Welcome Jennifer Roberts

Those of us living in North Carolina's Ninth Congressional District are lucky to have former diplomat and Chair of Mecklenburg's Board of County Commissioners and current member of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, Jennifer Roberts, running to represent us in Congress. At BlueNC and Democratic Muse we are lucky to have her as our guest for a live blog Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m.

While questions may be posted below, the official event will be at BlueNC. Please join in and follow along at BlueNC tomorrow evening.

About Jennifer

​Jennifer was born and raised in Charlotte and graduated from East Mecklenburg High School. She attended UNC on the prestigious Morehead Scholarship and holds masters degrees in International Affairs from both John's Hopkins and the University of Toronto.

She served as a diplomat with the US Department of State for three and a half years before returning to Charlotte with her husband in 1993.

Roberts has given back to the community in many ways and has been appointed to numerous boards and commissions - both political and charitable. According to the Mecklenburg County web site, "She is a recipient of the Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Award, the William Friday Fellowship, and the Counselors of Real Estate Creative Thinkers Award."

Please join me in welcoming Jennifer Roberts to BlueNC. Feel free to leave your questions below. Thank you. We look forward to your participation Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.


Please join me in welcoming Jennifer Roberts to BlueNC. Those of us living in her district are excited to have such a strong candidate running to represent us in Washington.

Welcome, Jennifer!


rural vs urban

Jennifer, thank you for joining us and agreeing to answer our questions.

We moved from Charlotte out to rural Union County. I'm surrounded by sprawling farms and cattle ranches. Our needs are very different from those of your constituents living in more urban areas. With the addition of Lincoln County, I imagine the district has become more rural than before. How will you balance the concerns of communities with very different needs?

Thank you for stepping up to serve.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

rural vs urban

Thanks for having me, I am glad to be here.

On the issue of rural and urban areas (actually, part of Iredell county, not Lincoln, is the new county in the district, replacing Gaston):
As a Mecklenburg County commissioner I have always worked to consider the concerns and issues of all the constituents that I represent. One of the reasons I have the highest name recognition in this race is because I have made a point to be accessible. For the past eight years I have held a monthly breakfast meeting (more than 80 so far) in a different neighborhood, open to the public. People know where to find me and they know I will listen if they have a question or need help or information.
Regarding particular issues related to rural areas found in Union and Iredell counties, I am a big supporter of farming and agriculture, especially the new movement towards sustainable agriculture and local food. Sustainable agriculture can provide new economic opportunities in rural and urban communities and help protect the environment. We need to do all we can to support our rural neighbors because they are an integral part of the success of our economy.

Sorry for the mix up on counties

We are very happy you have joined us.

I know you do an excellent job making yourself accessible as a commissioner. Much better than most. Thank you.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

decision making

Jennifer - One of the issues I have had with Sue Myrick, going back to her days on city council has been her decision making and I have seen this same trait in your two possible opponents: she is very quick to make decisions and once she has made up her mind, she will not listen to opposing viewpoints and consider alternatives.

How will your decision making be different and can you cite an example where you have changed your mind on an issue?

Gray Newman

decision making

I am a firm believer that in an economy as changeable as ours, with technology creating new needs every day, decision makers must be flexible and avid learners. I am not afraid to say that new facts have altered my opinion.
As an example, I used to think that charter schools eroded support for public education. But after meeting with parents and visiting with several charter schools, I now believe they are are an important part of school choice and fill a critical need by serving a wide range of families and socioeconomic groups.

Deficit spending

Do you agree that, during a recession (with the sharp reduction in tax revenues that accompanies such), deficit spending can help to preserve and even stimulate economic growth?

If you do, do you also agree that the current move by conservatives to slash spending across the boards could actually prolong our recession?

I think it's easy for candidates to talk about their views on

"issues." What I'd like to know is what legislation you would try to initiate and get passed? I understand there are limts to one's ability to do this, but I NEVER hear anything about our current crop proposing anything. How about a couple things important to you/us?

Stan Bozarth


The most important challenge facing us right now is the economy. We need to focus on creating jobs and supporting hard-working North Carolina families.
I have been touring the region and have heard from business owners that paperwork is a huge burden to start-up companies. One initiative I would like to implement would be to relax reporting requirements and taxation for newly created small businesses to help them grow faster.
I also support tax reform that would simplify the tax structure, reduce loopholes and help our companies create jobs here and better compete with companies overseas.


I have run into the paperwork mountain myself. Not every entrepreneur can open a business with a large cash injection and a cadre of professional advisors. Clearing some of the hurdles small business owners face will be a big help.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.


An assumption by many in the 9th District is that Democratic candidates offer little ideas other than raising taxes and adding another layer of government control. While your service on the County Commission has been widely respected,what can you offer to 9th District voters to counter this assumption that a vote for you is to bring higher federal taxes at some point and more Federal Government control over everything from schools to healthcare cost increases to Social Security tax increases?

Not a ridiculous question

to a huge majority of voters in the 9th District. We can't all live in a district that reelects David Price easily. :) I don't think Jennifer can win without convincing some of these voters that she doesn't resemble the tax and spend librul boogey monster the GOP has successfully created and sold to their voters.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

It's time to kill the boogey monster then

Progressive Democrats are fighting a losing battle based on the faulty premise that taxes are out-of-control. They are not out of control. Rates are nearing an all time low for high-income earners.

If we continue to let Republicans create facts from thin air, we will continue to see our country slide into third-world status in terms of education and infrastructure.


So, it will be good to hear how Jennifer plans to wage the battle against Republican misinformation and win.

We need a thread on communicating with conservatives. I'm working on something but traveling with Emily to visit Duke tomorrow. Will do my best to get it posted this weekend. Promise. (You've heard that before...I know.)

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Fiscal control

Thank you for your comments on my county commission service. I have a strong record of fiscal conservatism on the Mecklenburg Board of Commissioners. During the recession, we worked hard to maintain services, especially for the most vulnerable in our community, but cut our operating budget 11 percent and slashed our debt service by 46 percent by delaying capital projects and reducing debt. During this time, however, my leadership also helped us maintain a AAA bond rating.
I have been a corporate banker and I understand the importance of strong fiscal controls. Most people I meet want this as well. Taxpayer money should be used efficiently for priorities that we all support. Three out of my eight years on the Commission, we reduced the tax rate in Mecklenburg. Deficit reduction requires changes on the revenue side as well as the expense side, however, and we do need to update our tax structure to make sure it is fair and sustainable.

Marriage Equality

With the President and the North Carolina Democratic Party officially coming out in support of marriage equality recently this is a question I'm sure a lot of people running for office will get.

Do you support marriage equality?

Softball question, but I'm always curious

If you had your choice, what are the top three or four committees you would like to serve on and why?

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Not a softball

I think it's one of the best ways to narrow down what candidates really care about.


Sorry about the repeating answer above, I hit save twice.
As to committees, I would like to serve on Energy and Commerce because of the growing energy hub in this region and its connection to job creation. I also have an interest in Financial Services because we are the second largest financial services center in the country and I have worked in banking.
Foreign Affairs and Natural Resources are also on my list.

Question via email on immigration

What are your views on how to best deal with the number of immigrants in this country illegally. Do we offer a path to citizenship or send them packing? Also, do we do anything to address the flow of immigrants into this country. Finally, is there a way to make both sides of this issue happy?

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Immigration reform

This is an issue that is important to North Carolina, especially with its history of immigrant labor in the agricultural sector. First let me say there is a big difference between legal and illegal immigration. Legal immigrants are an important part of the NC family and make a huge economic and cultural impact. However, the paperwork to get permits for needed workers is cumbersome and drives some companies overseas. There is a wide belief that our current immigration system is broken. The path to reform needs to include both increased security measures as well as increased options for legal immigration, otherwise known as comprehensive immigration reform.
The way to get both sides of this issue to agree is to work on each side of reform at the same time. Increase border controls, but decrease paperwork for legal immigration. We don't need another year of political rhetoric, we need to have the most talented, creative, and productive workers possible in order for our companies to thrive.

Jennifer, I know you have a busy schedule

...and we are reaching the end of the time you have to spend with us.

Please feel free to chat with us a little longer, or come back to answer any questions you haven't had a chance to get to. You are welcome to post here at any time. In the past, campaigns have had staffers and supporters post identifying themselves as employees or volunteers for the campaign. We will do our best to help spread news from your campaign. Thank you again for joining us.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Thanks so much for letting me

Thanks so much for letting me post some of my views. Sorry I could not get to all the questions, I would be happy to come back at a future date. I do have to go pick up my two kids at choir (I am a proud mother of two teens--so I am used to hard work and facing challenges!)

All the best Jennifer

Jennifer, you are welcome back anytime

and you are welcome to stop back later to answer any remaining questions here.

Thank you!

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Sorry I missed this

Interesting to read after the fact.

On changing positions, kudos to your shift on charter schools. I've made the same shift, though I continue to oppose to profit-making charters of any kind. Government should not be subsidizing any business, let alone businesses that are parasites on our public school system. Better to encourage public school teachers and administrators to initiate small charters and keep those resources in the public domain.

You dodged the question about marriage equality. Why?