[media-credit name="Marilyn Avila" align="alignright" width="150"][/media-credit]Marilyn Avila — NC State House District 40
Political Party: Republican
How long in district: Almost 30 years.
Occupation: Worked in the textile industry and later as an administrator at the John Locke Foundation.
Campaign website: http://www.marilynavila.com/
Obviously the economy is at the top of voter’s minds this year. What do you think elected officials can actually do to help it improve?
The only thing we can do locally is in the few areas that impact business and those are taxes and regulation. And of course only what North Carolina can control, our tax structure and regulations that we place on business. In addition to that we can strongly lobby our counter parts in Washington to get their act together to look at tax issues as well as regulations issues. That has created a tremendous amount of uncertainty with businesses, who, they want to know if five years from now pretty much what is my cost going to be of hiring somebody, whether it’s in the taxes I have to pay on them or the health care I have to pay for them or the taxes my business is going to have to pay. A lot of that unfortunately, as good an environment as we can create here in North Carolina, is controlled quite a bit by Washington as well.
Why do you think your constituents should elect you?
Because they can look at my record and see that my concerns that drive my votes are for the benefit of the citizens of North Carolina. I approach my job as analytically as I ever did in my chemical work. And that is when an issue comes up, there’s always two sides, sometimes there’s three … I want to know who's for it and why. I want to know who's against it and why. And then I do independent research, so that by the time I’ve evaluated what the change is going to be or the new program or whatever, the final deciding factor is, is it going to be the best decision for the citizens of North Carolina.
What do you think of the state’s new fracking law and how do you think it should be implemented?
I’m in favor of it. As a scientist, I know that the technology has improved greatly since some of the early days of just drilling in general for oil or gas or whatever the case might be. It’s an issue that definitely needs to be approached with caution and with great study. I think the committee that we put together that’s going to be looking at how we ask the people to come to the state of North Carolina to drill on our land, will be very mindful of our quality of the water supply, as well as quality of life here. I think it has been a subject that has been portrayed unfairly by a lot of people, very emotionally. And literally with a lot of lies as well, when you go in and do some serious investigation on some of the horrific claims that they’ve made and find that there is no basis in fact. That’s why I would really like for every individual not to listen to someone else’s opinion. Do your own research, look at what the other guy has to say.
In a recent Supreme Court ruling, the court gave states the option of expanding the Medicaid program to cover many low-income adults, and the federal government will be paying for the bulk of the expansion. What, if anything, do you think North Carolina should do about expanding Medicaid?
I think that’s something that we need to really, seriously evaluate, because you understand the promise of the government support is for three years. I’ve been on the appropriations subcommittee for health and human services and I have seen programs just this year that the government has put millions and millions of dollars into in the past and they’ve cut. My concern is that if we expand these services and get people in a situation that they depend on, and then the government pulls back, that means we’re either going to have to cut a lot of people loose and they won’t have the services that they’ve been accustomed to or we’re going to have to take on a tremendous financial burden, which will be at the cost of the other things government has to do like education and transportation.
So if it’s something the federal government is not willing to enter into for more than three years, then you think it’s perhaps something that North Carolina should not enter into to?
I don’t think so, because they are opening it up to everybody and I still have some issues with program eligibility. Are we making it to easy for people to become dependent and not establish a sense of responsibility. I don’t mind spending the money. And believe me after being on the HHS [Health and Human Services] committee after just this one year that I’ve been on there, I’ve seen people everyday that desperately need services from the state of North Carolina and those are the people that I want to make sure get the services.