Thursday, September 29, 2022

Election 2022: Amy Block DeLoach is running for NC House District 20

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Democrat Amy Block DeLoach is running against incumbent Republican Ted Davis Jr. for New Hanover County District 20 in the N.C. House of Representatives.

Port City Daily has sent a questionnaire to every candidate appearing on ballots in the tri-county region, even those unopposed, ahead of the Nov. 8, 2022 election.

The media outlet asked candidates to address issues pertinent to the Cape Fear: PFAS, women’s rights, affordable healthcare and more.

DeLoach’s 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.

The paywall is dropped on candidate questionnaires to help voters make informed decisions ahead of Election Day.

To prepare, here are a few dates for readers to keep in mind:

  • Absentee ballots will be available Sept. 9 and have a Nov. 1 deadline.
  • Registration to vote will open until Oct. 14; afterward, according to the state board of elections, same-day registration only will be available during one-stop early voting. 
  • Early voting begins Oct. 20 and remains open through Nov. 5 (3:30 p.m.).
  • Election Day polls open Nov. 8, 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Locations to vote early in New Hanover County include CFCC Health Sciences and Learning Center (415 2nd. St.), Carolina Beach Municipal Building (1121 Lake Park Blvd.), CFCC North Campus (4500 Blue Clay Rd.), Northeast Library/Board of Elections (1241-A Military Cutoff Rd.), and the Senior Center (2222 S. College Rd.).

Once early voting closes, voters will need to go to the location listed on their voter registration card.

To see a sample ballot for the upcoming election, fill in voter registration info here.

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Port City Daily (PCD): Name three projects that you would advocate for funding and why. 
Amy DeLoach (AD): I will advocate for free breakfasts and lunches for our low-income public school students. Currently, 1 in 6 children in North Carolina are food insecure. Letting our kids go hungry is unacceptable and leads to stress and anxiety in families as well as in the classroom.

I will also advocate for adequate public transportation and more affordable housing.

PCD: How would you propose all North Carolinians have access to affordable healthcare?
AD: We must expand Medicaid. It’s absurd that we haven’t done this yet. We are turning down hundreds of millions of our own tax dollars from the federal government every single month as we watch hospitals close and people die because they can’t afford the basic health services they need. It’s time we get this done.

PCD: What can you bring to the table to address the affordable housing crisis currently facing residents?
AD: The bottom line is that we don’t have enough housing supply to meet the increased demand. I’m in favor of providing tax incentives for developers to build more housing. I’d also work with local leaders to make changes to single family zoning where appropriate. This would increase density, help keep prices down, and reduce the need for suburban sprawl which leads to longer commutes and more time sitting in traffic.

PCD: How do you propose the government assist with combating inflation and its ramifications — rising rents, groceries, utilities, prescription drugs, gas — on working families?
AD: It’s important to note that the state government has limited power when it comes to inflation, but I’ll do whatever I can to keep costs low for families and businesses.

I support temporarily suspending the gas tax until prices get under control.

I also support raising the minimum wage, gradually, so businesses have time to adjust and people don’t have to try to feed their families with poverty wages.

I also support providing free breakfast and lunch at public schools for low-income families to address child hunger in North Carolina and help reduce grocery costs for working parents.

PCD: There has been a lot of talk about reforming ABC laws in the state, often called “draconian” by business owners tied to them. Would you support revising some of the laws and do you support privatization — why or why not?
AD: I’m open to streamlining the permitting process, but I need more information about privatization before signing on because that can take a wide variety of forms.

For example, some people advocate for selling liquor in grocery stores while others just want to be able to privately own ABC stores. I’d need to see the details of any proposal and the data about its impacts before making a final determination, but I’m open-minded.

PCD: Where do you stand on women’s reproductive health rights and would you support legislation to further restrict abortions in North Carolina?
AD: I am vehemently pro-choice and believe that women should always have the right to make their own healthcare decisions. These proposed laws are too extreme for North Carolina. They are not only restrictive of our rights, but they have economic impacts as well.

We’ve already seen what happens when extremist bills like HB2 get passed here — we lose billions of dollars in business investment.

Just recently, a film project left Arkansas because of the state’s restrictive abortion laws and came to Wilmington

PCD: The state has been recognized as one of the best in business. How far should North Carolina go to attract companies and promote economic development?
AD: When the Republicans and Democrats worked together, we were ranked as top in the country by CNBC. When Republicans lost the supermajority in 2018, they had to work with Democrats and since then we’ve seen the rate of new businesses opening in North Carolina skyrocket. This is because there have been bi-partisan efforts to provide tax incentives, to invest in education so we have a strong workforce, and to make other investments in the state to provide a quality of life that businesses can sell to prospective employees. This is the clearest example of why bipartisan support is so important and can become successful. 

I believe in providing tax incentives for industries like film that bring good, clean jobs here. However, I do believe corporations should pay their fair share in taxes. Currently, they pay 2.5% and that’s set to phase out to 0% over the next several years. I’m in favor of staying at 2.5% so we can continue investing in everything from protecting our coasts to our universities, which make North Carolina great for citizens and businesses.

PCD: What needs to be done to address PFAs in North Carolinians’ drinking water?
AD: Corporate polluters need to be held accountable and forced to pay for the damages they’ve caused. We must ensure this won’t happen again. I’m in favor of introducing a statutory cause of action against corporate polluters, including compensable as well as punitive damages. This would allow North Carolinians to hold corporate polluters accountable in court not only for the cost of cleaning up the mess they made, but also for an additional fee that will make other companies think twice before polluting our water.

In New Hanover County, specifically, I think Chemours should pay for the installation of a reverse osmosis filter in the homes of every person in the area whose water they polluted.

PCD: What do you consider the top issues in our K-12 schools right now and how would you work to address it?
AD: It is so important that we provide adequate pay for our teachers and ensure they have the supplies they need to teach their children. We keep seeing teachers leave the profession, even as the number of students is increasing. This makes the job harder for the teachers who stick it out and leads to worse outcomes for our children in the classroom who can no longer get the individualized attention they need.

We also need to ensure our children are not trying to learn on an empty stomach. We should expand our free and subsidized lunch/breakfast program for low-income families. Finally, we need to ensure that the Leandro case is upheld and every child in this state gets an equal education, regardless of how wealthy their school district is. 

PCD: Where do you stand on the decriminalization of marijuana? Explain.
AD: I am in favor of decriminalizing marijuana. Medical marijuana can help many patients suffering with pain, in a safe and effective way. Many veterans are faced with lingering impacts from their service and don’t have a better treatment to turn to.

Recreational marijuana can be properly regulated and taxed to bring significant revenue to the state, as it has in several other states. The court systems see too many people, especially people of color, suffering from minor marijuana charges. It costs North Carolina about $35,000 a year to imprison just one person. Instead of burdening tax payers to jail people for committing non-violent crimes, we should gain tax revenue from allowing marijuana to be sold in a responsible way and use that to help ease the tax burden on North Carolinians.

PCD: How does the state need to improve its flood resilience plan to prevent disaster scenarios, like Hurricane Florence’s aftermath?
AD: We need to invest in resources for local governments to respond in the way that’s best fit for their areas. The needs of New Hanover County are vastly different from those of Fair Bluff and from those of the Outer Banks. However, we can help localities prepare by providing state funding for their resilience plans. We know what our community needs in times of disaster, and empowering communities to understand and share their unique needs will improve our state’s overall ability to respond.  

PCD: Do you support the state’s progression toward offshore wind development? Clean energy tax breaks? Explain.
AD: Yes. Offshore wind is a critical asset for coastal communities hoping to mitigate climate change, and it can help ease our reliance on other countries for energy resources. That means more consistently low energy prices for North Carolinians. It’s also worth noting that these projects are so far off the coast that they won’t obstruct anyone’s view of the ocean. 

PCD: What would your main priorities be to address infrastructure needs in North Carolina?
AD: We need to invest in our roads, bridges, public transportation, and housing. Thanks to the bipartisan federal infrastructure law, there are grants available for us to invest federal dollars on much needed projects here at home.

I strongly support the expansion of Amtrak, so we can take a train from Wilmington to Charlotte, Raleigh, the mountains, or across state lines. This would help reduce traffic and allow people to have more flexibility in their travel plans.

The bridge into Wilmington is also past due for serious maintenance, and federal dollars could help make that a reality. 

PCD: Are there any actions you support to make North Carolina a more equitable state and provide opportunities to historically marginalized populations?
AD: I support investments into afterschool programs that provide children in low-income households a safe place to help them develop skills and build community.

I also support raising the minimum wage, because $7.25 an hour isn’t enough for someone to live off of, no matter how hard they’re working, and we know that historically marginalized communities are more likely to make these low wages.

Another obvious thing we can do is expand Medicaid, which would grant healthcare to over 600,000 North Carolinians for almost no cost to the state’s taxpayers.

Finally, I’m in favor of expanding programs that help feed North Carolinians who are food insecure.

PCD: Coming out of 2021, wherein NC garnered over $400 million from film projects, should North Carolina take steps to strengthen the industry, such as improving grants?
AD: Absolutely. The film industry not only provides clean, good-paying jobs to North Caroinians, it also serves as an advertisement for our great state. Tourists come to see where things like “One Tree Hill” were filmed and spend money at local businesses while they visit. We need to ensure that the film industry will remain in North Carolina. 

PCD: What resources do we need in place to continue to fight Covid-19? How should the state prepare for a future pandemic?
AD: COVID showed us all how much we rely on healthcare and other essential workers. One thing we can do is pay these workers for their dedication. Nurses and doctors in particular are burnt out, and we need to make sure we keep them in the profession, so our hospitals don’t have to cut back on what they can provide to patients. I’m in favor of subsidizing pay bumps for nurses and doctors or perhaps providing loan cancellation programs for medical care workers who stay in North Carolina for at least 10 years.

We also need to ensure that we have an adequate reserve of medical supplies for emergency situations.

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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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