SOUTHEASTERN, N.C. — Marcia Morgan is running for a second time to serve as a representative for House District 19. A retired Army Colonel, Morgan spent 25 years on active duty, has experience as a teacher in pre-school to graduate-level courses, and has earned a Master’s and Ph.D. from Ohio State University in Research Methods in Physical Education.
The Carolina Beach resident is again vying for House District 19’s seat after narrowly losing to Representative Ted Davis by a 2.4% margin in 2018. She will face James Dawkins in the Democratic primary.
House District 19 was recently redrawn to include southeastern Brunswick County and southern New Hanover County.
Early voting starts Feb. 13. Same-day registration is available during the early voting period through Feb. 29. Election Day is March 3. This is a partisan primary, meaning only voters registered as Democrats can cast a vote for Morgan or Dawkins.
Charlie Miller and David Perry will appear on the ballot for House District 19 in the Republican ballot.
Note: Answers to interview questions appear unedited as provided.
Why are you running?
I believe in service to the community.
House District 19 has been redrawn and now includes no incumbent. It crosses county lines including coastal communities in both New Hanover and Brunswick County that aren’t connected by land. How do you plan to represent all of these different communities?
Certainly, the time/distance commitment of the new district is a bit more challenging than the previous one, but I’m finding that although we are separated by a river we share similar concerns. We want clean drinking water for our families. We want a strong public education for our children. We want to preserve our tourism and fishing industries–and our natural resources–by banning offshore drilling. We want good jobs in sustainable industries and access to high-quality healthcare. My experience on the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, where I was responsible for working with representatives from all military branches to accomplish priorities, prepared me well for the task of working with people from both counties in District 19, to listen to concerns, identify solutions and collaborate on the best way to implement those solutions.
Over the past decade, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has lost more than one-third of its funding. Should the state increase funding for DEQ?
The poisoning of the Cape Fear River is the ultimate argument for increasing funding for the DEQ. The state MUST have adequate, qualified inspectors to monitor what is happening to our environment AND we must enact stringent policies that enforce stiff penalties for violations.
Should the state increase teacher pay? Why or why not?
Teacher pay in North Carolina is an embarrassment. We should pay our hardworking teachers at least the national average, rather than lead the way to the bottom of the teacher salary list. Our state constitution guarantees each student will have the opportunity for a high-quality public education, yet our legislature has made that nearly impossible by refusing to pay teachers adequately and budget for even basic educational resources like textbooks. The fact is that many of our best teachers are leaving, going to other, higher-paying states or abandoning their teaching ambitions altogether–and those who stay are often forced to work multiple jobs just to survive. We can and should do better than this, and I will make public education a priority when I am elected.
What is your opinion of the current budget stalemate?
The Governor offered a compromise budget that included the projects being requested by the Republicans, yet they refused to approve it. In order to move forward, BOTH sides have to be willing to compromise for the good of all of North Carolina’s hardworking citizens. People are tired of their legislators retreating to their partisan corners; they want legislators who are willing to find common ground, work across the aisle and collaborate to solve the complex problems that we face.
If elected, what local issues do you plan to advocate for at the state level?
I have three main public policy priorities: (1) to restore education in NC to a place of pride, which includes paying teachers a respectable wage. A better-educated population is the foundation for a better future. This, in turn, supports (2) building a better economy through increasing the minimum wage, which in turn helps individuals afford better housing, and encourages new industries to come to this area. This further ties into (3) creating a cleaner environment through strengthening the DEQ, enforcing standards that currently exist, and getting rid of the Hardison Amendment which prevents NC from adopting stricter standards than the federal government.
If elected, do you plan to advocate for stronger water quality monitoring and contaminant limitations of public drinking water and discharges? If yes, what specific solutions do you think are needed at the state level to address the region’s water quality concerns?
The public has a right to expect their water is safe to drink and their air is safe to breathe. At this point, the state needs to be taking ALL steps that are necessary to force Chemours and any other corporation to clean up their messes, at their own expense. I don’t think we know right now what that will take, but if the penalties are severe enough, they will comply. However, the state should simultaneously be working with scientific groups to determine an independent solution on what the “acceptable” levels are and how to monitor them.
Learn more about Marcia Morgan on her campaign website.