WILMINGTON — Republican candidate Ted Davis Jr. is running for the North Carolina House of Representatives for District 19. The district is home to about 80,000 residents and includes the area from Wrightsville Beach south to Carolina and Kure Beach.
Davis is the current incumbent for the district and is running against Libertarian David Perry and Democrat candidate Marcia Morgan.
Below are Davis’ answers to Port City Daily’s questions.
What makes you the best candidate to represent District 19? What are your qualifications and work experiences that you think will be valuable to the residents of the district?
I was born and raised in Wilmington and spent the summers at Wrightsville Beach. My son is now raising his family here, so I have a vested interest in the future of our area. I am an attorney, was a member of the Cape Fear Community College Board of Trustees for 15 years and a New Hanover County Commissioner for 16 years (Chairman 5 years).
Since being in the House for six years, I have chaired numerous Committees and I am a member of the House Leadership Team. As a legislator, I have used my years of working with the County, City and Beach Municipalities to obtain legislation and funding for the benefit of District 19, as well as the rest of New Hanover County and North Carolina. I am in a position to continue to do so.
What issues are the biggest concerns for you as a candidate? What do you hope to accomplish if elected?
The safety of our drinking water. Continuing to raise the salaries of our teachers and school administrators, providing adequate per-pupil funding, and making sure that our schools are a safe environment for our students. Bringing clean business and good paying jobs to our community, such as the film industry. In addition, we need to enact a long-term infrastructure plan that addresses our aging roads, bridges, and ports.
While North Carolina is growing, our infrastructure is not keeping pace with that growth, and maintenance to our existing roads and bridges is falling behind. If we do not institute a strategic plan that builds for the future, we will reach a breaking point and our economy will begin to suffer.
What is your opinion on companies like Chemours and DuPont continuing to discharge waste into N.C. waterways? Have you taken any campaign money from DuPont or any subsidiary?
I am totally against any company discharging any type of pollutant into our waterways, especially the sources of our drinking water. I have publicly requested the Governor and the Department of Environmental Quality to shut down Chemours until it can absolutely guarantee that it can operate without endangering the quality of our drinking water. I have never taken any money from either Chemours, DuPont or any subsidiary.
What are your opinions on the constitutional amendments on the ballot this election? Do you find it right to take rights from the executive branch and give them to the state legislature? In one example the amendment would be legislating around a state Supreme Court ruling — do you find it okay to undermine a judicial ruling simply because it does not favor your party?
I am in favor of each of the constitutional amendments. Rather than the Legislature enacting the subject matter of each amendment, the decision is being left to the voters of our State. Before each individual votes they need to educate themselves on each particular amendment, then that individual needs to vote their conscience either for or against each of the amendments.
What can the General Assembly do better to help Wilmington and New Hanover County? What state legislation do you personally think will benefit the region?
In order for the General Assembly to better help Wilmington and New Hanover County, the people who live here need to elect the most qualified and experienced representatives to pursue legislation and funding on their behalf. As my record reflects, I have walked the walk and not just talked the talk. As a member of the House Commerce and Job Development Committee, as well as the Joint Legislative Economic Development Oversight Committee, I have pursued and will continue to pursue legislation and funding that will protect our drinking water, improve the quality of our schools, and enhance opportunities for economic development to bring good paying jobs to our community.
Do you feel like water-quality issues in the region have been handled acceptably so far? If not, what steps would you take?
Taking everything into consideration, I believe that there have been many positive actions taken to address water-quality issues in the region. As Senior Chairman of the House Committee on River Quality, I introduced legislation that resulted in over $10 million being appropriated to initially address the GenX and emerging compound issues. But more needs to be done, and I will continue to pursue the necessary legislation and funding to address these issues and protect the people who live here.
What role, if any, do you see for the state in beach renourishment?
Tourism in New Hanover County is a very important economic engine, and our beaches and ocean-related activities are a major reason why people visit. The State needs to establish a steady funding source so that we can maintain regularly scheduled beach nourishment cycles, as well as regular dredging of our inlets.
North Carolina’s General Assembly banned Medicaid expansion in 2013. Do you think that was a good idea? Why or why not?
I supported the State not expanding Medicaid in 2013. During that year, the General Assembly had to appropriate funds, which could have been used for other purposes, to make up a $500 million shortfall in the Medicaid program because of fraud and mismanagement. In addition, the reimbursement rate was scheduled to be reduced in the future from 100% to 90%, shifting that cost to the State. I was concerned that if Congress reduced that rate even further, that shifting cost could put a greater burden on our taxpayers. Since 2013, the Republican-led Legislature has succeeded in having the program run more cost efficiently with no shortfalls, and it should further improve with the implementation of Managed Care Prepaid Health Plans.
Do you think the shift to the current grant system hurt the local film industry? What can Raleigh do to help reinvigorate Wilmington’s film scene?
While the local film industry was thriving under the former Film Tax Credit, there were those in the General Assembly that did not favor this incentive. When that Credit was going to expire, I filed and got a Bill passed with bi-partisan support in the House that would have extended that Credit but the Senate refused to hear it. Thus, we had to go to the present Grant Program, which definitely hurt obtaining business here. But through my continued efforts, I was able to successfully lobby my fellow Legislators to increase the Grant funding to $31 million per year.
I was also instrumental in getting this increased funding to be recurring each year, with no termination date, and modified to allow smaller production companies an opportunity to apply for a grant. As a result of these actions, two productions are now taking place at the local film studio and more is in the works. I will continue to lobby for a further increase in the Grant Fund, while I still pursue the reinstatement of the Film Tax Credit.
Is North Carolina economically competitive enough? If not, what can Raleigh do to change that?
North Carolina is very economically competitive because the Republican-led Legislature has made the State more business friendly by reducing the personal income tax rate, reducing the corporate income tax rate, and eliminating unnecessary red-tape. New businesses are locating here and existing businesses are expanding. The State is receiving higher than expected revenues, has a AAA bond rating and has accumulated a rainy day fund in excess of $2 billion, which is now being used for hurricane relief. I have supported these positive economic development endeavors and will continue to do so.