Wednesday, May 25, 2022

2022 Primary Election: B.K. Maginnis is running for Senate

BK Maginnis is running for Senate. (Courtesy photo)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. ⁠— B.K. Maginnis is running for U.S. Senate. Sen. Richard Burr is not seeking re-election. Maginnis is up against 10 other Democratic candidates in the primaries.

Port City Daily has sent a questionnaire to every candidate appearing on ballots in the tri-county region. For federal and state offices, we asked candidates to address issues pertinent to the Cape Fear: PFAS, offshore wind, affordable housing and more.

The paywall is dropped on profiles to help voters make informed decisions.

As a reminder, the early voting period runs from Apr. 28 to May 14. The voter registration deadline is Apr. 22. Voters may partake in same-day registration throughout the two-week early voting period (check if your registration is active at your current address).

Primary Election Day is May 17. Voters will choose which candidates from their registered party they want to move forward in the formal election. Those who are registered as unaffiliated can choose which party’s primary they want to vote in.

Maginnis’ stances on issues are discussed below. All answers are included in full and the candidate’s opinions and statements are not a reflection of Port City Daily. Responses are edited only for grammar, spelling and clarity.

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Port City Daily: Name three projects that you would advocate for funding and why?

BK Maginnis: First, increase funding to clean water projects, including replacing all lead pipes. No one should question whether the water coming from their tap is safe.

Second, expanding access to broadband in low-income and rural areas. Increased access to broadband would help things like education and healthcare.

Finally, funding to decrease fossil fuel use which would include improving public transportation and rail, and expanding the network of vehicle charging stations.

PCD: Do you support the progression toward offshore wind development? Clean energy tax breaks? Explain. 

BK: I would support any initiatives that move us to an economy less dependent on fossil fuels, including linking future drilling and fossil fuel exploration with investment in alternative energy sources. Wind development would be included in this.

PCD: What are the main priorities to address infrastructure needs in North Carolina?

BK: Some of the biggest priorities regarding infrastructure I mentioned above, but over 300 miles of road need to be repaired and almost 1,500 bridges in disrepair.

PCD: How would you propose all citizens have access to affordable healthcare? 

BK: An obvious answer is to accept Medicaid expansion, which would provide healthcare to 500,000 North Carolinians of low income. In addition, strengthening and expanding the ACA would allow more people to be covered because they do not have coverage through their work or employer. This can be done by increasing access to health-care coverage, making healthcare more affordable, and improving the consumer marketplace experience.

PCD: Are there any actions you support to promote equity and provide opportunities to historically marginalized populations? 

BK: I think one of the biggest problems with previous attempts at creating a more equitable state and more opportunities for historically marginalized populations is that most action towards that goal tended to be a direct benefit. Two problems stem from this.

First, when benefits are targeted for a particular segment of the population, it causes resentment in the rest of the population that doesn’t receive that benefit, which means they work against the initiative and the Democratic party loses votes and can’t implement further policy.

The second problem is that most programs that are targeted directly to help these populations aren’t effective and turn out to be counterproductive. A great example is the “Economic Opportunity Zones” created by the Republican 2017 Tax Cut bill. These zones were intended to bring needed capital to lower-income minority neighborhoods. Instead, it turned out to be just another tax loophole for the super-rich and had no benefit to the intended population.

The best way to help historically marginalized communities is to implement programs that indirectly benefit them. This means programs that help all Americans who fall in the same socioeconomic strata.

For example, Black Americans are disproportionately part of the lower-income class. Therefore, by implementing my American Profit Sharing Plan (APSP), a universal basic income that would go to all Americans, you can get more money into the hands of all lower-income people, which will disproportionately benefit Black Americans. The best way to help these communities is by implementing indirect action versus direct action.

PCD: How far should the state go to attract companies and promote economic development? 

BK: The typical answer or solution to this is to incentivize companies to move here using tax breaks. However, this is bad because you lose the tax revenue from these companies, which is one benefit of them moving here. In addition, depending on the industry, luring those companies could mean putting out of business small businesses already in-state that may be their competition.

The best and proper way to get companies here is to have a solid infrastructure they require, an educated or available workforce for them to employ, and a government that supports their growth and expansion once they are already here. North Carolina will prosper best when it invests in itself rather than trying to “buy? their business.

PCD: What needs to be done to address PFAs in drinking water?

BK: There are two leading solutions to address PFAs in drinking water. First, enforce measures by companies to capture airborne PFAs and prevent spillage into groundwater sources. Second, incentivizing them to switch to safer PFAs or penalizing them when they do not.

PCD: How does the state need to improve its flood resilience plan to prevent disaster scenarios like Hurricane Florence’s aftermath? 

BK: Several ways North Carolina can improve its flood resilience plan include creating a proactive, rather than reactive plan, accounting for social vulnerability, and developing its plan beyond federal standards, which means incorporating state-specific needs. In addition, the state would benefit from a plan that includes more intensive scientific modeling that reflects the current climate change.

PCD: What are the top issues in our K-12 schools right now, and how would you work to address it?

BK: The top three issues are overcrowding, high student-teacher ratios, and a curriculum that does not produce an employable education without a post-secondary education. Overcrowding can easily be solved by increasing funding for school construction to match the growing population in areas.

Improving student-teacher ratios would require hiring more teachers, but our teachers are currently underpaid, which is little incentive to increase their numbers. Therefore, raising teacher pay to attract more teachers would decrease student-teacher ratios, and promote retention in the teacher ranks.

Finally, revising the primary and secondary curriculums to align with current workforce needs would mean students can get careers without going to college and a better-prepared student for those who choose to move. Included in the revisions would be adding technical and trade schools to the last two years of high school.

PCD: What resources do we need in place to continue to fight Covid-19? How should NC prepare for a future pandemic?

BK: Having dealt with Covid the last two years, I think our state has the proper resources to continue fighting Covid. In addition, I think the state would be prepared for any future pandemic if they keep critical planning and preparation resources in place, even if they reduce implementation forces.

PCD: Where do you stand on the decriminalization of marijuana? Explain.

BK: I think marijuana should be decriminalized and made legal. Legalize it, regulate it, tax it. Multiple states have moved towards legalizing marijuana, with much economic benefit coming from the move.

North Carolina is an agricultural-based state. This would provide additional diversification in our agricultural economy and be an economic boom- from the money saved from less policing to the tax yields from its sale to the money earned by the farmers themselves.

Decriminalization across the US is just a matter of time. It is best to be on the front end of these movements.


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Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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