Rouzer, Horton and Fallin all running for US House seat to represent Southeastern NC
What, if anything, is the single most important policy change or infrastructure need you have identified in the wake of Hurricane Florence?
Fallin: Other than waiting for flood waters to subside, power was restored very quickly and DOT had roads opened up and supplies were brought in in a very timely manner. These things take time and I believe everyone has done a very good job in our recoveries.
Horton: I traveled to listen to many who were without the means to travel 40 miles to reach food, shelter, and supplies. The heroic efforts of first-responders saved lives, but our infrastructure is crumbling. My opponent is on an infrastructure committee, yet a majority of our roads and bridges are rated as structurally deficient, and many collapsed. We need to commit to investing in the infrastructure of our district, make resources available at multiple sites in each county, and empower FEMA to respond timely as many were evicted while temporary assistive housing from FEMA was delayed.
Rouzer: The impact on the beaches was very different than further inland. Where strong beach nourishment and storm damage reduction projects are in place, damage was much less extensive to the beaches, homes and other structures -- saving billions in damages. Further inland the flooding was severe due to the sheer amount of rain, but also because of substantial development further north and west over the years creating more runoff as well as ditches, creeks, streams, and rivers that are significantly clogged. Putting in place much more robust measures to clean them out is a necessity and a top priority of mine.
What specific federal need -- outside of responding to Hurricane Florence -- do you believe should, and realistically could, be achieved in the next year?
F: We need to get a handle on unnecessary spending to get closer to a balanced budget. This could allow help with FEMA for flood victims that are not in a flood plain and don't have flood insurance.
H: Americans are dying without healthcare every day. I believe every American deserves quality healthcare. We could lower the Medicare eligibility age to 50 and federally expand Medicaid with regional marketplaces to cover states like NC where politicians like my opponent opposed Medicaid expansion. It’s long past time to put people over partisan politics, and ensure our federal taxpayer dollars stay here in NC, as we rein in the power of the biggest pharmaceutical and insurance companies. These policies would stabilize private marketplaces and ensure those with pre-existing conditions, seniors, kids, and suffering with opioid addiction would be covered.
R: As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I constantly advocate our needs to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and include language in every applicable bill to further enhance our beaches, inlets and waterways. For example, the Water Resources and Development Act that recently passed addresses specific needs of those beaches in this area that have federal authorization as well as included provisions beneficial to the Port of Wilmington. Water and sewer upgrades for our small towns are critical and more extensive deployment of broadband in rural areas is a must long-term.
Should federal support of the region's beach nourishment projects continue? If so, why? If not, why not?
F: Beach nourishment should continue in full force. A quality beach adds protection to properties that border the ocean and attract more tourism which boost local and state economy.
H: I support continued federal funding of renourishment with matching local and state funds. While my opponent and I agree on this, he’s made his support for offshore drilling clear—despite the fact that this would risk jobs in clean industries like fishing, recreation and tourism. He’s ignored science to ban consideration of accelerated sea-level rise. In contrast, I’m opposed to offshore drilling and believe we should use the best scientific evidence to plan appropriately for renourishment. This would ensure taxpayer funds are used effectively to protect our Coast, instead of bowing down to protect oil and gas profits.
R: Our beaches, inlets and waterways are essential to our coastal communities and contribute significantly to our state’s tourism industry. As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, we have been successful in keeping the federal government at the table and partnering with Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Ocean Isle Beach to keep those federally authorized projects going. Each proved critical to protecting those communities during Florence and only underscores their value to the taxpayer by saving untold billions over the long-term. I will continue to advocate for our coastal communities and work to protect them all.
What changes would you support of the Congressional Accountability Act in the wake of the #MeToo movement?
F: The CAA needs to keep all people accountable for their actions regardless of position in Government or private sectors and should be responsible for that cost. A member of Congress should be able to have some help with determining if any abuse has occurred and should have a (statute) of limitation to be accused.
H: The legislative branch should follow the same workplace laws as the private sector, but unfortunately, the terms House Ethics and Oversight have essentially become oxymorons. The notion of Congressional accountability seems almost unattainable as dark money and a culture of cronyism and corruption seem to rule the day. There are flaws in the Congressional Accountability Act and for starters I’d ensure members are held accountable to pay settlements, instead of the taxpayers being on the hook for their harassment and misdeeds. I would also add protections for unpaid staff, interns, and fellows who are also vulnerable to harassment and assault.
R: Sexual harassment and assault is a very serious issue and should be addressed with serious measures. Just this year, I voted in favor of bipartisan legislation to amend the Congressional Accountability Act to increase transparency, accountability and provide stronger protections for employees as well as to create an independent office for those needing guidance and counsel when encountering harassment issues in the workplace. In accordance with this law, my staff and I participated in an education program regarding workplace rights and responsibilities.