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Cornelius News

Election 2020: Both Bradford and Clark have a track record of reaching across the aisle

John Bradford and Christy Clark

Sept. 15. The upcoming election contest between incumbent Christy Clark and John Bradford III in NC District 98 will be entirely different than in previous elections.

Clark pulled off a surprise victory two years ago when she defeated Bradford by a razor thin 1 percent margin.

Polls indicate the candidates may be neck and neck again this year.

John Bradford

What’s your position on mail-in voting and early voting?

North Carolina’s system should be the model for the rest of the country. Our absentee ballot system allows voters to vote by mail.  A voter receives his/her requested ballot once the voter’s information is confirmed and they simply complete the ballot and return it by mail. Our ballot system in North Carolina has stood the test of time. It also includes fraud protection measures such as ensuring an absentee ballot and in-person vote is not counted twice.

What are your thoughts on the Confederate Monument in Cornelius?

It’s a symbol of history to some, but it’s also a symbol of racial divide to others. I support the State of North Carolina establishing a Memorial and Monument Review Commission to be led by the Governor. The Commission’s purpose would be to provide reasonable oversight and management of all past and present memorials and monuments on public property. North Carolina needs a standard policy that will apply to all public memorials and monuments for consistency purposes and not just a select few.

What do you see as the most critical issue in North Carolina?

I think the most critical issue facing North Carolina is managing a safe recovery from the COVID-19 virus. We need a pathway that keeps everyone healthy while charting a reasonable course for economic recovery. If we ignore the economic impact, then we will be looking at State budget shortfalls that will have an adverse impact on funding for critical areas such as public education, health care and other essential services for North Carolinians.  We need a reasonable balance of the issues we are facing in order to achieve a strong recovery.

You are running on lowering taxes so that more money is returned to hard working individuals.  How do you define who the hard-working individuals are and would you equally lower taxes for all salary brackets?

When I served in Raleigh, I had a proven track record of voting to reduce personal income tax rates. I have always believed that hard-working individuals know much better how to manage their money than their government. To me, anyone who is a wage earner is a hard-working individual. I favor across-the-board tax rate cuts along with additional tax credits for those who are below middle-class income levels. When more money is returned to the pockets of hard-working individuals then they can decide, free of government interference, how and where to invest their money such as starting a new business or investing in themselves.

Bradford, 45, is the founder of Park Avenue Properties, as well as PetScreening.com. He and his wife Shea live in Cornelius with their children.

Christy Clark

What’s your position on mail-in voting and early voting?

The right to vote is sacred. No one should have to choose between their health and their right vote. Everyone should feel comfortable exercising their right vote in a safe and fair manner. Mail-in voting or absentee voting is a critical aspect of voting rights. I want to be clear—there is no excuse for any type of voter or election fraud. States are justified in creating systems to ensure the safety of voting. However, there is no evidence that mail-balloting results in voter fraud. Voting by mail can increase participation across all demographics, is cheaper and is safer. Early voting is important to access to the ballot box. It reduces long lines on election day so that our hardworking voters like shift workers, first responders and active duty military can make time to vote when it works best for their work and family schedules.

What are your thoughts on the Confederate Monument in Cornelius?

The Confederate Monument in Cornelius is a remnant of a by-gone era. I’ve driven past it many times without giving it a second thought, and that was wrong. When my Black friends and colleagues see monuments like this, they are hurt by their presence. Monuments of this type represent defenders of slavery and are harmful reminders of slavery to our Black community. Racism and a disregard for our Black neighbors have no place in our community. Maintaining the monument in its current location no longer represents the inclusive, welcoming and kind community that is District 98. In fact, our community gathered in support for relocation of the monument and for our Black community members to demonstrate that sentiment.

What do you see as the most critical issue in North Carolina?

There is a chronic underfunding of the long-term investments of infrastructure and education in North Carolina that are the critical components to lessening the urban-rural divide but also addressing upward economic mobility in our state. Targeted investments that reduce class sizes, increase the number of teacher assistants, expand early education, and improve teacher pay are much needed. A plan for funding of transportation and infrastructure is overdue. In the coming years, NCDOT will not have the necessary funds for our state’s needed transportation projects while at the same time revenue will drop due to a decline in motor fuels tax and the impact of COVID-19. Historic storms have damaged our infrastructure and caused significant spending. Investments need to be made to improve roads, railways, ports, water and sewer systems, energy resources and broadband availability. By addressing these issues, we will build our economy, increase jobs and support our communities.

You have advocated for keeping pressure on I-77 Mobility Partners, but there is no mention of holding NCDOT accountable. How will you work to have NCDOT complete the projects they put on hold?

I not only keep the pressure on I-77 Mobility partners but also on NCDOT. NCDOT had a critical failure of funding in 2019 in part due to the passage of the Map Act. This critical lack of funding seriously impacted our community not only in infrastructure but also in local jobs. I have had countless meetings with NCDOT about the toll lane debacle, especially safety issues, but also about funding for local transportation projects and the negative impact the delay has on our community. I have and will continue to question their scheduling as funding becomes available. I also voted for House Bill 77 DOT 2020-2021 FY Budget/Governance and Senate Bill 356 DOT Cash and Accountability. Among other aspects, these bills providing funding for NCDOT, hold NCDOT accountable regarding their of funding, require reporting to the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee and require the State Auditor to conduct audits.

Clark, 49, is a certified North Carolina Paralegal, and works with her husband Chris’ law firm. They live in Huntersville with their children.