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Cornelius News

Bradford v. Clark: The rematch

John Bradford and Christy Clark

Oct. 6. Both NC House District 98 candidates fielded questions from Cornelius Today and Business Today. There are multiple contests this year, including NC Senate District 41, but this race is the most competitive.

Early voting runs from Thursday, Oct.15 to Saturday, Oct. 31. Election Day is Tues., Nov. 3.

Christy Clark, the incumbent, faces John R. Bradford who lost to Clark two years ago. Bradford is a Republican; Clark is a Democrat.

If local town commissioners in 98 support a possible split from CMS, would you support as well? Why or why not?

Bradford: I believe before making a final decision the cost impact on local tax payers needs to be addressed.  Significantly, CMS used taxpayer money to build the schools we have so if there was a split from CMS where would the students go to learn? Would new schools be built or could an agreement be reached to lease or purchase the existing ones from CMS? Local education revenue is based on city/town property so there must be a study to determine if local taxes would increase and, if so, by how much. If, in fact, a tax increase would be required to support the financial commitment needed to split from CMS then such a measure should be put to a vote of the people.  Finally, the State’s level of assistance would also have to be addressed.  Administrative salaries and teacher salaries are State-based budgetary issues and is not a unilateral decision by any singular Town Board of Commissioners.

Clark: A study was done regarding the feasibility of this issue in 2018. The town commissioners would need to gain support of the residents of the three towns before proceeding. Should a majority of residents desire a split from CMS, an additional study to determine the procedure to divide LEAs would be required at the NCGA. I would support such study. Following the study new legislation would need to passed. This would not be guaranteed. Great care would need to used to ensure student education is not impacted. The financial cost to residents would need to be accurately determined. Other considerations would be the impact on equality, impact on exceptional children, impact on other support services such as nurses, technology, and nutrition. Transparency to residents during every step would be required.

In some statewide surveys, Gov. Roy Cooper has received high marks for his handling of the COVID crisis. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Bradford: The president, the governor and Sen. Tillis have done a good job in helping to manage this crisis.  Many of the relief packages enacted by the legislature and executed by the governor are a direct result of federal legislation supported by the North Carolina delegation and signed by the president.  It has been a team effort and it needs to remain a team effort. Right here in District 98, I organized, hosted and recorded a “North Mecklenburg COVID-19 Briefing Call” for 4-consecutive months which included briefing calls multiple times a week. I had a briefing panel that included federal, state and local resources to make sure District 98 had a consistent way to know what was happening in real time. My briefing calls shared important information such as the governor’s executive orders and more.

Clark: Yes, I agree that Gov. Cooper has handled this crisis the best he could have during this unprecedented time. We’re opening our economy safely based on science and data using what we know about COVID. Our localities have received much needed PPE as it became available as well corporations located in North Carolina produced PPE to assist. Local labs and universities helped increase the number of tests available. Our COVID-19 numbers are dropping and that is in part thanks to Gov. Cooper’s steadfast and thoughtful leadership.

What’s your position on concealed carry in Cornelius Town Hall or other places of employment?

Bradford: I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and I support North Carolina’s concealed carried laws.  I believe the law gives flexibility to local government and private businesses to address any local concerns.  As long as their actions are consistent with state and federal law, then they are well within their rights to address this issue as they feel is most reflective of the community as a whole.

Clark: I do not support conceal carry in places of employment. A 2011, study in Preventive Medicine showed that individuals successfully defend themselves with a gun in less than 1 percent of crimes and carrying a firearm may actually increase a victim’s risk of firearm injury during the commission of a crime. The assertion that “gun-free zones” invite mass shootings has been thoroughly debunked. Since 1966, nearly 90 percent of all mass shootings resulting in six or more deaths have occurred wholly in or partly in locations where civilian guns were allowed or there was armed security or law enforcement present.

You have both served in Raleigh. How have you reached across the aisle? Please be specific.

Bradford: When I served in the NC House of Representatives, I was the co-chair of the Mecklenburg Delegation. The other co-chairperson was a Democrat and we worked together on important issues to Mecklenburg County. I voted on countless pieces of legislation that had bi-partisan support.  I was also the chairman of two committees where I made sure every committee member had a fair and equal opportunity to participate regardless of their party affiliation. I have demonstrated working across the aisle by voting against my own party’s recommendation on important issues to me such as supporting renewable energy, micro-breweries, arts and film credits and historic preservation credits.

Clark: The people of Huntersville, Cornelius, and Davidson sent me to Raleigh to fight for them not to play partisan politics. Forging relationships with Republican legislators was one of my top priorities during the 2019-2020 biennium. I have heard over and over from constituents that they are tired of the partisan bickering in Raleigh. I take that message to heart and know that putting aside partisan differences to make progress for North Carolina is what is best for our state.

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