DURHAM PEOPLE’S ALLIANCE PAC ENDORSES CANDIDATES FOR NOVEMBER 2014
The Durham People’s Alliance Political Action Committee has endorsed candidates for the November 4, 2014 elections. These endorsements were made at April and September endorsement meetings attended by well over 100 members of the organization who gathered to debate their favorites for Durham sheriff, district attorney, school board, legislative and court seats at all levels.
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November 2014 Endorsements
|Early Voting Information|
US Senate - Kay Hagan
US House - G. K. Butterfield, David Price, Laura Fjeld, Brenda Cleary (vote for one in your district)
NC Senate - Floyd McKissick, Mike Woodard (vote for one in your district)
NC House - Larry Hall, Mickey Michaux, Paul Luebke, Graig Meyer (vote for one in your district)
District Attorney - Roger Echols
Clerk of Court - Archie Smith
Sheriff - Mike Andrews
NC Supreme Court - Sam Ervin, Robin Hudson, Cheri Beasley (vote for three only; no endorsement in Martin/Lewis contest)
NC Court of Appeals - John Arrowood, Lucy Inman, Donna Stroud, Mark Davis (vote for all 4)
NC District Court - Pat Evans, Nancy Gordon, Jim Hill, Marcia Morey, Doretta Walker, Brian Wilks (vote for all 6)
Soil and Water Supervisor - Ray Eurquhart & Will Wilson (vote for 2)
N.C. Constitutional Amendment – No recommendation
To learn more about the People’s Alliance’s endorsements, see the candidates’ responses to the PA PAC questionnaires and their resumes by clicking here.
The People’s Alliance PAC endorses incumbent Kay Hagan for re-election to the US Senate. Conservative groups like Americans For Prosperity have targeted North Carolina and Kay Hagan in 2014. They are poised to spend more than $27 million here by Election Day; that’s more than twice what any outside group has spent in the past dozen years in our congressional races. These staggering figures make North Carolina ground zero in the battle to retain Democratic control of the Senate. This alone would make us rally to Hagan’s defense, but in addition she understands the needs of North Carolinians, and fights for health care, education, women’s reproductive rights, and an increase in the minimum wage. She will combat the special interests and backward ideologies embodied by her various Republican opponents. PA-PAC is doing all that we can to ensure her re-election in November.
US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Durham County was formerly entirely in the District of David Price, and now is gerrymandered into four congressional districts, two heavily Democratic, and two primarily Republican. The People’s Alliance PAC endorses incumbent Representatives G. K. Butterfield and David Price. Rep. Butterfield has served the First District and Durham County since 2013, and has deep roots in our county, having attended N. C. Central University. Representative David Price, of the Fourth District, has Republican opposition in November, and is a leader among House Democrats, having served in the House since 1986.
In the Sixth District, the People’s Alliance PAC endorses Laura Fjeld, who has over thirty years of experience working in business and education. Her public service includes her work as Vice President and General Counsel for the seventeen-campus University of North Carolina system, where she worked well with Democrats and Republicans to protect the quality of our state’s public colleges for all North Carolina citizens. In addition, she has been a consistent advocate for children and education. We are impressed with her determination to run a progressive campaign in this difficult district.
The members of the People’s Alliance PAC endorse Brenda Cleary in her bid to unseat incumbent George Holding. Members see Cleary’s stance on issues relating to health care, our aging population, immigration, reasonable wages for working families, and the environment as being more closely aligned with PA’s progressive values than the positions Mr. Holding has taken. We like the fact that Cleary is a recognized health care policy expert. She supports the Affordable Care Act as the foundation for healthcare reform and she is looking forward to improving it in the upcoming term. She supports a living wage and wants to find ways to close the widening income gap. She will protect programs for older Americans like Social Security and Medicare. With Holding in Congress, these programs are at risk. The 13th District covers the easternmost portion of Durham County.
PA PAC endorses Roger Echols in the race for Durham District Attorney. Roger Echols is an experienced prosecutor who has recently been appointed as District Attorney. Echols displays the temperament necessary to keep the office on an even keel during the next four years and to maintain positive working relationships with the judges and the defense bar. Echols has also proposed a number of concrete steps to streamline the operations of the court system and to improve the training of prosecutors in the office. He is thoughtful and articulate. His understanding of the issues confronting the District Attorney’s Office and the day-to-day concerns of prosecutors is comprehensive. He knows that the decisions made by the district attorney and all of the subordinates impact upon the life and liberty of those accused of committing crimes as well as the welfare and peace of mind of the victims of crime. He is praised by defense attorneys for his courtesy and his honesty. He takes great pains to communicate with clarity and precision. He supports raising the age limit for juvenile defendants and he supports alternative programs to incarceration. Echols opposes the death penalty and will advocate against it. Echols grew up in Hillsborough and lived and worked as a prosecutor in Person County before joining the Durham DA’s staff.
The People’s Alliance PAC endorses Mike Andrews for a full term as Durham County Sheriff. Andrews is from Durham and has risen through the ranks at the sheriff’s office. He was picked by Sheriff Hill as his successor and was appointed by the BOCC to fill Sheriff Hill’s unexpired term beginning in 2012. Mike is a fine law enforcement official with a solid record of law enforcement management. We like that he is a part of, and has continued, a culture of policing that is personal, personable, and moderate. Andrews is always accessible and responsive. In his tenure he has addressed long festering complaints about the unsanitary conditions at the jail. We like that he places emphasis in updating communications and technology systems at the sheriff’s office. We look to Andrews to encourage advancement within the ranks of the department for deputies and employees from every background.
For the Evans Seat on the Durham District Court, People’s Alliance PAC endorses Judge Pat Evans.
Evans has been on the bench for a little over three years. She is intelligent, hardworking and has experience working in the all the District Courts. The compassion Judge Evans displays from the bench for young people in trouble with the law is compelling to our members. We believe that during her first term she has grown from a practicing lawyer into a promising jurist and that her growth will continue in a second term.
For the Walker Seat on the District Court, we endorse Judge Doretta Walker. Prior to being elected to her first term in 2011, Judge Walker served as an Assistant District Attorney in Durham where she was assigned the most complex white-collar crime cases. We are impressed with Judge Walker’s work outside the courtroom. She teaches criminal justice, works with Senior Citizens and Law Enforcement Together (SALT), and volunteers for Partners for Youth. In the courtroom, she is patient and thoughtful. As with Judge Evans we are confident that Judge Walker will continue to grow in a second term on the District Court bench.
PA PAC endorses Judge Nancy Gordon for the Gordon Seat on the District Court. Gordon has served as a district court judge for more than seven years. During that time she has earned praise from attorneys and fellow judges for her superior knowledge of the law, her hard work and dedication, and her unswerving insistence upon excellence. She was the first certified family law attorney in Durham County and family law makes up a significant portion of the business of the district court. None of Judge Gordon’s decisions has ever been overturned by the Court of Appeals. She is known for being in court early, prepared, and ready to handle her case load. She is praised for her interest in the welfare of the families and children who appear before her and for the special needs of veterans. Recently, she successfully advocated for funding for a new veteran’s court to provide intensified supervision for veterans whose legal troubles are attributable to the stresses of their service.
PA PAC also endorses Judges Marcia Morey, Jim Hill, and Brian Wilks for re-election to their respective seats on the district court bench. All three are running unopposed. Each of these seasoned judges has earned high praise from litigants and the lawyers who regularly appear before them. Judge Marcia Morey proposed a new program in Durham, where 16- and 17-year-olds who have committed non-violent misdemeanors can avoid arrest and be diverted to community-based programs, instead. This initiative is the first of its kind in North Carolina. She contributes to the Durham community by teaching about the judicial system and serving with various charitable and non-profit organizations. Judge Jim Hill is praised for his work in arbitrations, his keen interest in juveniles, and the Youth Treatment Drug Court. He is known for his scrupulous application of the law to the facts and his respectful treatment of everyone in the courthouse. Judge Brian Wilks is hard-working, accessible, patient, and knowledgeable. He has been an adjunct professor of law at NCCU and contributes to the Durham community by volunteering at Rogers Herr Middle School, the George White Bar, and other organizations. We have supported all three candidates in the past and are happy to do so again.
NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The People’s Alliance PAC is happy to again endorse Durham’s incumbent State Senators, Democrats Floyd McKissick and Mike Woodard. They are both veterans of the Durham city council and work to convey Durham’s concerns to Raleigh, even as they struggle as leaders of the Democratic Party in a Republican-controlled legislature. Senator Woodard faces Republican opposition in November. Senator McKissick is Deputy Democratic Leader in the Senate, and chairman of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus. They are fighting the good fight for progressive values in our state senate, and will work for education, health care, and full access to a fair ballot.
Four Democratic members of the General Assembly currently represent parts of Durham County. We are proud to endorse them all. Veterans Larry Hall, Paul Luebke, and H, M. (Mickey) Michaux are running for re-election and we welcome newcomer Graig Meyer, who was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Valerie Foushee, and is running for the first time. As in the state senate, these progressive Democrats continue to fight an uphill battle to enact progressive legislation for the people of North Carolina. Meyer and Michaux face Republican opposition in November. Hall is the Democratic Leader of the North Carolina House, and previously served as a Democratic Caucus Whip.
NC SUPREME COURT & COURT OF APPEALS
We salute the service of Chief Justice Sara Parker, who retired in August. We need to honor her service by electing the progressive women being opposed by conservative men in the November statewide judicial contests. The People’s Alliance will work for the continuation of the hard-won diversity in the membership of our state courts, the critical third branch of our constitutional government.
For the seat of retiring Supreme Court Justice Sara Parker, the People’s Alliance PAC declines to endorse either of the conservative Republican candidates, neither of whom is at all aligned with PA’s progressive values. Justice Mark Martin has been a harsh conservative on the NC Supreme Court for 15 years, and Judge Lewis is a controversial figure as the conservative chief resident superior court judge of Brunswick County. Judge Lewis is a former Democrat who changed her registration to Republican in an attempt to curry favor with that party prior to filing for election.
PA PAC endorses Judge Sam Ervin for election to a seat on the NC Supreme. During his tenure on the NC Court of Appeals, Judge Ervin’s opinions have always been well-researched, well-written, and well-received. We are impressed by his education, erudition, and exemplary record of public service on the bench and as a member of the Utilities Commission. Judge Ervin lost his previous race for the NC Supreme Court in 2012 after a tidal wave of money from anonymous individuals and groups from outside of North Carolina was spent on behalf of his conservative opponent. He is running again because he believes that the courts should not continue to be politicized by this outside money.
The People’s Alliance PAC endorses incumbent Justice Cheri Beasley for re-election to her current seat on the NC Supreme Court. Prior to her appointment in 2012 by Governor Perdue, Justice Beasley was a distinguished member of the NC Court of Appeals, having been elected in 2008 by defeating incumbent arch-conservative Judge Doug McCullough. In that race, Justice Beasley became the first woman of color in the history of NC to win election to statewide office without having first been appointed to the office by the governor. She is familiar with the Triangle region, having worked in Research Triangle Park, and for the Wake County District Attorney. She serves as a fair and impartial member of the North Carolina Supreme Court, and deserves re-election.
PA PAC endorses incumbent Justice Robin Hudson for re-election in November. Justice Hudson is an experienced and thoughtful jurist who carefully weighs the merits of every case before her. Her background prior to taking the bench in 2000 as an appellate defender and in private practice has served her well as a judge. She came in first in a three-way primary in May. We urge all progressive voters to pay close attention to this critical contest. An additional factor is the ending of public financing for judicial elections, forcing the candidates to spend more of their time on fundraising.
The PA PAC endorses John Arrowood for the Martin seat on the Court of Appeals. Among the field of 19 candidates in this race, Arrowood, a Democrat, impressed us best. He was appointed to the court in 2007 and served for two years. In that time he earned the praise of his fellow judges and attorneys appearing before the court. He has over 30 years of experience as an attorney advocating for clients across a broad range of issues, including advice to same-sex couples, the owners of small and large businesses, and plaintiffs and defendants in civil litigation. We are attracted to his commitment to public service. He volunteers to provide legal services to the indigent. He has served on the N.C. Banking Commission, the Rules Review Commission, and the boards of Charlotte Urban Ministries, the Mint Museum of Charlotte. He has volunteered for and contributed money to Equality, NC, the Episcopal Farmworkers Ministry, LGBT Democrats of NC, and many other worthy causes over the course of his lifetime. Our members also believe that Arrowood is the candidate most likely to run a successful statewide campaign against John Tyson. Tyson is a conservative closely aligned to Governor Pat McCrory and House Speaker Thom Tillis.
The People’s Alliance PAC endorses Lucy Inman for a seat on the NC Court of Appeals. Judge Inman currently serves as a Special Superior Court Judge handling cases all across the state, while her opponent is a district court judge in Johnson County. Prior to taking the bench in 2010, Judge Inman was in private practice representing business clients and individuals in complex cases and she also represented death row inmates in North Carolina in challenges to the lethal injection protocol which was in effect at that time. Her opponent touts his affiliation with “Tea Party”-related organizations on his website.
PA PAC endorses incumbent Judge Donna Stroud, who is running opposed for re-election to the Court of Appeals. Judge Stroud has served with distinction since her election to the Court of Appeals in 2006; prior to her election, Judge Stroud was a district court judge in Wake County. Judge Stroud is well-known as for her expertise in family law.
PA PAC endorses incumbent Judge Mark Davis, who is running for election to his current seat on the NC Court of Appeals. Prior to his appointment to the Court, Judge Davis served as General Counsel for Governor Perdue, and before that he served under Roy Cooper as Special Deputy Attorney General in the NC Department of Justice. Judge Davis’s opponent has been endorsed by county Republican parties across North Carolina.
DURHAM SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT BOARD OF SUPERVISORS (2 seats)
There are two seats open on this local government board. Durham People’s Alliance PAC endorses Will Wilson and Ray Eurquhart. Eurquhart has served on the Board of Supervisors for nearly 20 years with PA’s support. He is a forceful advocate for affordable housing and an effective and respected neighborhood activist. In 2009, the Independent recognized his work in Rolling Hills and Southside with an Indy Citizen Award.
Wilson is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Duke University. He serves on the Durham Open Space and Trails Commission and the Farmland Preservation Board. He has been pushing the Durham Planning Department to develop an urban open space plan for the City of Durham. Both Wilson and Eurquhart are committed to protecting water quality and critical watersheds. At a time when effective storm water management and water quality have never been more important, Durham can count on Eurquhart and Wilson for solid leadership.
REFERENDUM ON THE AMENDMENT TO THE NORTH CAROLINA CONSTITUTION TO PERMIT CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS IN CERTAIN CASES TO WAIVE THE RIGHT TO A JURY TRIAL
On this question, the members of the People’s Alliance PAC decided to make no endorsement. North Carolina is the only state which does not permit a criminal defendant in a non-capital case to waive his or her right to be tried by a jury instead of by a judge alone. Arguments in favor of the amendment centered primarily on judicial economy although some argued that it might be in some defendants’ interests to be able to avoid trial by jury. Others argued against the amendment expressing concerns that a jury trial is an accused person’s principal bulwark in a system often stacked against them. In the end, PAC members determined that there was no clear policy choice consistent with the organization’s values sufficiently compelling to make an endorsement.
To learn more about the People’s Alliance’s endorsements, see the candidates’ responses to the PA PAC questionnaires and their resumes by clicking here
Durham People’s Alliance PAC Coordinators
Milo Pyne (919) 943-9327 [email protected]
Lorisa Seibel (919) 801-6863 [email protected]
James Hill (919) 213-0888 [email protected]
Tom Miller (919) 599-7618 [email protected]
Durham People’s Alliance Staff: (919) 682-7777 [email protected]