans. I believe the entire delegation works very well together. For example, we stood together in a bi-partisan way to protect Mecklenburg County from the Senate’s proposed sales tax redistribution which was designed to exclusively help rural counties. That specific legislation, if passed, would have created a $65M annual shortfall in the Mecklenburg County annual budget which would have certainly led to a property tax increase for Mecklenburg residents. The best way to improve a relationship is to put personal ideologies and agendas aside and keep working for the greater good of your constituency. I think as long as people can maintain healthy, mature, and productive dialogue then positive things will happen.
Jane Campbell, unaffiliated
Education: Davidson College, 1987, bachelor’s degree, political science; National War College, 2011 master’s degree, National Security Strategy.
Professional experience: More than 25 years of service in the United States Navy. The majority of my career was as a Navy Public Affairs Officer. My tours ranged from an assignment aboard the aircraft career USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, to a couple assignments in The Pentagon, one tour at the National Security Council at the White House, to back-to-back assignments in Bahrain and Afghanistan. I retired to Davidson with the prospect of volunteering for local nonprofits.
Previous public offices: None.
Family: Married to Heather, my Davidson classmate. She holds a second undergraduate degree from Queens University, and earned her Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary.
Would you support efforts to repeal HB2? Yes. While I am not a one-issue candidate, I got into this race to run against one of the sponsors of HB2. It was just the latest example of bad legislation coming out of Raleigh. The only thing that can begin to reverse the economic damage done by HB2 is a full and complete repeal. HB2 has cost us millions in lost revenue and thousands of good paying jobs. Moreover, it has harmed our state’s economy and even our reputation. It’s time to quit doubling down on failed policies and repeal the bill.
Would you support measures to transfer tax revenue from urban to rural counties? No, I support the revenue distribution plan as it currently exists. Urban counties like Wake and Mecklenburg have greater infrastructure needs as a result of higher population compared to rural counties. It is unfair to penalize the urban counties and the businesses that call them home by sending our tax dollars to other counties.
Would you consider raising taxes for education? Education should be our top priority. I believe the current legislature has been paying it lip service at best. I believe we need to take a hard look at where our spending is going right now. One clear example is the opportunity scholarship/voucher program which is giving our tax dollars to families to send kids to private schools – schools that are able to blatantly discriminate in their admissions processes. Meanwhile, we rank 41st in teacher pay and 44th in per-student spending. We can improve public education by rejecting the failed priorities of my opponent Rep. John Bradford. It’s time to close tax loopholes that charge a lower tax rate on yachts and private jets than on used cars. Finally, I will vote to roll back the tax giveaways to out-of-state corporations and special interests that are hurting our schools.
Would you support further tax cuts? It is clear to me that our legislators have become experienced at making decisions that cost North Carolina taxpayers millions. Before supporting any changes to the current tax code, I believe that we need to ensure that any such proposals are focused on real tax reform – tax reform that benefits average North Carolinians, not just the well-connected. I also support bringing back the sales tax holiday to help parents afford to buy school supplies for their children. Without it, we will continue to see folks drive south to take advantage of South Carolina’s tax holiday.
What would you do to improve Mecklenburg County relationship with Raleigh? Acknowledging the nature of Dillon’s Rule, I will work with both county and municipal elected officials and trust their ability pass laws for their communities and answer to the voters who elected them. I would also back Mayor Roberts efforts to work with her fellow mayors from Chapel Hill, Asheville, and other cities to approach some important issues.