N.C. Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Caswell, Orange) and Republican Landon Woods are running for the North Carolina Senate District 23 seat, which includes Orange, Caswell and Person counties.
The seat is being vacated by N.C. Sen. Valerie Foushee (D-Chatham, Orange), who is running for U.S. Congress.
The Daily Tar Heel asked each candidate about their positions on important issues in the state.
Meyer is the Democratic candidate running for the District 23 seat. He has worked in the state legislature as a representative since 2013. Before that, Meyer worked in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools for 16 years as the coordinator of the Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate program.
Meyer said he avidly supports helping people deal with student debt. He said the best course of action the state legislature can take going forward is to keep the cost of state universities down.
Meyer said he has also worked on legislation concerning climate change. He said he plans to work on reducing carbon emissions from the transportation and agricultural sectors, and make the state a hub for electric vehicle and battery manufacturing.
Meyer has also been a sponsor of bills to end partisan gerrymandering and expand access to voting.
“One of (the bills) I introduced last year would have made it easier for people under 18 to pre-register to vote so that they're automatically ready as soon as they turn 18, and also changed the rules on when you can register so that you can even register on Election Day,” he said.
Meyer was also a sponsor of the Marijuana Justice and Reinvestment Act in the state house.
“Our bill would fully legalize marijuana, take the money that we make from marijuana and reinvest it in the communities that have been hurt the most from the war on drugs and make sure that we have the ability to have the local farmers grow it,” he said.
Meyer also said he is an advocate for universal criminal background checks on all gun sales in North Carolina. He said the state should pass Extreme Risk Laws, which temporarily reduce an individual's access to firearms if they pose a danger to themselves or others.
One of Meyer’s endorsements is from Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic.
North Carolina Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic Jillian Riley said the results of the 2022 midterm elections will affect the state in big ways, specifically noting that abortion access hangs in the balance.
"Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic has endorsed many legislative candidates across the state who are committed to upholding reproductive freedom and Rep. Graig Meyer is one of those candidates," she said.
The Republican candidate, Landon Woods, owns Revision Solar, a solar energy maintenance company in Yanceyville, N.C. He said his business background will serve him well in the state legislature, especially in providing tax breaks for the working class.
Woods said he also plans to increase jobs in the district and help keep North Carolina a top state for business. According to CNBC, North Carolina was named America’s Top State for Business in 2022.
He added that he wants to move forward with more jobs and better business in an environmentally-friendly way.
“Obviously, being a solar company, I care about the environment, I care about our footprint,” Woods said. “But I also want us to be able to move forward to where people can start a business without an eight-year degree, without a four-year degree.”
Discussing climate and the environment, Woods said he wants North Carolina to develop more wind power. He said he would like to see more windmills along the East Coast, specifically in the mountains in the state.
Woods also said more individuals should take steps forward in the climate fight, rather than large companies.
“I would rather see people having their own solar panels on their houses, a windmill in their own yard, so that way we can kind of have more piece of the pie rather than a corporation charging us to operate their own electrical components,” he said.
One of Woods’ goals if elected is to keep the streets safe. He specifically mentions fighting against human trafficking through policy and working on prison and criminal justice reform.
Along with those goals, he said anyone showing telltale signs of using a weapon on themselves or others should be arrested before they get the chance to buy a gun.
Despite Roe vs. Wade being overturned this past summer, abortion remains legal in North Carolina before 20 weeks and six days.
Woods said he is not the candidate for voters who support late-term abortion, but that he supports an exception to abortion bans to protect the life of the pregnant person.
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