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Cornelius News

District 98: It’s Bradford vs. Campbell

Incumbent John Bradford and challenger Jane Campbell are running for NC House District #98

Incumbent John Bradford and challenger Jane Campbell are running for NC House District #98

By Donald White. The General Assembly has already resolved many complex and contentious issues facing North Carolina, and barring a major shift in power to Democrats after November’s election, recently passed measures such as tax cuts and House Bill 2 will likely remain on the books.

The latter issue has turned House District 98’s contest into an actual race. Republican incumbent state Rep. John Bradford — who holds the seat vacated by Thom Tillis when he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014 — initially looked likely to run unopposed, as no Democrat had filed to challenge him by the deadline.

Enter retired U.S. Navy Capt. Jane Campbell, a Davidson College graduate, who was spurred to run by her opposition to HB2 — and by Bradford’s sponsorship of the bill. Because the filing deadline had passed by the time HB2 became law, Campbell had to collect signatures to get on the ballot, where she will appear as an unaffiliated candidate.

The economy looms large in the race. Media reports citing figures from tourism and business groups say HB2 has cost the state 1,750 jobs and more than $77 million in investments and visitor spending. But despite those losses, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, points to recent GDP figures in promoting what he calls a “Carolina Comeback.” He touts North Carolina’s economy as the fastest-growing in the country, a claim that fact-checking website Politifact has rated as “True.”

Despite the legislature’s flurry of activity since the GOP regained control in 2010, the fate of many important issues is still in the balance, and the Bradford-Campbell race could determine whether the GOP keeps its veto-proof supermajority.

Both candidates agreed to answer questions on some of these issues for Cornelius Today’s September and October editions.

John Bradford

Do you support state funding for family and medical leave?

NC Rep. John Bradford


The state of North Carolina is one of our largest employers. I support a family medical leave policy that is consistent with meeting the demands of the employee’s job and the state’s financial capabilities to fund such a policy. I own a company that is located right here in District 98. As a local job creator my company employs over 40 extremely talented and loyal employees. I understand first-hand that a business needs to offer a competitive and comprehensive benefits package that helps attract and retain talented employees. In fact, my company’s benefits package has led to building an incredible team that runs the day-to-day operations which allows me to focus on the needs of my community and constituents.

What is your position on offshore drilling?

As a former Environmental Engineer I have always been environmentally conscientious and have supported innovation in the energy industry. I am supportive of finding clean and safe energy options for domestic production of renewable energy, natural gas, and oil which might include offshore drilling and offshore windmills. We need continued innovation in non-petroleum-based energy sources. In my first term as a Representative I have consistently supported renewable energy sources such as solar energy. It’s imperative we put America on a sustainable track of energy independence to ensure the security of all Americans today and for generations to come.

North Carolina is one of a handful of states with a contributory negligence law. What is your position?

A majority of states have adopted a comparable negligence approach instead of contributory negligence. This means that each party’s negligence for the claim is carefully considered and then weighed when determining the actual damages. I support this kind of policy change in North Carolina. We should also strengthen penalties for anyone who commits fraud by making false claims of negligence against a business which ultimately places an unfair financial and legal burden on that specific business.

Jane Campbell

What is your position on state funding for family and medical leave?



When parents are able to spend time with their children, our communities are better off. I believe that our legislature should review the outcomes of the few states that have expanded upon the federal guidelines, and determine the potential beneficial effects for the workers of North Carolina. If there are merits to expansion, I believe that bipartisan discourse in the legislature will be required. Breaking the current supermajority will go a long way to such bipartisan discussions.

What is your position on offshore drilling?

After seeing the disastrous effects of the Duke Energy coal ash spills and the abysmal attempts by our Republican-led legislature to clean them up by lifting environmental restrictions, I am concerned about offshore drilling. As a retired Navy officer – “offshore” to me means in an “often-fragile, complex maritime environment.” While we need to create jobs in our state, we should be investing in clean energy sources that provide jobs and are safe for the environment.

North Carolina is one of a handful of states with a contributory negligence law. What is your position?

North Carolina is only one of a few states that has not yet removed contributory negligence from its books. Essentially contributory negligence means that if the defense can prove that you are 1% responsible for the incident, you cannot claim a single penny in damages or compensation. This is dangerous considering this law applies to multiple aspects of our life such as vehicle crash and collision cases, workplace injury, and malpractice. I believe that this law should be revised to protect the citizens of North Carolina.  We must protect our state’s workforce and ensure that the reality of an accident or incident determines a judge’s ruling instead of potentially letting an employee suffer and lose just compensation over an outdated technicality.