N.C. House and Senate candidates speak at town hall forum

N.C. House and Senate candidates speak at town hall forum
Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 12:27 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The candidates running for the North Carolina General Assembly — Marcia Morgan (D), Michael Lee (R), Ted Davis (R), Deb Butler (D), Amy Deloach (D), Eric Terishima (D), John Hinnant (R), and Frank Iler (R) — spoke at CFCC’s Union Auditorium for a town hall forum on Oct. 12.

The forum was hosted by WECT’s Jon Evans, and moderated by WECT’s Michael Praats, WHQR’s Ben Schachtman and Port City Daily’s Amy Passaretti.

The candidates expressed different views when it came to abortion, and whether the state abortion laws in place should be more or less restrictive.

“Abortion is a very emotional, personal decision,” Ted Davis said. “There are people on the far-left that want to be able to have an abortion up to the day the child is born. There are people on the far right that don’t want abortion to be allowed at all. I’m an attorney, former prosecutor, I believe in the word of the law. I support what the law is right now in North Carolina, and that is that a woman can have access to an abortion up to the first twenty weeks of pregnancy, that after that, in order to have an abortion, I believe in reasonable restrictions. And those reasonable restrictions are rape, incest, the viability of the fetus or the health of the mother.”

“Let’s be clear about one thing: the speaker of the North Carolina House has said that if he achieves a supermajority, there will be an abortion ban passed in North Carolina,” Deb Butler said. “So any conversation that moderates that position is a lie. They have moderated their position on this issue because they recognize that women are irritated by this conversation, that they want rights to control their own bodies, to plan their own families, to make their own educational and vocational choices without interference from the government.”

Candidates were also asked what they would do to regulate gun violence, referencing last week’s mass shooting in Raleigh that left five people dead.

“I served in the Marine Corps for thirty years and did eight combat tours, I know what these weapons can do up close and personally,” Eric Terishima said. “Marines had their weapons locked in an armory most of the time. They are given a lot of training to be able to use them, and they are given a lot of supervision when they are given ammo especially. So no, there should not be easy and unfettered access to assault weapons in particular to the general public.”

“The biggest problem is that it needs to be regulated on the federal level,” John Hinnant said. “If North Carolina puts in tighter regulations, then gun buyers will just drive to Myrtle Beach and pick up whatever weapon they want to buy ... I think we need to continue to address mental health ... but I would support training for folks that want to buy a semi-automatic rifle ... we don’t let our eighteen-year-olds in the military handle a semi-automatic rifle without a significant amount of training, and I think there should be training for someone who would buy a weapon, much like there’s a concealed-carry class for people to get licensed.”

The candidates also discussed what they believe should be done to combat economic inflation, such as increasing minimum wage or suspending gas taxes.

“Some of the things we can do on the state law is help with groceries, gas and housing,” Amy Deloach said. “We can provide free breakfast and lunch for the public school children, that’ll help with the family’s grocery costs. We could temporarily suspend the gas tax we talked about earlier to help people out at the pump. And we can give tax incentives for the developers so hopefully, they’ll be developing more affordable housing and give people a chance to buy a place or rent a place here.”

The entire forum can be seen here.