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Cornelius News

Candidate forum highlights differences of opinion

Paul Cameron moderated the forum, which included CMS candidates

Oct. 14. By Dave Vieser. A candidate forum moderated by retired TV newsman Paul Cameron focused on NC House District 98, Mecklenburg County District 1 and Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) District 1, with candidates explaining why they should be elected.

NC House 98

The contest between incumbent John Bradford and challenger Christy Clark is one of the closest House races statewide. Bradford began his comments by drawing upon his business experience. “Unlike many of my colleagues in state government, I’m not a lawyer. My background is business, as I started firms from the ground up,” he said. Clark noted that she also had a background in business, having helped her husband form a law firm based in Cornelius.

John Bradford, Christy Clark

Not surprisingly the question which created the most interest was the candidates’ position on abortion. Bradford says he supports the current law in North Carolina, which prohibits abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Clark went further. “Government should never come between a woman and her doctor.”

Both candidates believe that Medicaid expansion is going to be approved but Bradford also cautioned that the state must be sure to be saving money for a rainy day when they expand Medicaid. In closing remarks, Bradford said inflation is the most serious problem facing residents while Clark said she is running to fight for democracy and protect women..

District One County Commission

Candidate Ross Monks

The comments of both incumbent Elaine Powell, a Democrat, and

Incumbent Elaine Powell

newcomer/challenger Ross Monks, a Republican, focused on county funding and CMS. “When I first joined the county board I was in favor of revenue-neutral budgets, but when I saw the needs of the county, I realized that would be difficult to do,“

Powell said. Ross said if elected he would be absolutely committed to the revenue neutral approach. He says CMS is in a state of emergency, while Powell took time to praise the teachers and CMS staff for the work they are doing at a difficult time.

CMS District One

The five candidates sounded familiar themes in their forum comments:

—Incumbent Rhonda Cheek outlined her efforts to get four schools from the north section of the county on the next CMS Bond Issue.

—Melissa Easley, a 14 year school teacher, stressed how important it would be to have the perception of a teacher on the board.

—Hamani R. Fisher said that his experience in both Atlanta and New York would be very useful on the CMS Board.

—Ro Lawsin outlined his experience as a useful element and, in a light moment, reminded voters that his name “comes right before soil and conservation on the ballot!”

—Bill Fountain urged that more discipline be applied to troublemakers in the school system and took exception to some of the reading books being used in the school.

—Several candidates stated that “accountability” is the top priority for the CMS Board and Cheek said early education is a very real need. “We have first time students coming into the schools who have never read a book. This has to change.”

Other races

The candidates for NC Senate 41 are incumbent Natasha Marcus, a Democrat, and Bonnie Leone, Republican.

Running for the at large County Commissioner seat are Democrats Pat Cotham, Arthur Griffin Jr and Leigh Altman along with Republican Tatyana Thulien.

Candidates for NC Senate District 41 and the at-large seat for the Mecklenburg County board were not featured.

“We could only get in three races in a two-hour period so we chose to focus on the three most competitive races,” said Bill Russell, CEO of the Lake Norman Chamber which hosted the event at Cornelius Town Hall.

Election Day is Tuesday Nov. 8. One Stop/Early Voting begins Thursday Oct. 20.