NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Republican Representative Ted Davis is running to serve House District 20.
Currently serving House District 19, Davis’ district was recently redrawn by the legislature, leaving House District 20 without an incumbent. The seat is currently occupied by outgoing Rep. Holly Grange (R), who ran an unsuccessful primary bid for governor this spring.
Davis has served four terms as representative of House District 19.
The representative will appear on the ballot against Democratic challenger Adam Ericson.
Early voting is underway. Same-day registration is available during the early voting period, which ends Oct. 31. Election day is Nov. 3. Check your voter registration and county elections office to confirm polling locations, dates, and hours.
Port City Daily emailed both candidates the below questionnaire and will run their responses ahead of the Nov. 3 election. Port City Daily edited responses for spelling and grammatical errors only.
Port City Daily (PCD): How would you grade Governor Roy Cooper’s response to the pandemic? Did the state’s executive branch overstep its authority or are you comfortable with actions taken to protect public health? What, if anything, do you think should have been done differently?
Ted Davis (TD): I take the coronavirus very seriously, and I practice the protocols of social distancing when possible—wearing a mask, using sanitizing wipes, washing my hands, and using hand sanitizer. I do not agree with the unilateral actions that the governor has taken without consulting with or getting the approval of the council of state. I have friends who are going bankrupt, losing their businesses, have lost their jobs, and don’t know if they will have employment when businesses reopen. I would have preferred that the governor, with the approval of the council of state, had allowed businesses to continue with less restrictions, while requiring the protocols that I follow being in place.
I would give the governor a grade of “C” because of all of the financial harm he has caused.
PCD: Do you support the current flexibility given to the state’s elementary schools to reopen, or do you think there should be more concrete recommendations and guidelines? Should this same level of flexibility be extended to all grade levels?
TD: I support the flexibility for the state’s elementary schools to reopen. One size does not fit all, so the circumstances will not be the same throughout the 100 counties in North Carolina. I believe K-12 students need to be with their friends and in a structured environment with their teachers, with the necessary protocols in place to protect students, faculty and staff at their school.
Unlike my opponent, I support charter schools to give parents the choice of where their children will receive their education, and opportunity scholarships to give the parents of minority and low-income students the same opportunity.
PCD: Are you satisfied with the state’s current grant-based film incentive program? Should the state aim to bring back its previous refundable tax credits to entice filmmakers to bring projects back to the region?
TD: I have been the leading advocate for the film industry in the state house since I went to Raleigh in 2012. When the legislature was looking at not continuing the former “tax credit,” I got a bill passed that would have extended it.
Unfortunately, the Senate would not hear the bill and the “tax credit” was terminated. A film grant program was the next option.
I then was able to obtain recurring funding of $31 million per year for this program with no termination date. For the last two years, I have been able to defeat multiple attempts to either reduce or terminate the program. Despite the coronavirus, the film industry has been gaining ground in productions. This is a clean industry that employs many talented men and women, and I will continue to do all that I can to keep this important economic engine running. I am proud to have the support of the localEUE/Screen Gems Studios and IATSE, which represents motion picture and television workers, for my re-election to House District 20.
PCD: 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?
TD: I support the proper funding of DEQ that is commensurate to their designated duties to protect those that live in North Carolina. I was able to sponsor an environmental bill in the house, that was subsequently merged into a Senate bill, and provided funding to DEQ for testing for contaminants in our air, rivers, groundwater wells, soil and sediment. I am very proud to have recently received a letter of appreciation from DEQ Secretary Michael Regan stating, “ You have contributed to protecting the health and safety of all North Carolinians, and for that, we are proud and grateful . . . Without your vision, innovation and leadership, we would not be the agency we are today.”
PCD: Should the state increase teacher pay? Why or why not?
TD: Teaching is a noble profession and teachers are entrusted with our children to give them the education that they need to achieve. We need qualified individuals, and they need a salary that will assist in recruiting and retaining them. I have supported teacher raises ever since I have been in Raleigh, and I will continue to do so.
I have also supported the funding that is necessary to supplement teachers’ health insurance and retirement benefits, and I will continue to do so.
In addition, with the coronavirus situation, we need to keep the correct protocols in place to protect the teachers, as well as the students and other staff. I was very proud to have obtained funding to help establish the local Southeastern Area Technical High School so students could be taught vocational training by qualified teachers to help our regional work force.
PCD: If elected, what local issues do you plan to advocate for at the state level?
TD: I was a primary sponsor of the first legislative action to address the opioid crisis locally and statewide. I was also responsible for obtaining the necessary funding for the local Wilmington Pilot Project to Treat Opioid Overdose. I will continue my fight against drug abuse and the terrible impact it has on our community.
I successfully sponsored a bill to protect victims of human trafficking both locally and statewide. I will continue my fight against this horrible sexual servitude, especially involving our young women.
I will continue to vote for teacher raises and the funding necessary to keep our public schools functioning properly and safely.
Unlike my opponent, I will continue to support charter schools to give parents the choice of where their children will receive their education, and opportunity scholarships to give the parents of minority and low income students the same opportunity.
Unlike my opponent, who has signed a pledge to “defund the police,” I will continue to support the men and women of our local law enforcement who risk their lives every day to keep us and our families safe.
I will continue to work with DEQ Secretary Michael Regan to make sure that our air and drinking water are safe for our local consumption.
I will continue to oppose offshore drilling, in order to protect our beautiful beaches and the tourism industry that is so important to our community.
When asked to do so, I will continue to obtain legislation and secure funding for the benefit of the new House District 20, just like I have for my present House District 19.
PCD: 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?
TD: There must be communication between the legislature, DEQ and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) so we can be on the same page as to what is actually going on, and how we can effectively and successfully address the problem. While the general assembly cannot enact legislation against a single specific business entity, the legislature can pass generic laws affecting a type of business throughout the state. While the legislature can enact civil and criminal penalties for certain violations, it cannot hold someone strictly guilty or liable. That is for the judicial system to do.
A perfect example are the civil lawsuits brought by the Cape Fear Utility Authority and the state of North Carolina against Chemours for damages. As I have previously stated, I will continue to work with DEQ Secretary Michael Regan to make sure that our air and drinking water are safe for those who live here.
PCD: How would you rate the economic health of southeastern N.C. and what would you like to see happen to strengthen these numbers?
TD: When I started serving in the state house at the end of 2012, the state was in debt for $2.4 billion due to the way the Democrats had previously run things. Using conservative measures, the Republican majority paid that debt off.
Under Republican leadership, personal taxes and corporate taxes have been reduced, and unnecessary and burdensome regulations have been eliminated, to make North Carolina very business friendly. New businesses continue to come to North Carolina and existing businesses are expanding.
We have been recognized by Forbes as the best state for business in 2017, 2018 and 2019. We have received other national recognition for being a leading state for businesses to invest in starting or expanding. Because of our sound economy, we have maintained a AAA credit rating. Because of the surplus income that the state was able to acquire, we have been able to bring relief to those affected by hurricanes and Covid-19 without having to borrow money, raise taxes or cut services. Because of the coronavirus, our projected income will not be the same, but with the continuation of conservative Republican principles, we will be able to “weather the storm” until we can return to fully opening business so people can work.
PCD: The N.C. Division of Employment Security was slow to respond to millions of unemployment insurance claims filed this year in response to the pandemic. What would you do to address such a logjam in the face of a future crisis?
TD: The governor “dropped the ball” with the funding that the state previously received for hurricane relief. There is money sitting in Raleigh, and there are people who are still waiting for sorely needed relief. The Division of Employment Security (DES) is also under the governor’s purview, and he has definitely “dropped the ball” again. I am still getting emails and telephone calls from individuals who have not received their unemployment benefits.
First, I was told that more employees needed to be hired. Then I was told there was not sufficient training available. Then I was told the equipment was antiquated and needed to be replaced. Then the person in charge was replaced but nothing got better. Quite frankly, we need to get the DES under Republican control so we can get that division of state government running efficiently and responsively.
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