Charles Lopez and Renée Price are facing off for the chance to represent District 50 in the N.C. House of Representatives.
The district seat is currently held by N.C. House Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Caswell, Orange), who has served in the state House since 2013. Meyer is running for a spot in the N.C. Senate to represent District 23.
Price, the Democratic candidate, won her primary race against Matt Hughes, receiving 72 percent of the votes. Lopez, the Republican candidate, ran unopposed in his primary.
Price has served on the Orange County Board of County Commissioners since 2012, and has served as its chairperson since 2020. Lopez is an HR manager of a landscaping company based in the Triangle area and is an investor in small businesses. Prior to this, he worked as a school administrator helping at-risk students.
The Daily Tar Heel asked each candidate about their stance on contentious issues in the state.
Lopez said education is a priority for him, but that he doesn’t know that he would be in favor of student loan forgiveness. There is a cost to education, he said.
As a former charter school board president, he said he has learned throughout his career that every child learns differently. Because of this, he is a proponent of school choice.
“Our kids learn in different ways and have different interests,” Lopez said. “So I do believe that we should be pushing out school choice, parent choice and let that be the parents’ decision.”
When it comes to reproductive rights, Lopez, who is anti-abortion, said he believes there is an obligation to provide support programs and systems for pregnant people. He also added that a key item for him is making adoption more affordable and accessible.
Ronnie Lucero, the national chairperson for the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, said Lopez’s focus on adoption is important to him as a father.
“I really appreciate what he does with that because he’s not only trying to help people in North Carolina,” Lucero said. “He’s also trying to do something with the children and adoption systems in North Carolina as well.”
Lopez said both the RNHA and North Carolina Right to Life PAC endorsed him.
He said gun regulation won't prevent crime, but he believes there is a correlation between gun violence and mental health. He also said he was in favor of support programs to target mental health in order to address gun violence.
Lopez also said that, as a small business owner, he wants to advocate for the developing business in Caswell county, which has a poverty rate of 15.4 percent according to data from the 2020 U.S. Census. He said in order to help businesses, employees should have transportation and services available to them.
Lopez said it’s necessary to be an informed voter overall, and he hopes to see a bipartisan effort to look at economic issues across the board.
Price also cited education as a priority, and said she wants to make sure all children have an opportunity to get early childhood education. More money should be put into public schools, she said.
She also said she supports community college as an opportunity for further education or career preparedness. Price said community college helps avoid the burden of tuition costs for college, but she does support some student loan forgiveness.
With abortion being a major topic this election season, Price said she is in favor of reproductive health care and that individuals who may become pregnant should be provided with proper health care.
When it comes to gun legislation, Price said she believes most individuals who own guns know the proper procedures for handling their weapons, but that she is concerned with the access to guns for those who are underprepared.
She said she supports further regulation and background checks and emphasized that she does not see a need for people to have access to military-grade weapons.
Price also said she is focused on infrastructure, but is particularly focused on increasing access to broadband in order to get homes and businesses connected to the Internet.
She explained that affordable housing and workforce housing are important for building the economy and nurturing communities.
“We need people, and people need places to live,” Price said. “We need affordable places for people to live in and call home.”
Price said that, if elected, she would have an open door to residents, adding that it takes people coming together to make a change. She said residents should make a plan to vote, and encourage others to vote, too.
“The sacrifices that have been made through the generations – in no way can we let that be in vain,” Price said. “We have got to get out and vote."
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