Editorial: The Chronicle provides 2016 endorsements

Editorial: The Chronicle provides 2016 endorsements
October 20
03:00 2016

The Chronicle urges everyone to exercise the right to vote, especially this year. The number of African-Americans running for office is encouraging. (Four are running for court seats.) The chance to bring new blood and new ideas to courts and boards gives us hope of possible change that will help our area move ahead.

The Chronicle’s endorsed candidates have an X beside their names. The endorsements are for candidates with opponents in the 2016 General Election.

(R= Republican, D= Democrats, L= Libertarian)

President of the United States

Donald J. Trump (R)

X Hillary Clinton (D)

Gary Johnson (L)

(Green Party Candidate Jill Stein is running as a write-in)

Hillary Clinton is prepared to be president and ready to lead our divided nation. She has shown over the many years of her public life that she can compromise and work across the aisle. She has the experience and the temperament to be president. She also is a Christian of the Methodist denomination, which is something that many people don’t seem to want to acknowledge. We hope her faith will carry her through this trying and unprecedented campaign for president. Her main opponent, Donald Trump, does not have the experience and the temperament to be president.

U.S. Senate

Richard Burr (R, incumbent)

X Deborah K. Ross (D) 

Sean Haugh (L)

Deborah Ross has proven to be able to go toe-to-toe with the incumbent. She is not afraid to address the issues of Sen. Richard Burr that North Carolinians need to hear about. She is ready to work to move North Carolina forward. Privatizing Social Security, as Burr has been prepared to do, is a sore point for many. It doesn’t appear Burr has done much to move North Carolina forward. After decades in office, it’s time for a change. We urge voters to give him an early retirement now. He says this will be his last term in office, but can we trust him on that? He backs Donald Trump. Need we say more?

U.S. House District 5 

Virginia Foxx (R, incumbent)

X Josh Brannon (D)

Josh Brannon is running against Virginia Foxx for a second time, but with some new voters. This young man has some good ideas and deserves a shot at serving the new 5th District in Congress. All of Forsyth County is now in the district, including the eastern part of the county, where mostly black people live. We were in District 12 with Alma Adams until the N.C. lawmakers redrew the districts after a federal court order told them to. Foxx has been quiet in welcoming us to the 5th District. This makes us wonder how she will govern with us now in the fold. She backs Donald Trump, so maybe that explains a lot. Brannon wants to fight for the American Dream for all. Let’s give him the chance.

N.C. Governor

Pat McCrory (R, incumbent)

X Roy Cooper (D)

Lon Cecil (L)

Attorney General Roy Cooper is the lesser of two evils. He has stood his ground and refused to defend HB 2. But he also has refused to help Kalvin Michael Smith, the young black man from Winston-Salem who has been wrongly imprisoned, accused of an assault that left a young woman with severe brain injuries. Smith’s supporters are asking Cooper to help Smith get a new trial. Cooper says his hands are tied. But they were not tied for white people accused of crimes. The main thing Cooper has going for him is that he is not Gov. Pat McCrory. McCrory has helped to take North Carolina backward. He has signed bills that he should have vetoed, including the voter bill of 2013. He has championed HB 2 after Charlotte, where he was mayor at one time, wanted to pass its own bill giving transgendered people freedom to choose a bathroom. This shows his desire to control cities and towns in North Carolina instead of allowing them to govern their own areas. He backs Donald Trump, so maybe he is using some of the tactics from the Republican presidential front runner.

N.C. Lieutenant Governor 

Dan Forest (R, incumbent)

X Linda Coleman (D) 

Jacki Cole (L)

Linda Coleman, an African-American who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor as the Democratic nominee in 2012, is facing the same Republican opponent she faced in 2012. Back then, she received 2.1 million votes statewide. The lieutenant governor is an elected position separate from governor in North Carolina, meaning theoretically Republican Gov. Pat McCrory could win re-election, and Coleman, a Democrat, could be elected as lieutenant governor. “I’m running for lieutenant governor because we need a new approach in Raleigh. North Carolinians know that I am battle tested and ready to go to bat for the middle-class and to create jobs for our future,” Coleman says.  “I cannot sit by silently while we watch years of North Carolina’s progress upended by the lieutenant governor and the Republican General Assembly.”

Coleman has the background to step into the governor’s position if needed. North Carolina needs a lieu-tenant governor who knows how to navigate state government yet has the courage to work for change. She has that expertise. It is unclear whether her opponent does after serving as lieutenant governor.

N.C. Attorney General

(Incumbent Roy Cooper isn’t seeking re-election so he can run for governor)

Buck Newton (R)

X Josh Stein (D)

Josh Stein will be a breath of fresh air compared to Buck Newton, who championed the HB 2 bill in the legislature. Stein is a Democrat who also was in the legislature. He has been a senior deputy attorney general for Consumer Protection, so he knows his way around the law, We hope the supporters of Kalvin Michael Smith will approach him for help with his case if he is elected.

N.C. Auditor

Chuck Stuber (R)

X Beth A. Wood (D, incumbent)

Beth Wood says, “I remain undeterred in my mission to protect your taxpayer dollars.” She has the experience to back that up, with 28 years of auditing experience. She has been state auditor since 2009. She has improved state processes to hold the state more accountable. We like that she is giving back by teaching CPAs across the state and the nation how to audit governmental organizations, including the concept of risk-based auditing. Let’s keep her in office.

N.C. Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Goods

Steve Troxler (R, incumbent)

X Walter Smith (D)

Walter Smith is a farmer, so he knows about agriculture. We need someone in the office that will look out for us pertaining to agriculture and consumer goods. Smith, who also is a former mayor of Boonville, is challenging incumbent Steve Troxler again, so he must have a heart for the office. Smith lost to Troxler in 2012 with 47 percent of the vote. Smith has said that Troxler gave a poor response in an apparent scandal, when when his agency’s top poultry expert was accused of tipping off a Butterball turkey farm that it was being investigated. Let’s give Smith a shot at running the department.

N.C. Commissioner of Insurance

Mike Causey (R)

X Wayne Goodwin (D, incumbent)

Wayne Goodwin has been keeping North Carolina insurance rates down. He deserves another term.

N.C. Commissioner of Labor

Cherie Berry (R, incumbent)

X Charles Meeker (D)

When Charles Meeker was mayor of Raleigh, downtown experienced a dramatic revival and the city won countless awards as one of the best places to live and to work in the U.S. He says he was able to work across aisles to achieve that. He will work to improve worker safety, to ensure accurate classification of workers, and to make sure that workers are paid what they are owed, he says. That sounds good, because Cherie Berry has a different, wrong approach. Stories, published in The Charlotte Observer and The (Raleigh) News & Observer, detail Berry’s aversion to regulations – and to stories showing how the improper classification of employees as independent contractors has hurt workers. Meeker says he won’t misuse elevator inspections by putting his photo on the license as Berry does. Meeker has been endorsed by a number of influential groups, including the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association, the State Employees Association of N.C., the North Carolina Association of Educators, the AFLCIO and The Chronicle.

N.C. Secretary of State

Michael LaPaglia (R)

X Elaine Marshall (D, incumbent)

Elaine Marshall is the incumbent. She says as secretary of state, “I’ve worked to cut the red tape for entrepreneurs starting companies, track special interests and the people who lobby for them, prosecute criminals who are masquerading as charities, and crack down on financial fraud – getting serious jail time for crooks. Customer service is my priority for our office that serves all citizens without regard to if it’s a single individual or a national

corporation.” Her opponent calls her a liberal and himself a conservative. We see no reason to not to keep Marshall in her position.

N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction

Mark Johnson (R)

X June Atkinson (D, incumbent)

June Atkinson has been in the position for a while, so some might say it’s time for a change. But when you see graduation rates improving to the highest in state history, you have to say she must be doing something right. Atkinson has room for improvement, but her competition does not appear to be a good choice. Mark Johnson is on the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools board. He voted to shut down the only middle schools in East Winston over chemical testing. The middle schools, Hanes and Lowrance, were shut down before final test results came back on toxic chemicals suspected inside the school. The chemicals were found to be in the soil below the school. An expert said the toxicity was not at significant levels. Now the property sits empty and families have been put in disarray because of it. We don’t consider that good judgment.

N.C. Treasurer

(Incumbent Janet Cowell isn’t seeking re-election)

Dale R. Folwell (R)

X Dan Blue III (D)

Dan Blue III, an African-American from Raleigh who is the son of state Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue Jr., is ready for the job. He is a lawyer who practices commercial transactions and bond financing. Current state treasurer Cowell, the North Carolina Association of Educators, AFL-CIO and Equality NC, have endorsed him. Blue has the financial acumen to handle the office as well as fiscal responsibility. “North Carolina deserves fiscally responsible leadership that respects and protects the public employees, taxpayers and communities throughout the state,” he says. We agree.

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