Name: Jim Fulghum
Years in District: Since 1977, Raleigh resident entire life
Endorsements: Sen. Richard Stevens, Sen. Neal Hunt, Rep. Tom Murry, Rep. Nelson Dollar
Amendment 1: I will vote for it, but I would rather not have it on the ballot. It shouldn’t be necessary to have to put it in the Constitution.
What do you think is the central issue for this election?
It’s the economy about 85 percent. Most people are very fearful about where we’re headed both in the state and in the nation and I think the economy issue is not only personal budgets, but municipal, state and national budgets are really very much at the top of mind right now. There are so many people that have incredible pain in their personal lives because the economy is not going the way that it should be. People are out of work and getting foreclosed. It’s just a very painful time for Americans. So we should deal with that straight up. We shouldn’t demagogue it. We should not make it a war issue — a war on women, a war on children, a war on this and that. People need to calm down and get down to business. This is my background. I’m a neurosurgeon, but I’ve also been in the farming business for a long time raising poultry. I know how to do business. I know how to run a budget. We need to be serious about this and that’s my goal.
What do you think are the central issues facing your district?
All the people that live in my district live in an area that is growing very fast. Mass transit is going to be an issue for them at some point and how much we spend for that. Whether or not it’s the right place to spend money. The economic environment they live in in relation their government. NC State government employees are a big part of my district and I’ve met with the state employee’s association to make sure I had a good and proper conversation with them about what they want to do and where they want to head. All the things involved in economic health… The governments at municipal, county and state are also involved in the proper relationship that people have to the government and understanding how they want from them. Do they want the government to be so big that individual freedom and initiative is reduced. I don’t want to see that. I want to see individual freedom increase and people take more responsibility and participate in government.
Why do you think your constituents should elect you as opposed to any of your opponents?
I’m healthy and I’ve been in business for a long time in one sort or the other. In the medical field as well as the farming business. I’ve been a resident of this area most of my life—other than when I was in school and the military service. I think I know the people here and I think I can connect with them. I enjoy public policy. I think I have good relationships with a broad range of individuals. I have a lot of diverse interests. A lot of my good friends are on the liberal and conservative side of things. I have a lot of interests and I think I can learn and do and study and be a part of the problem-solving.
What do you think are the biggest accomplishments and the biggest failures of the North Carolina House of Representatives during the past two years?
I think the overall approach to budget has been difficult from the standpoint of predictability. They came in and had this huge stimulus money, comparatively huge, several hundred million dollars dropped into the budget for only a two-year budget period. And then we’ve got our predictable sources of income, non-withholding personal income as well as corporate income was very erratic and volatile. Writing budgets based on what you expect in revenue is very difficult for the legislators. So I give them credit for coming within a few percentage points of what the government recommended. And I thought that they did a good job of hearing out the working [people] and understand and get into some of the issues. And hold down the government to the point that we could actually pay the bills. So that’s the accomplishment.
The downside has been both sides. The partisan nature of politics is now forming people’s perception of government, their trust of government. I don’t like that on either side or any party that takes a part in that… Trust in government has been reduced to the lowest level in my memory and that is not healthy… I don’t believe that’s something we should just stand by and not say anything about. I plan to denounce that.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Cooking barbeque. I have a great time every year cooking about 300 or 400 pounds of barbeque down at my farm in Chatham County. We provide a great meal for the folks who want to come down there and have eastern North Carolina style barbeque. It is absolutely the best you’ll ever have.