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Davidson News

Jane Campbell takes on John Bradford for seat in NC House


Jane Campbell, 51, spent her career in the Navy, where she completed a tour on an aircraft carrier, an assignment in Pearl Harbor, a tour on the staff of the National Security Council at the White House during President George H. Bush’s administration, a tour in Kabul, and two tours in the Pentagon.

She has thrown her hat in the ring and will run against John Bradford for the seat in the NC House of Representatives held by former Cornelius residents Thom Tillis and John Rhodes. (To read an interview with Bradford, click here: http://corneliustoday.com/rep-bradford-open-to-exploring-notion-of-lkn-county ) Campbell will run in November as an independent, having gotten considerably more than enough signatures on a petition as required by the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections.

She is a Democrat and expects to receive support from the local Democratic Party.

“I spent half of my life serving our nation in uniform, retiring to North Carolina where my Mom was born and raised and where I went to college. I believe that running for the N.C. House will give me the opportunity to continue to serve – this time serving the citizens of the 98th District as their public servant in Raleigh,” Campbell, a Davidson resident, said.

She grew up literally around the globe—Louisiana, Germany, Colorado, South Korea, Maryland, Florida—in an Army family. Her father was a master parachutist and a Green Beret medical aidesman. Her mother, who was born and raised in Kannapolis, was a stay-at-home mom who raised three children and became church financial secretary when they were grown.

Campbell, a 1987 Davidson College graduate, went on to get a master’s degree in National Strategic Studies from the National War College. Indeed, Campbell says her Naval career is good preparation for working in the NC House.

She said legislators in Raleigh must approach important matters in a bi-partisan fashion. “Reasonable people from both sides of the political aisle must be given the time and the opportunity to work together. The current legislative process does not seem to offer such opportunities, and the people of North Carolina deserve better,” she said.

Cornelius Today asked Campbell a wide range of questions:

HB2 backers say the Charlotte ordinance went too far, unnecessarily. What do you think?

Campbell: The Charlotte ordinance was discussed over a period of years. It was originally voted down by the Charlotte City Council in March 2015. In November 2015, the citizens of Charlotte elected a new mayor and new members of the city council—all of whom let their constituents know where they stood on this issue during their campaigns. In February 2016, those new members of the City Council and the new mayor voted for expanding Charlotte’s non-discrimination policy.

Eight days before Charlotte’s policy would have gone into effect, the Republican leadership called a special session of the NCGA. They passed HB2 and made it law in less than 12 hours. At the very minimum, the legislature could have considered the matter over a period of days vs. hours.  I think it is worth noting that John Bradford responded to your question on HB2 by saying, ‘Compromise is always possible as long as reasonable people work together.’ Sure seems like the 12-hour window he and others used to rush through HB2 didn’t afford much time to ‘work together’ at all.

Last, but certainly not least, none of the other pieces of HB2 had anything to do with the Charlotte ordinance. Minimum wages didn’t have anything to do with the Charlotte ordinance. Workers’ rights to sue in state courts didn’t have anything to do with the Charlotte ordinance. The legislature stripped rights from every city, town and municipality in North Carolina. This hardly seems to be focused on the Charlotte ordinance. I believe it is very clear who went too far with HB2.

Besides HB2, what’s Job 1, 2 and 3?

Campbell: Education—I believe that every child in North Carolina deserves a world-class education.

Creating jobs and growing the economy, which includes understanding all the implications of legislative decisions.

Regional infrastructure—the I-77 toll lanes situation is one of a number of significant infrastructure issues that must be addressed in a well-researched & deliberative process.

Q. How about HB 972?

Campbell: I believe that one of the reasons that imagery from body-worn and dashboard cameras is important is because it can provide context to the often-complicated circumstances surrounding events that we often see via a bystander’s cell phone video. I think increased access to such videos will build on the important confidence we have in our law enforcement officers and in the law enforcement community.

Q. Are there any other reasons why you are running?

Campbell: I believe in our country and in the great state of North Carolina. I believe in the democratic process, and an inherent part of our democracy is having more than one name on the ballot. Without competition on the ballot, we don’t have an opportunity to hold our elected officials accountable. I also believe that I am in a unique position as a retired military officer to not have competing financial interests as I take on my candidacy.

Q. Would you try to cancel the Cintra contract?

Campbell: Yes. Can you imagine living with a contract that had been put in place when I was a 2-year-old? The U.S. and North Carolina were a very different place in 1967, and I doubt we could have predicted things that are happening in 2016. Why should we think that we can make 50-year decisions that will still be in effect in 2066?

The decision is even more dramatic way to think about it is to realize that Lake Norman just turned 50 in 2013. Fifty years ago, my relatives were some of the first folks who leased a lot on the lake for $10 a month.

Lastly, I hope we all have the opportunity to have John Bradford explain his votes as a Cornelius Town Commissioner in support of the project, only to change his mind and now be against it.

Q. How much do you have in your campaign warchest/what is your goal?

Campbell: As our second quarter filing reports highlight, we raised more than $13,000. At the present time, all of our donations have come from individuals. In 2014, the two candidates for this office collectively raised more than $500,000, several experts have suggested that we can expect this year to be even more expensive.

Q. How will you raise money for your campaign?

Campbell: We are seeking individual donations, and folks can donate on our web site: www.janecampbellfornchouse.com Currently, all of our donations have been from individuals. I also believe that some Political Action Committees will potentially donate to our campaign.

Q. Will you have to raise more as an unaffiliated?

Campbell: I don’t think my status as an unaffiliated candidate will have an impact on the cost of the campaign.

Q. How do you feel about the upcoming elections (on a state level) in light of what’s happening in the GOP?

Campbell: I believe that the recent legislative actions by the NCGA have shown the citizens of North Carolina how important local and state races are – even in a presidential election year.

  • The print version of this story incorrectly stated Campbell was in both the Navy and the Air Force. Her career was entirely in the Navy.