Editor’s note: The Tribune is currently running questionnaires from local candidates for political office. Last week The Tribune sent questionnaires to both candidates running for the seat representing the North Carolina Senate 30th District.
The questionnaire was also sent to Sen. Don East before his death early Monday morning following complications following surgery. According to county Board of Elections Director Susan Jarrell, filling the vacancy on the ticket will be up to the Republican Executive Committee of the 30th District. (See story on Page 1 for more details.)
Name: Ric Marshall
Family: Wife, Denise who is an attorney, and two children. Daughter Elizabeth is in the nursing program at Surry Community College and son Eric is a senior at East Surry High School.
Address: 112 Country View Lane, Ararat, NC 27030
Occupation: President, Southland Logistics.
Education: Patrick County High School, attended Patrick-Henry Community College
Political experience: I have not previously held an elected office.
Campaign website: ricmarshall.org, Facebook: Ric Marshall for NC Senate
1. How do you differ from your general election opponents in background positions or philosophy?
I differ from my opponent in that I have been employed in the public sector and the private sector. I am a small business owner, I currently have a daughter who attends our local community college and a son who attends public high school. I am also involved in many community activities and am a founding member of Matthew 25:35, Inc. Through my community work I am very involved and well aware of the plights people are facing in today’s economy. My opponent is not out there, he is not involved. The people of this district deserve a State Senator that has his finger on the pulse of what is happening. The past three years I have spoken to hundreds of people about the concerns and needs for our district. I am always available for discussion with anyone on any subject. My door would always be open.
2. What are your top three priorities if you’re elected?
Top three priorities: Education, Jobs, Civil Rights. We must reinvest in ourselves and it starts with education. We must make the state inviting to business, we need to help people that are here create business and expand businesses that are already here. My opponent has spent a majority of his time in the senate attacking Civil Rights. I will stand for civil rights by protecting what we have now and expanding it in the future.
3. What are the biggest problems facing the state now?
The biggest problem is the economy and jobs. As I mentioned before we can tackle these issues through education and reinvesting in our state’s people and businesses. But there are other issues. My opponent voted against family rights, he co-sponsored a bill to allow hydraulic fracturing (fracking), he worked against the racial injustice act, he voted for amendment one that is projected to cost taxpayers millions, and my opponent voted to cut education which has landed North Carolina 49th in the nation on dollars spent per student. To me these are the biggest problems facing our state now and we need a State Senator who is going to address and improve these issues based on what the citizens in this district need to improve their lives.
4. Do you like North Carolina’s current tax structure, or is there anything you’d change?
Taxes have become a catch phrase that muddle the conversation we need to hear. The tax structure is old and needs to be readdressed. The current tax ratio is 56% personal income and 28% sales tax. We have always been dependant on personal income tax and sales tax and that revenue has decreased by huge amounts due to job loss. With 11% unemployment we cannot rely so heavily on personal income tax. I think that our economy requires that we study our current tax structure and determine if changes to the tax structure are needed. We have to develop a structure that is fair and makes economic sense.
5. What policy changes do you support to help spur job growth in North Carolina and U.S.?
I do not think it needs to be policy changes. We are too quick to blame bad policy. What we need is a state senator who will reach out to business. We need to recruit business and tell them about our state and region and make it inviting for them to come here. We need to build up education to prepare our young people for the jobs that can be developed. I support tax incentives to business that come here, but also for businesses that are already here and wish to expand. It is not a policy change that we need so much as an active leadership.
6. Recent considerations by the N.C. General Assembly explored privatizing North Carolina’s Pre-K program. What are the pros and cons of privatizing schools in North Carolina?
The first question we have to ask is why? Is it to save money? Why turn over our most valuable resource to private programs? Education should be the top priority of any group of people. If it is public then we can manage and control it. If we make it private we turn it over to another entity and the education of our children is no longer in our hands. Public education is not just public for financial reasons but also so that we as teachers, parents, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, teachers assistants, and coaches can all have a say in how we are most likely to achieve the goals we have for our schools. I don’t want a corporation formed in another state to send emails to administrators here instructing them on how to administer education and child welfare. I have not seen any studies presented to the NC General Assembly in favor of or against privatizing Pre-K programs.