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The Daily Tar Heel

Editorial: Our endorsements for the 2022 midterm elections

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The Editorial Board, composed of eighteen graduate and undergraduate students, has made its endorsements for the upcoming midterm elections. 

Each election cycle, we research candidates running for seats that impact the lives of UNC students and Orange County residents with the goal of endorsing one we feel would best represent the interests of our community. We decided on several policy priorities to highlight in our interviews and research, and used this information to guide our decision-making. Read more about how we made our decisions here.

It’s easy to view this list as the status-quo pitch for a completely blue ballot, but we urge voters to ask more of their officials – even the ones we endorsed. A two-party system has created a rock-and-a-hard-place effect, forcing us to vote against a particular candidate, rather than for someone who we feel deeply reflects our interests.

We are confident that the candidates we have chosen have the potential to bring great change across the country, and here in North Carolina. At the same time, we urge them to take advantage of their strong campaign momentums and not back down to the challenge of bringing comprehensive, progressive and much-needed legislation to those who have been historically mistreated by the political system.

Early voting ends at 3 p.m. on Nov. 5 and Election Day is on Nov. 8. Absentee ballots must be postmarked on or before this date. We encourage everyone who is eligible to vote to do so.

Candidates: Cheri Beasley, Ted Budd, Matthew Hoh and Shannon Bray

We believe that Cheri Beasley is the only suitable candidate to represent North Carolina in the Senate. She brings years of experience, serving the N.C. Supreme Court as both an associate justice and the first Black woman to serve as its chief justice.

Her platform is that of the average progressive candidate, and is far more inclusive than her Republican counterpart's.

If elected, we urge Beasley to adopt more comprehensive police reform policies, and support the movement toward defunding our overly-militarized police force and redirecting funds into community resources.

Her opponent, Ted Budd, is outright dangerous.

He is a far-right candidate masqueraded as status-quo conservative, and his policies only work to harm his constituents. A self proclaimed "conscience-driven advocate for the unborn," Budd supports the Hyde Amendment, advocates for defunding Planned Parenthood and voted for one of the most restrictive abortion bills to come out of Congress since the Dobbs decision — an act that, in itself, is counterintuitive to the GOP goal of returning abortion rights to the states. His campaign is riddled with claims against a "woke" and "radical" progressive movement that is far from the reality of our political climate, instead relying on the fears of his conservative constituents to garner support.

While not awarded our endorsement, we want to express our admiration for Matthew Hoh, the Green Party candidate in this race. He resigned from the State Department in protest of the war in Afghanistan. Now, he is advocating for a progressive policies, such as codifying Roe v. Wade, the Green New Deal and the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Despite our admiration, we recognize how endorsing a third-party candidate might split liberal votes in an already competitive race.

Candidate Shannon Bray declined to respond to our inquiry for an interview. The platform outlined on his website is minimal. He does not reference topical policy such as marijuana legalization, climate change, affordable housing or abortion. We believe a lack of awareness and recognition for these evergreen and critical political issues makes him a poor fit for senator.

Candidates: Valerie Foushee and Courtney Geels

We have chosen to endorse N.C. Sen. Valerie Foushee (D-Chatham, Orange) for the U.S. House seat in North Carolina's 4th congressional district.

She outlined a progressive approach to the climate crisis, including reduction of carbon emissions, investment in solar and wind energies and the passage of the Green New Deal. Her prior experience working in law enforcement gives her a unique lens through which to view police reform. We hope she uses this perspective to enact meaningful change to better serve and protect communities of color who are historically marginalized by police.

While several aspects of Courtney Geels' platform attempted to address similar issues — such as her desire to reverse the effects of the 1994 Crime Bill — her approach does so without taking power away from the policing institutions that perpetuate inequities in incarceration.

Using her experience as a nurse as a moral guide, Geels said she has witnessed mental health crises first hand, and does not think non-police aides should respond to such crises. Instead, she is a proponent of funding mental health training for police officers. As optimistic as this sounds, this policy fails to address long-standing mistreatment of those with mental illnesses by police, and leaves an unjust system of policing intact.

Candidates: Graig Meyer and Landon Woods

For the N.C. Senate, we've chosen to endorse N.C. Rep. Graig Meyer (D-Caswell, Orange).

He has served in the N.C. House since 2013, and his platform includes a variety of progressive policies. He has expressed support for expanding access to abortion within the state and is endorsed by organizations such as Planned Parenthood. He also hopes to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, decriminalize marijuana and increase the minimum wage in the state.

Landon Woods declined to respond to our request for an interview. The lack of information available about his campaign is discouraging, and does not align with our goals of having an informed electorate. Without making his platforms known and accessible, we have little hope for his success in the state senate.

Candidates: Renée Price and Charles Lopez

Renée Price is our choice for the N.C. House.

She is in support of policies that advance the rights of Labor Unions and eliminate cash bail. Her focus on expanding education, especially in regard to climate education, is admirable and will make for an informed future citizenry. As supporters of progressive reform, we would like to see more concrete solutions and policy proposals from her. In regards to the increasing cost of living, her desire to expand subsidies and gainful employment for minorities is promising. We hope it is accompanied by tactical policy in other areas of her platform as well.

Charles Lopez' campaign fails to mention key issues that we feel are critical to this race, including the rising cost of living and the ongoing debates around reproductive justice. At face value, his campaign seems far too narrow in scope.

Candidates: Lucy Inman and Richard Dietz

We hope to see Judge Lucy Inman serve on N.C. Supreme Court. While both candidates presented non-partisan platforms and hope to reduce the influence of politics in an already polarized Court, one key issue separated the candidates.

Judge Richard Dietz boasts about never having written a dissenting opinion during his time on the Court of Appeals, attributing this feat to his ability to achieve consensus as a judge. It is important to us, however, that our Courts represent a diversity of perspectives — similarly to the Editorial Board — with opportunities to propose dissents and create a legal framework for courts to come.

Judge Inman's dissenting opinions have been adopted by the N.C. Supreme Court, thus protecting the rule and consistency of law beyond her role on the state court of appeals.

Candidates: Sam J. Ervin IV and Trey Allen

We are endorsing Judge Sam J. Ervin IV for seat 5 on the N.C. Supreme Court. We find Ervin's judicial philosophy far more compelling and more likely to produce just legal outcomes to our state. Raised in a family of lawyers who have played key roles in desegregating schools and advancing women's rights — simply put, Ervin believes that "...everyone deserves the same chances in life."

While Judge Allen has years of experience in law and government, some of which spent on the faculty at UNC, we fear his commitment to following the Constitution as originally understood will produce limiting and shortsighted legal outcomes that fail to account for the changing legal and political world we live in.

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