|Malcolm Graham for Congress|
|Endorsements in competitive races|
|Published Thursday, May 1, 2014 7:53 am|
May 6 is primary election day in Mecklenburg County, and there are several races that have drawn particular interest from voters, namely the Democratic race in the 12th Congressional District and the sheriff’s campaign for both parties.
We urge you to exercise your right to vote, especially during this off-season election, one of the final opportunities we’ll have to cast ballots before North Carolina’s voter ID law takes effect in 2016. Below are The Post’s recommendations for Tuesday.
The 12th hasn’t produced an open seat since 1992 when Mel Watt won election for the first time. There are several worthy contenders in the Democratic primary, but we’re convinced Malcolm Graham is the best candidate. Mr. Graham, a member of the N.C. Senate, has the practical experience as a lawmaker on the local and district level to be an asset in Washington. He also has the asset of being young enough to build seniority needed to benefit the 12th, something Watt used to effectively represent the district. Sen. Graham’s moderate stance may seem antiquated in the hyper-partisan muck that is today’s Congress, but we see it as a plus for the district given his business acumen and connections.
12th Congressional District Republican: Vince Coakley. The former TV anchor/reporter likely has more name recognition than some in the Democratic primary but faces an uphill battle in November. Mr. Coakley’s campaign tacks to what he calls the “freedom” agenda of strict adherence to the Constitution. As an example, Mr. Coakley favors free market solutions to the Affordable Care Act, which he says leaves low-income and minority residents vulnerable to escalating health insurance costs. A fresh voice in the debate over how best to serve the 12th is needed, and Mr. Coakley has our endorsement.
• N.C. Senate District 40 Democrats: Nasif Majeed. Mr. Majeed, a former Charlotte City Council member, has been out of elected office for several years, but merits our endorsement as he attempts a comeback. Mr. Majeed has been an entrepreneur, a clinical chaplain for the N.C. Department of Corrections and served his country as a B-52 pilot during the Vietnam War. His resume of community service in Charlotte has been long and vibrant, and we believe those credentials will serve him well in Raleigh.
The three incumbents have a mixed record in their freshman terms. Cotham was unseated as chair when her go-it-alone style left many colleagues out of the loop when it came to decision-making. Ratliff fell into trouble when she all but told white men to not apply for the then-vacant county manager’s job.
Fuller has for the most part kept his nose clean politically and ascended to the chairmanship. Fuller has a firm grasp on the county’s needs and expectations – especially as it relates to economic development – and has shown a willingness to be a thoughtful and conscientious representative.
Cotham’s business experience has been beneficial to the board, and we believe her feisty style has a place on the dais to push programs that benefit residents while limiting the county’s tax bite. Ratliff has advocated more health care centers, nurses in public schools and a more aggressive economic development policy.
We heartily endorse Fuller and a warm confirmation on Ratliff and Cotham, who we sincerely believe have grown and matured since their first term missteps.
• Mecklenburg Sheriff Democrats: Irwin Carmichael. Mr. Carmichael, a captain in the Sheriff’s Office, is no stranger to public safety. Since 1986, he’s been employed by the Sheriff’s Office, starting as a reserve deputy while holding down a job with the Charlotte Fire Department, from which he retired in 2012 as an engineer. Mr. Carmichael has worked with crime prevention programs while empowering residents to be proactive in the process as well as conducting seminars and classes with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the N.C. Justice Academy. Mr. Carmichael’s dedication to service would serve him well as the Democratic nominee.
• Mecklenburg Sheriff Republicans: Chris Hailey. Mr. Hailey has 28 years of law-enforcement experience, including stints with the Raleigh Police Department, N.C. Highway Patrol and the Highway Patrol’s training academy in Raleigh. He’s director of public safety training at Central Piedmont Community College, where he oversees basic training and continuing education for professional police, fire and medic personnel on a state and local level.
This wide and varied experience, we believe, make Mr. Hailey an excellent candidate for sheriff.
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