[media-credit name=”Charles Malone” align=”alignright” width=”107″][/media-credit]
Charles Malone — U.S. House District 13
Political Party: Democrat
Occupation: Equal Employment Opportunity Officer with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Campaign website: malone4congress.com
The economy is at the top of voters’ minds in this year’s election. What do you think elected officials can do to address it?
I think that we need to take an approach that involves initiatives for the private sector as well as the public sector. We need to prime the pump and invest in our teachers, firefighters and law enforcement. Plus, invest in our infrastructure so that we can repair roads and bridges and ports. And expand our broadband capabilities in rural areas. Just do all those things to create jobs that will stay here and help people from all walks of life.
What do you think are specific things the federal government can do to help North Carolina recover from the recession?
The federal government can do all it can to make sure its investments are strong and its commitments in North Carolina are strong. I’m not sure of we’re going to get any more measures like we had in the stimulus package that we saw early on, which I thought was effective. I believe that it didn’t go far enough, perhaps. I believe that the federal government could certainly give relief on taxes for business and small business to open up investment opportunities. It can aid in training and education and, again, in public projects to help the economy. That would be helpful to us. I’m just not sure what the federal government will do a second time, but at least it could not hurt us by inflicting too many taxes.
I know we had what they call the economic cliff coming up and I certainly hope and I wish we could have tax relief for those making $250,000 and less certainly should get full tax relief and require those above that to pay a bit more. Tax equity would also really come into play if they would pay their fair share. And we could stop some of the loopholes involved in outsourcing — that would help us. It shouldn’t fall on the backs of the working class, middle class, to take the full brunt of trying to balance the budget.
Why should your constituents elect you?
I was born and have been in North Carolina my whole life. I have a deep understanding and of and appreciation for North Carolina. I believe my background, having worked in tobacco and cotton and been in the fields myself, I worked in the cotton mill. I’m a Vietnam veteran and a former small business manager. I have had a depth of life experiences that have prepared me to understand what people are going through when they’re just trying to make ends meet. I’m not far removed from that myself and I know that the changing times in North Carolina, where we’ve seen furniture and apparel and tobacco and crops and businesses that have sort of been our bedrock for generations suddenly swept away. I am very understanding of our tradition as a progressive state where we incorporate community colleges, training and education to help people move forward and retool for the times ahead.
I also believe in the traditions of our state where we work together to be part of a new South. It is not just an extreme right-wing state. It’s a state with many good initiatives to help people up and also understand the civil rights movement and how it has freed all of us over the last 50 years. We need to also work for social justice and applaud our diversity. That is a virtue for our society and throughout the country.
A big issue this year in the election is health care. What changes do you think (if any) should be made to Medicare to make the program more solvent? Now that the Supreme Court has found the Affordable Care Act to be constitutional, what should be Congress’ next steps?
I think that the Affordable Care Act being declared constitutional — I’m glad to see that and feel like health care is certainly a right more than a privilege. So I would hope to now see us set up a health system in a region in North Carolina and set this up in a fair way and a cooperative way to include as many people as we can. We need to certainly implement all the cost savings in terms of how health care is administered and also, of course, expanding the coverage in cooperation with private insurance companies because that’s what we have to do.
I think we can save Medicare through savings, preserve Medicare through internal savings. The biggest misconception is that $750 billion that Republicans claim that we’re stripping out of Medicare is actually projected cost savings through better internal methods of pricing and quota system. I do not believe we need to sacrifice benefits or eligibility and the worst thing we can do is to offer vouchers or privatize this program. It should be kept public.