Sen. Chuck Edwards, a Republican, is running against Democrat Brian Caskey in the N.C. Senate, District 48 race.
The Times-News will be running candidate questionnaires online and in its print editions in the coming days, as early voting kicks off across the county. Visit www.BlueRidgeNow.com for more candidate profiles.
What motivated you to run for office, and what are your top priorities if re-elected?
We need more common people representing us in government. People that have achieved in life by pulling themself up by their bootstrings. I’m exactly that person. My mother was a waitress, and my dad was a truck driver. I’m a product of public schools and community college.
I’ve lived through just about every socio-economic class known in America, from a poor but well-established and loving home to the turmoils of a broken family. My career began with a minimum wage part-time job.
I now experience the American dream, and I know it can’t be achieved with a socialist government. That dream can only be realized when one recognizes that opportunities exist in this great nation, but it takes hard work, sacrifice, determination, and the willingness to overcome sometimes insurmountable obstacles.
I’m running for office because I want to serve my community and this nation that has blessed my family and me. I’m running because I have the background, the skills, and the determination to help people.
My priorities have and will continue to be to listen to people, seek to understand, and help fashion policy that will allow more people to live the life for which they dream.
What do you believe is the role of the General Assembly in addressing economic issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic?
My role in economic recovery is exactly what I have performed. From the first day of the unconstitutional shutdown, I was in contact with businesses and workers who were impacted, and I remain in close contact with them today.
Through my chairmanship of the Senate Commerce Committee, I motivated the governor’s failed administration to more quickly process unemployment claims. My office continues to help frustrated applicants cut through red tape so they can get benefits we promised them.
I helped design and fund multiple state grants and loans to assist businesses in getting back on their feet. I wrote and passed the Buncombe County Jobs Recovery Act. I helped pass eight different bills to help struggling business recover, and I sympathized with those businesses when the Governor rejected them every one.
As a member of the N.C. Travel and Tourism Board I helped develop and fund a plan for this devastated industry to recover. As Chairman of the Joint Oversight Committee for Unemployment Insurance, I helped boost benefits for those who have not been able yet to return to work.
What is your position on expanding Medicaid in North Carolina? Has the pandemic given you any new perspectives?
I remain opposed. Medicaid expansion is a one-size-fits-all program that the left continues to over-politicize and inaccurately portray as the silver bullet to fix the problems of Obamacare. As a form of socialized medicine, it will actually have the opposite effect. It does not fit the needs of North Carolina’s citizens.
As far as how it fits with the pandemic, what the political operatives aren’t admitting is that the recently enacted Cares Act already provides for testing and treatment for those affected by COVID-19. We are caring for our citizens through that program; we don’t need Medicaid expansion to do so.
Do you support increasing funding to public schools to help offset the added expenses caused by the pandemic?
Yes. And I am proud to have done that with each of the three Coronavirus Relief Acts recently enacted. Also, I was excited to support offering a $335 credit for every family in North Carolina with dependants to help them cope with the surprise expenses they have incurred to educate their children at home.
How do you plan to make yourself available to constituents if re-elected?
The mantra of my office is “First in Constituent Services.” This mantra defines my vision and expectation of myself and my staff to prioritize our service to our constituency. We go to great lengths to help anyone who is having difficulty with a state agency.
Additionally, it has been my practice since day one of serving in the Senate to meet with anyone living in my district that requests to do so. I also established the website NC48.com for the sole purpose of helping serve and inform the people of District 48.
This site is paid for by my campaign, but I do not use it for campaigning. It is strictly for serving the people of my district.
What are your views on reaching across the aisle to make progress on issues that affect the residents of North Carolina?
While there are a few topics on which I can never agree, I have always been willing to listen to the ideas and opinions of those with which I disagree. In doing this, sometimes I have been able to find a point of commonality from which I was able to build some level of consensus.
As chairman of five committees, I often invite the opinion of those on the aisle opposite of me. For example, when I was appointed chairman of the Joint Oversight Committee for Economic Development and Global Engagement, before even the first meeting, I called every member on both sides of the aisle to ask for their vision of work to be done in that committee.
As an appropriation chairman, the budget I developed was written with the support of legislators on both sides of the aisle. Unfortunately, after the governor vetoed that budget, they would not stand behind their original vote. That behavior exuded politics, not acting in the best interest of one’s constituency.
My allegiance will be to the people I represent, not to any person of power.
Any additional thoughts?
It has been an honor for me to serve District 48 in the N.C. Senate. I humbly ask for your vote once again. To learn more about me, please visit ChuckEdwardsNC.com. There you can also find links where you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.