Abortion is a complicated issue. The reason for this is because you are dealing with competing rights. When you have two citizens sharing one body, you have to find a way to balance those competing rights in a delicate and humanitarian way.
Democrats wish to eliminate any rights of a fetus, and only fully favor the rights of the woman. Republicans wish to eliminate the rights of the woman, giving exclusive rights to the fetus alone.
Neither of these options are reasonable or recognize that both citizens deserve rights and equal treatment.
So, how does one combat this issue? With fair legislation that balances the rights of each individual involved.
- Women have full rights to terminate a pregnancy up until the 16th week without restrictions. 99% of all abortions take place by this time currently.
- After 16 weeks, protective measures go into place to protect the rights of both the woman and the fetus.
- In cases of rape or incest, a woman will have the right to terminate up until the date of fetal viability outside the womb (currently 24 weeks; likely earlier in future with improved technology).
- Women will also have the right to terminate due to fetal abnormalities that can cause lifelong medical intervention up until the 24th week.
- 3rd Trimester abortions will be outlawed with the exceptions of danger to the life of the mother, stillbirth, and if the baby is unlikely to survive after birth due to malformations.
A fair system that takes into account the competing rights of each person inhabiting a single body is something that needs to be taken seriously and balanced accordingly.
Republicans and Democrats want to strip away the rights of one or the other. I don’t believe in stripping away the rights of a single soul in favor of another. I stand for the right to live and thrive for both parties involved in a pregnancy.
Policing & Public Safety
A Governor of the State of North Carolina has the right to appoint the Secretary of Public Safety, the position in charge of every policy and funding to the police departments, both Local & State. As Governor, I will appoint a qualified individual who will support and implement these policy changes throughout the police departments in the State of North Carolina.
- Police departments will stop traffic stops that directly do not endanger the public safety. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Broken Head/Taillights
- “Smell of drugs”
- Under 12 mph speeding infractions
- Stop sign/red light infractions that did not lead directly to an accident.
- Parking citations (Handicap zones are exceptions)
- Complete cessation of “speed traps”
- Failure to Yield
- Improperly passing, turning, or backing up
- The points system against a person’s driver’s license will be abolished. This policy is intended for punitive reasons, but in reality only benefits the insurance companies financially at the expense of the people.
- Lesser financial penalties based on income for traffic infractions/sliding scale.
- Drug possession crimes will no longer be pursued or be arrestable offenses.
- Intent to Sell drug crimes must be proven by the officers who investigate the activity, through a direct sale recorded on body camera or other surveillance by the Police Officers prior to arrest. Amount of drugs confiscated will no longer qualify as the determining factor in this charge.
- Civil Forfeiture will be abolished. This creates an undue burden on a Defendant’s right to Due Process and an ability to mount a proper defense.
- Qualified Immunity will be abolished. The people have the Constitutional Right to sue when their rights are violated.
- The Defense of Civil lawsuits and Criminal charges against police officers will be paid for by the Police Union Pension and Retirement Fund, not taxpayer dollars.
- Military equipment will be sold to the National Guard of North Carolina or the Federal Military Branches throughout the State of North Carolina. Officers may only carry a taser and a baton while traffic patrolling and may use registered pistols while investigating violent and property crimes or arriving to serve warrants on offenders with physically violent histories.
- Police will go through a re-training program that will focus on how the life of each individual citizen is equal to the life of a police officer. They will shoot only when directly shot at, and only when other options are taken from them. Hand to hand combat, intense disarming training, and other methods of non-lethal violence will be heavily focused on. No weapon will be discharged unless all other methods have been used first.
- If a police officer causes the death of a citizen in the line of duty, they will be immediately suspended without pay. They will be investigated by the Department of Public Safety to determine if evidence exists to hand over to a District Attorney for prosecution. If the officer is determined during the course of the investigation by the Department of Public Safety to have violated a citizen’s Constitutional Rights or acted outside the law, they will be terminated. Those cleared through the investigation will be allowed to return to work at full pay.
- No-Knock Warrants will be abolished.
- Full transparency with all body-worn cameras. These videos will be uploaded in full at the end of each shift, and available for access to any government official, media outlet, and affected individual that files an FOIA request to the Department in question.
- Deliberately turning off a body-worn camera will immediately result in the firing of that officer.
- Use of force restraint will no longer be allowed above the age of 70 and under the age of 15 by law enforcement. This will also apply to physically disabled individuals who are assisted with canes, wheelchairs, slings, or similar orthopedic devices for mobilization. Verbal tactics must be used for the safety of those citizens.
- Police Departments will hire Licensed Clinical Social Workers, at least 3-5 per Department (higher numbers will be required for large departments that cover larger populations), that will respond with the officers to scenes involving the mentally ill, intellectually disabled, suicide risks, and other mental health related calls. These LCSWs will take charge of each of these scenes.
- All current Police Officers that have not yet achieved a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice will enroll in college to achieve that Degree. This will be funded by the State. No new hires will be admitted without a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. Police training programs alone are not enough to understand the complexity of the Laws set out to protect the Citizens of North Carolina.
- Police Officers and Detectives will focus on Violent Crimes against the Public and Property Crimes. Non-violent offenses or those offenses not directly related to property damage or theft will not be pursued by Law Enforcement, unless an investigation has already been opened by the District Attorney’s office.
A Governor can decriminalize marijuana in their state on his own without the involvement of Congress.
I will issue an Executive Order directing State Law Enforcement agencies to not enforce marijuana laws, prioritizing violent and property crimes above marijuana offenses.
I will also work with the State Legislature to pass laws that decriminalize or legalize marijuana beginning on my very first day in office.
I will also be issuing official pardons for anyone who is currently incarcerated for Possession charges, along with the steps listed to ensure drug crimes are not the focus of law enforcement going forward.
Ultimately, the question of whether or not marijuana is legal in a particular state is a matter of federal law. However, State Governors can play a role in shaping how marijuana is regulated and enforced within their states. I intend to do exactly that for the people of the State of North Carolina.
Electoral Reform—Instant Runoff Voting
Municipal and county elections in North Carolina are adjudicated using the “non-partisan plurality” rule, which basically means that whoever gets the most votes wins. Sounds good in theory, but in practice, we often end up with “winners” who get less than a majority of the vote. In a four-way race for a town council seat, for example, if the vote were to split 26%-25%-25%-24%, we would end up with a town councilor who 74% of the electorate voted against! This is fundamentally undemocratic!
We could require candidates to garner a majority—or, say, finishing first with at least 40% of the vote—to be declared the winner, but that would likely necessitate many more runoff elections, which are expensive to conduct and typically have low turnout…so if a runoff winner got 40% of the vote in an election with, say, 30% turnout, then we have someone elected whom 88% of all voters did not vote for. Not an improvement!
Here’s a better idea: let’s allow municipalities and counties the option of utilizing the “instant runoff” rule—a/k/a ranked-choice voting. Using this system, you rank some or all of the candidates for each office in order of preference. If no candidate gets a majority of votes, the last-place candidate is eliminated and the votes for that person are redistributed to each voter’s second choice candidate.
The advantages of “instant runoff” are:
- Every winner is elected by a majority of all voters
- No need to hold a costly and noisome runoff election
- Even if your first-choice candidate is eliminated, you still have the opportunity to affect the outcome with your second-choice vote
- Candidates have an incentive to broaden their message in pursuit of 2nd- and 3rd-place votes; the tactic of insulting not only other candidates but also their supporters will not work as well as it does under the current system
If elected, I will work with the afford counties and municipalities the option to conduct their elections utilizing the “instant runoff” rule.
Electoral Reform—Independent Voters
In October of 1765, the Stamp Act Congress met in New York. This group of American colonists then declared what would become a fundamental part of the formation of what is now known as the United States of America: No Taxation Without Representation.
It was unacceptable to these Colonists that the English Monarchy had any right whatsoever to tax them when not a single American Colonist was represented in their government. The argument being that to have the right to tax the citizens of the country, that population must be represented within the government. This is one of the core principles upon which America was founded.
North Carolina violates this core principle in an egregious manner when it comes to our elections.
Electoral matters are governed by the North Carolina Board of Elections and in each county, a local Board of Elections, each with five members. In total, that is 505 people who make important decisions about elections including the calendar for early voting and voting locations for precincts, approving voting machines, collecting and reviewing campaign finance reports, determining what types of IDs can be used to vote, resolving voting and candidate eligibility issues, and certifying elections.
Currently, 36% of all voters in this state are registered as independent (officially, ‘“unaffiliated”). This number exceeds the percentage of either Democratic (33%) or Republican (30%) registered voters. Obviously, if we respected the principle of No Taxation Without Representation, approximately 1/3 of all members of the various Boards of Elections would be registered independents…but instead, all 408 members of the boards of elections in North Carolina are registered Democrats or registered Republicans. And this is not just coincidence: independents—and voters registered with any party other than the two largest—are legally banned from being appointed to any of the 101 boards of elections in NC!
A separate but related issue is that current North Carolina law effectively prevents independent voters from running in any election where each candidate’s party is listed on the ballot. For example, as a Libertarian, to run for governor all I have to do is pay my filing fee to the North Carolina State Board of Elections, and I am automatically on the ballot—either for the general election in November 2024, or, if anyone else also files to run as a Libertarian, for the primary election in March 2024. But if you are registered independent and want to run, the NCSBE won’t take your check for the filing fee…unless you’ve already submitted petitions with thousands of signatures from voters approving putting your name on the ballot.
All North Carolina voters deserve to be represented equally and fairly in our government. If elected, I will work with the North Carolina General Assembly on legislation that will provide a way to include independent voters on each Board of Elections and end discriminatory treatment of registered independent candidates.