Voters deserve to know where candidates stand on major issues. Starting today, and in a fair and factual way, I am detailing some of the major differences between me and Walter Dalton, one of my opponents in the race to be the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor. You can see it all at www.HD08.com/differences.
I’ll offer answers to a few questions I anticipate at the end of this post, but let me first mention some of the fundamental differences I’m pointing out:
(1) I support the law banning the execution of mentally retarded defendants. Mr. Dalton was one of the few Democrats who voted against this landmark legislation.
(2) I am pro-choice and unequivocally support Roe v. Wade. Mr. Dalton has opposed Roe’s essential requirement that a woman’s health be protected throughout pregnancy and he would deny, except in the narrowest of circumstances, any reproductive rights after the first trimester.
(3) I support affirmative action to address race and sex discrimination. Mr. Dalton has not supported the position that “[s]tate government agencies should take race and sex into account” through affirmative action programs.
(4) I strongly support our state’s Clean Smokestacks law. Mr. Dalton was one of only two Democrats to vote against the vital air-quality improvement bill in 2001. That year, the Conservation Council of North Carolina gave Mr. Dalton a 29% rating, which matched the lowest grade for any Democratic or Republican senator.
The response to www.HD08.com/differences will be interesting. A fair and accurate comparison of major differences on major policy issues is not a “negative” act. To the contrary, I think it goes to the heart of what campaigns should be about and has the positive effect of enabling voters to choose the candidate whose positions best reflect their own. And providing such a comparison is not an “attack”. I respect Mr. Dalton personally and I admire any Democratic candidate willing to accept the challenges of a statewide campaign.
My respect and admiration extends to the two other Democrats running for Lt. Governor, Dan Besse and Pat Smathers. I have participated in a number of joint appearances with both candidates already, and will continue to do so. During future forums, I look forward to more detailed discussions about are clearly differing professional experiences and our possible differences on various policy issues. I am sure such exchanges will be respectful, and I hope they will be informative for voters.
I deeply appreciate your interest in the Lt. Governor’s race and my campaign. I think I am in a great position to win this race as I have written previously.
I am doing the hard work of raising the millions of dollars necessary (until we can get “voter-owned” elections for every Council of State office) to communicate with voters statewide. But, much more importantly, I am doing everything I can to engage in a thoughtful discussion about the many important policy challenges North Carolina faces beyond just having an attractive business climate and how we can best respond to them...with an occasional children’s story -- www.HD08.com/kids/Kidstory.pdf -- thrown in for fun.