Question for candidates for Wake County Commissioner
sent to all candidates for County CommissionerDo you support or oppose the Wake County referendum on funding for transportation?
- If you support it, what are the greatest positive outcomes you anticipate?
- If you oppose it, how else can we meet the needs for energy- and cost-efficient transportation for all of Wake County’s citizens?
Dear Dr. Smith,
Thank you for your letter and interest in my position on the Wake Transit Plan and related sales tax referendum.
In short, I support the Wake Transit Plan and the related funding referendum on the ballot this fall.
I believe the Wake Transit Plan is key to positioning our region's identity as a modern community that is serious about recruiting and retaining businesses, employees and their families while improving our quality of life. It expands citizens’ options in getting to work, shopping, parks, education, houses of worship and healthcare venues - all while making transportation in our region more affordable for everyone. The Plan also encourages future walkable and sustainable development along proposed transit corridors, and it has built-in opportunities for scaling service as demand increases. The Plan and referendum has broad, bipartisan support from our mayors, business leaders and chambers of commerce because it will encourage further economic development by attracting businesses and thereby providing more jobs for our citizens. Wake County also has significant affordable housing and poverty concerns as well, and a viable transit plan that empowers more people with reliable and affordable transportation is an important part of addressing these issues. Once the Plan is implemented, the anticipated reduction in energy/fuel expenditures and traffic congestion will be good for our environment as well.
I support the half-cent sales tax referendum because I believe that a locally-controlled, voter-approved funding source is in the best interest of Wake County taxpayers. The sales tax option ensures that transit users who live outside of Wake County will help pay for the system they are using. Federal and state funding, as well as vehicle registration fees and fares generated by ridership will pay for the rest.
I believe the Wake Transit Plan is essential to ensuring that the quality of life for our current and future citizens continues to improve in the years to come.
Thank you for your consideration.
Candidate for Wake County Board of Commissioners, District 6
Answer from Erv Portman (District 4) to Gary Smith
Dr. Gary Smith
Thanks for your letter dated September 12 regarding the Wake transit plan.
Yes I do support both the plan and the sales tax vote to fund the plan.
I advocated for voters to have the chance to decide this issue in 2012 when Orange and Durham counties acted. Wake should be leading not following here. Every study on traffic is clear, we cannot pave our way out of the future traffic load by just adding more lanes to our existing roads. Our citizens want and need transportation alternatives, I think the plan proposed is a good start, if supported by the voters, it can create alternatives to help manage future growth. Like all plans we will need to carefully review it and make adjustments as needed.
I appreciate your questions, and in an effort to be more transparent I have attached several surveys that address other issues of concern in this election for your review.
Attachments from Erv Portman
Cary Chamber 300 word overview
Raleigh Chamber Survey 2016
Questions for 4th Congressional District Candidates
sent to both candidates for district 41. Climate change looms as one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. It is a threat that undermines peace and stability in our country and throughout the world. Will you work meaningfully to advance bipartisan solutions to climate change?
2. Do you support overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court decision?
Thanks for reaching out. I am grateful that citizens like you care about our country and are willing to take the time to investigate and understand each of the candidates before you cast your vote.
As a general statement, yes I will listen and work with each point of view on Capitol Hill to address the preservation of our planet. However, before I move from that issue, I want to clarify my position in greater detail.
You assert that climate change looms as one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. However, I believe there are other issues of equal or greater importance that must be considered in a hierarchy and priority order. I want you to know that I care deeply about our planet, our impact on natural resources, the public’s health and the environment but please allow me to explain further.
First and foremost, I am running as a representative of the people in my district, regardless of income, ethnicity, political ideology, origin, etc. I think this is important clarification because I am not running as a representative for global humanity or a political party. I want to be a representative of the people. I will cast my votes according to what the people want, not my own needs. When there is no clear consensus on matters before Congress, I will do what is in the best interest for the people in my district above any other consideration.
Although a majority of scientists believe that the climate is changing, they also note that it has always been changing. Further, the threat is far larger than just climatological change; it is also includes biological change, geographical change and atmospheric change. I do not believe we are placing the same emphasis on each segment of those changing dynamics and any solution must be a balanced approach.
The science community must come to a consensus on verifiable, and scientifically proven solutions to climate change. To my knowledge, there is no consensus on the solutions. The current hypotheses are not replicable nor are they balanced with other forms of global change. Further, our nation is at great risk of a collapsing economy long before we are likely to see the end of the world. We simply cannot afford to throw precious resources at a solution that is not in the best interest of our district or our nation.
Ensuring the long-term existence of America is the most important thing we can do for the planet. Our nation generates more scientific research than any country in the history of mankind. We are more likely to find a solution in America, long before any other nation. We are the global leader in environmental solutions and research and the US taxpayers commit more money towards finding solutions than the next 5 nations combined. However, we are currently in a grave financial crisis that must be tended to first. Should the American economy collapse, nothing else will matter for more than 340 (+) Million humans on earth. When your children are hungry, or you have no electricity, or your healthcare system collapses under it’s own weight, no one cares about the climate.
2. Overturning any Supreme Court Decision can only be done by two processes:
A Constitutional Amendment by one of the following methods:
Both houses of Congress vote to propose an amendment with a 2/3ds (67 Senators, PLUS 290 Representatives) majority to convene, and 3/4ths (75 Senators, 326 Representatives) to pass such legislation.
Article V Amendment Process where 2/3rds of the states legislatures (33 States) call for convention and passed by 3/4ths majority of states (38 States)
A later ruling whereby the Supreme Court reverses its previous decision.
I see neither scenario as probable or possible with the current divisions in Congress. The most likely scenario for overturning any decision by the SCOUTS will be that the court overturns it’s previous ruling.
Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions. I am here to serve and listen.
Read more about this election question project, Civil Dialogue in an Election Year.