Deb Butler Thom Goolsby
NC Senate District 9 candidates rank issues
North Carolina Sen. Thom Goolsby and his general election challenger Deb Butler count jobs and the economy among their top issues.
Reducing the tax burden can help encourage businesses to relocate here, Goolsby, R-New Hanover, said in a telephone interview Monday, Oct. 1.
“I do not believe that you can tax people into prosperity,” Goolsby said.
He praised the success of the local movie and television industry, saying film tax credits, or reduced taxes, drew film-related business to North Carolina.
Targeted tax credits can help attract businesses, but so can an educated work force, infrastructure, higher education opportunities, culture and clean air and water, Butler, a Democrat, said during an interview at Folks Café in Wilmington on Thursday, Sept. 27.
“The goal is to grow the next Amazon or Google out of our own soil,” Butler added.
Butler, a Wilmington attorney, ran for a New Hanover County Commission seat in 2010 but lost in the general election.
She has criticized the Republican-controlled state General Assembly for cutting public education funding, as well as for passing legislation to authorize horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil and gas exploration. The bill bans the issuance of such permits pending legislative action.
“Right here at UNCW class sizes have doubled, tuition is woefully higher than it was, students can’t find the classes they need in order to graduate and pursue their dreams,” Butler said.
North Carolina cutting its education programs is like farmers eating their seed corn, she said.
“To defund education is to cripple our economic recovery,” Butler said. “And that is exactly what this General Assembly is doing in favor of tax breaks for multi-million dollar corporations, in favor of loopholes for millionaires, in favor of deregulation at the expense of our environment.”
State lawmakers had to tackle a $3 billion state debt when taking office two years ago and balanced the budget, cut taxes and appropriately funded government programs, said Goolsby, a Wilmington attorney who won his Senate seat during the 2010 election.
“The way that people obtain wealth is by an ever-expanding economy fueled by business making money — not by government taking people’s money and giving it to other people,” Goolsby said.
Lawmakers have put more money into education and have focused on making sure children can read before the fourth grade, he added.
Goolsby’s law firm specializes in criminal defense, personal injury, traffic tickets and DUI/DWI cases. He is a former Marine Corps officer and has served as an adjunct professor of law at Campbell University.
When asked whom he considers his hero, Goolsby, a married father of three, named his father, Tom Goolsby, who died this summer.
Butler, who founded and operated the Port City Properties real estate brokerage firm from about 1995 until earlier this year, has served on boards for the Historic Wilmington Foundation, the Cape Fear Green Building Alliance and the Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors.
She admires former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour.
Other issues Goolsby said he sees as important include the coast and the environment.
“We’re continuing to do everything we can at the state level to look at the needs of our shallow draft inlets, to look at the needs of our beaches for renourishment and to set funding priorities,” Goolsby said.
As for the environment, Goolsby said bills have just established study periods for looking at available energy. He added that converting from dirty coal to natural gas can help with air pollution but that the state also must be careful not to pollute its waters.
Butler’s main issues also include women’s reproductive health and access to family planning.
“The General Assembly has defunded Planned Parenthood, which spends 97 percent of its revenue on health care services such as mammograms, cancer screenings, family planning, contraception,” Butler said. “Family planning is not the government’s business.”