What is Fern's position on:
Abortion I'm pro-life, as shown by my record in the legislature. I'm particularly interested in the passage of a Woman's Right to Know Bill. Those who support abortion claim to be pro-choice, but when they want to deny women information concerning the dangers of abortion, it seems that they're pushing abortion rather than choice.
Charter schools I consider charter schools the kind of public schools people used to support so strongly. Schools controlled by the parents and teachers who know the children rather than by a remote school board with competing interests, or by Raleigh, or by Washington, are more likely to be accountable and successful. I'm happy to have helped pass the legislation that made charters possible and I believe we need to lift the cap.
Death Penalty--I support the death penalty, but only in those cases for which the death penalty is authorized in which guilt is established beyond any shadow of doubt. I do not support a two year moratorium, because I see no point in delaying any needed changes for two years or in postponing an execution in which there is no doubt of guilt for an arbitrary period. I do, however, believe the governor in reviewing death penalty appeals should err on the side of caution since it is clear that there have been cases in which mistakes were made.
Home schooling - I support the right of parents to choose the educational setting that is best for meeting the unique needs of each child. While I have worked hard to improve our public schools, since most children attend those schools, I realize that they do not meet the needs of all children. My experience with home school families has been very, very positive and I hold those who are willing to undertake the responsibility of educating their own children in high regard. I recognize that not only are they bearing the full cost of educating their children and sparing other taxpayers from shouldering part of that burden, they are still providing tax support to educate the children of others.
Homosexual rights Love the sinner but hate the sin seems appropriate. Unfortunately, some believe sin is old fashioned and want everyone to condone a lifestyle that history shows is destructive. After what happened in the Catholic Church, it amazes me that anyone can keep a straight face when suggesting that the Boy Scouts should accept homosexual scoutmasters and parents should ignore homosexual recruitment. NAMBLA has made their interest in child abuse quite evident. If the press were not so supportive of gay rights, more people would recognize the hidden agenda.
Incentives It is appropriate for government to provide infrastructure good roads, good schools, good government. It is not appropriate for government to provide preferential treatment to any business or industry. I voted against the December incentives giveaway. Those who voted for it said it was about jobs, but even the Raleigh News & Observer made the connection between political contributions and those incentives that is obvious to anyone who looks into the facts. NC taxes should not be used to buy political contributions.
Lottery--I oppose a lottery. As a CPA, I don't just look at one side of an equation. A lottery would cost the state more than it would take in, and I don't mean because it teaches youth to look to luck rather than relying on work and study. I know the public has been told that the lottery will provide new funds for education, but the people who expect to make money running the game have been focusing attention on the amount a lottery brings in without talking about the cost. Money spent on a lottery is not available to be spent on necessities or other entertainment items, so the taxes that would have been realized had the money remained in the community are lost. Every sheriff in the state, Democrat and Republican, signed a letter asking the state to ban video poker because no matter how high we set a tax on the machines, the cost would be greater than the amount collected. The sheriffs talked about the fact that they go on the burglary calls, the eviction notices, the domestic violence cases, and they see the true cost of gambling. As for the false idea that a lottery will help education, educational leaders ranging from Mike Ward, Superintendent of Public Instruction, to Phil Kirk, former Chairman of the State Board of Education and currently head of NCCBI, have opposed the lottery because they know that educational funding suffers when there is a lottery because legislators in future years use that as an excuse for lower budgets. I also oppose a referendum on a lottery, not because I oppose the lottery but because a referendum is unconstitutional in North Carolina. There has been talk of amending our constitution to permit referendum, initiative and recall (and I particularly like the idea of recall), but thus far there has been no consensus on amending the constitution to permit any of those options.
Public schools most of my efforts in the legislature have been devoted to improving our public schools. My parents and many of my relatives were public school teachers and I'm a strong believer in the importance of education for all. I volunteer as the state director of the National Right to Read Foundation. I led the successful fight to end portfolios because they were running off good teachers. As co-chair of the House education committee, I co-sponsored, helped write and helped pass the Excellent Schools Act. I sponsored the bill that stopped the state from taxing public schools on their purchases, and I helped get the law passed that put phonics back in the classrooms. I helped pass alternative certification legislation that the Charlotte Christian News called the most important educational development of 1998.
Same-Sex Marriage North Carolina already bans same-sex marriage, and I was one of the co-sponsors of the House version of that bill. I've signed the defense of marriage pledge, as have all of the Republican gubernatorial candidates. I've also signed the request that the Senate be permitted to vote on the Defense of Marriage amendment to the NC Constitution. The government's attack on traditional families is already reflected in rising crime rates. Anyone who cares about the future should seek to structure a society that provides the best environment for raising children, and that is the traditional two parent family.
Second amendment I'm a strong supporter of the right of honest citizens to bear arms and helped pass North Carolina's concealed carry law. People have a right to defend themselves from those who wish to harm them. Furthermore, I enjoy reading history. Hitler supported gun control. The people who drafted the bill of rights had just fought their own government, and an armed citizenry was viewed as an important check on tyrannical leaders.
State employees They've been mistreated for years, but since the organization that claims to represent them seems more supportive of the Democrat party than the employees, that isn't too surprising. I've tried to stop the raid on their pension fund, and I'm the one who blew the whistle on the fact the Democrat leaders failed to make provision for paying retiree health care, but until the employees are willing to replace those who have mistreated them, my ability to help them is limited. I filed a bill to provide adequate pension disclosures and it was never heard. I filed another that called for taking the Golden Leaf funds and using them as a down payment on what is owed for retiree health care. It wasn't heard. When I offered an amendment to the budget that included both changes, the Democrats voted to table it rather than to permit debate and a vote on the amendment.
Teachers Like state employees, they've been ignored because the organization that claimed to represent them functioned more like a branch of the Democrat party than a teacher's association. I've publicly called NCAE the North Carolinians Against Education. When I ran in 2000, my opponent's last minute attack ad was a misleading letter on NCAE letterhead signed by the President of NCAE. (Fortunately, I anticipated the dishonesty and ran my thank you note from Jim Hunt for passing the Excellent Schools Act in the same papers.) When I tried to end the portfolio fiasco, NCAE told their members they were fighting portfolios, but it seemed they were fighting to keep them rather than to end them. When I held the press conference that persuaded the State Board to end portfolios, I invited all three teacher groups to come if they opposed portfolios. CTA and PENC came and helped. NCAE was, as expected, missing that day.