Nathan Ramsey gained applause and laughter during the Council of Independent Business Owners (CIBO) power lunch Thursday, September 27. “Somebody needs to build the freaking road,” Ramsey said about the Interstate 26 connector.
Ramsey, who is running for NC House District 115, his opponent Susan Wilson and the two candidates running for District 116 appeared in a candidate forum to answer questions about education, the water system, taxes and government waste. Acting as moderator, CIBO board member Mac Swicegood asked if the I 26 connector should be built and, if so, how.
“It [I 26] should have been built a long time ago,” Ramsey said.
“It’s like risking life and limb going from one section of 26 to the other,” said Wilson. “We had the money and lost it because we were so busy haggling.”
Jane Whilden, candidate for NC House District 116 agreed the connector should be built, but her opponent, Representative Tim Moffitt, said it wasn’t that simple.
“There’s a political element to it [I 26 connector] all,” Moffitt said. “In the General Assembly we have to position ourselves to advocate for it. Otherwise we lose out to Charlotte.”
When asked if they voted for or against Amendment One, Wilson said she voted “no” because it would hurt individuals not targeted such as unmarried heterosexual couples and children.
“It would hurt unmarried heterosexual couples more than gay couples,” she said.
Moffitt said he was for the amendment saying the government was already too involved in our lives. Whilden agreed and added she thought the amendment was designed to distract the citizens.
“We need to concentrate on jobs and education,” she said.
Swicegood went on to ask the candidates about the recent severe cuts in education.
“It’s horrible the way education has been slashed,” said Whilden who added that she has heard teachers were spending $300 or more out of their own pockets for supplies and there are not enough text books to go around.
“Teachers are feeling embattled with more students, no supplies, no teaching assistants and no raises in four years,” said Wilson.
Ramsey agreed with Whilden and Wilson, but added that it was more productive to try and solve the problems than to lay blame.
“The state and federal governments need to get out of the way and let the local school boards decide what to do with the money,” Ramsey said.
Near the end of the event, Swicegood opened the hot topic of the Asheville water system. Moffitt responded saying the system was a public enterprise owned by the rate payers.
“I’ve proposed a new overseer,” said Moffitt who has been working to address the water system problem.
Moffitt’s opponent, Whilden, said Moffitt has, “… taken away the water system.”
Final questions included the annexation issue and what one question each candidate would ask their opponent. All the candidates said they didn’t support forced annexation.
Moffitt said cities need to look at other ways to create growth stimulus. When asked what he would ask of his opponent, Moffitt, wanted to know why Whilden was not running on her record.
Wilson asked Ramsey if there was any vote he regretted while serving on the Buncombe County Commission. Ramsey questioned Wilson about increasing taxes to address budget issues and Whilden asked Moffitt why he had so much of his campaign funded by interests outside the district.