NC House District 49 – Derek Kiszely

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What do you think about the ongoing discussions about turning the Dix property into a park and how would you help resolve the issue?
I think the money from the sale of the lease of the Dix Property being turned into a park should be contributed towards mental health issues. Mental health in particular is an issue that’s very near and dear to my heart. My mom actually has bipolar disorder and I think that North Carolina has failed to make mental health issues a priority and they could contribute the money from the sale of the lease towards mental health awareness in North Carolina. I think that that would do a lot of good.

How do you feel the relationship between local government and state government can be improved?
I definitely think there can be more discussions and I think that local level ordinances should have more power over the decisions they make, especially when it comes to environmental decisions. A lot of the time state and federal issues are determined kind of cart blanche, blanketing the entire region when the local officials are the experts on the area that they live in, and they should be given more autonomy to decide what they think is best for their region.

The General Assembly has followed the nation into big partisan divides. What do you think about the political situation in the legislature and what would be your approach to lawmakers with opposing views?
I think most people are pretty sick of the polarization and gridlock. Personally, and I’m a Democrat; most of my friends are very conservative so I’m completely open and willing to engage in bipartisanship. I think that the core values of our democracy involve encouraging and engaging with people across the aisle to work for the common good. And if I have the honor of being elected, I would definitely be willing to work with Republican majority in terms of trying to do something good for the people of my district.

How do you view the Moral Monday protests?
I’m completely in support of it. I love seeing people get fired up and excited and going out there and doing their civic duty which is making their voices heard in Raleigh. And even though there were some arrests, maybe the protests got a little out of hand, at the same time I was very excited and encouraged to see people getting out there in front of the General Assembly and basically just speaking for what they believe in.

Other than what we’ve already talked about, what is the biggest issue facing Raleigh and Wake County in the state legislature?
Well I mean I don’t know if this issue is pertinent just to Raleigh and Wake County but I think that education is one of the biggest oversights that the current General Assembly has not made a priority. Basically our teachers and our schools are underfunded and undervalued and underappreciated and if I am elected, that’s going to be one of my top priorities. Giving our teachers the raise that they definitely deserve because right now they’re paid 48th out of 50 states and the national average is $10,000 less than what other teachers make so I just don’t think that’s an effective way to proceed and I think that our students and children deserve a lot better. So if I am elected that’s definitely going to be one of the top priorities of mine.

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