Three candidates will be running for the North Carolina State Senate seat representing District 31 in next month’s primary election. All three candidates will be on the Republican ballot. No Democrats filed for election for the open state Senate seat in District 31.
In the running are incumbent Joyce Krawiec, Dempsey Brewer and Steve Wiles.
If elected, Dempsey Brewer of East Bend would be the first Yadkin County native to represent the county in the state Senate in the last 50 years. Brewer has several goals in mind that specifically relate to Yadkin County.
“Yadkin County’s first priority is a county-wide water system. Sewer and road improvements and reducing red tape are also necessary to attract businesses. Increased and expanded access to the state community college system is a must. Government must provide top notch services and only those that are needed and at a reasonable cost. For example, there is currently no license tag agency in Yadkin County and farm tags or commercial tags cannot be purchased online. We need to either fix the system or remove the requirement. We should demand and get better services. The citizens of Yadkin have not received their fair share of state dollars for road construction and other state controlled services. It is too expensive to play catch-up without state assistance,” he said.
Brewer said his top three goals for District 31 included “attracting and retaining jobs, streamlining and improving government services and ensuring public safety and protection of individual rights.”
On the issue of employment, Brewer said, “parents and children should have the option of finding employment locally.”
“We need to provide an environment that attracts employment while retaining the country life,” Brewer said. “A dollar spent on expanding county water, expanding post-secondary education, or road construction, is much more useful to all of the citizens of this district as a whole than giving tax breaks to a single company or even a small group. If incentives to a single company are being considered, expanding the incentive to a larger group must be investigated. Giving money away while breaking the backs of the taxpayer is not an option. We must not just throw money at problems hoping to solve them.
“The measure of how much is spent has no relationship to the how effective a solution is. Government services must become more responsive to those they serve and provide the absolute best service for the lowest cost. We need ‘truth in government’ legislation. Any money collected for an identified purpose must go to that purpose. For instance, all of the profit from the ‘education lottery’ must go to education, and the gasoline tax for road construction. The expansion of sales tax and toll roads must be reversed. We should limit taxation to one tax per item. We must also rewrite state laws in favor of individual rights, such as with eminent domain laws. I want to make sure that I represent and serve the citizens of this district. All too often, I meet people who carry their own agenda, who seem to expect the citizens to serve them. In my occupation as an engineer and as a volunteer firefighter or as your elected Senator, my goal is to serve and to serve with honor.”
Brewer also said, “This is my home. I’ve served my community all of my adult life and I want to continue to serve the people in my district. I believe in Christian, constitutional and conservative principles; a simple, streamlined and supportive government, which is responsible, representative and resourceful.”
Incumbent Senator Joyce Krawiec of Kernersville served in the N.C. House of Representatives before being appointed to serve in the Senate upon the resignation of Sen. Peter Brunstetter at the end of 2013. Krawiec and her husband own a real estate development company in Kernersville.
Krawiec has been involved in many political organizations, she most recently served as the past vice chair of the North Carolina Republican Party and was recently appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory to the Council for Women. She also has served in numerous roles in the N.C. Federation of Republican Women and attends First Christian Church in Kernersville.
Krawiec calls herself a “Christian conservative Republican.”
Krawiec said that based on comments from district constituents, the main issues facing the region are jobs and education issues primarily related to the Common Core program.
“We must continue to reduce regulations and tax burdens for businesses in order for them to grow and create jobs,” Krawiec said. “Many are struggling with the uncertainty of the cost of ObamaCare and how it will affect their businesses. While ObamaCare is a federal issue, there are things that we can do here at home to improve our economy. In North Carolina, we have made some right steps in some areas, but there is still more that we can do. For example, the Tax Reform passed in the last session of the state Legislature will help recruit new business and help current businesses to grow. Government should not be an obstacle to business, but should get out of the way and let businesses produce jobs.”
On the topic of education, Krawiec said, “Common Core is a top down federal mandate in education. We all want tough standards, but they should be N.C. standards and they should be tested and input from teachers should be paramount. The Common Core standards were devised by folks who have much to be gained monetarily and advice was not sought from teachers. In the N.C. Legislature, we have held meetings and have heard from parents and teachers as well as members of DPI who adopted the standards. I believe that our legislators will be dealing with Common Core in the short session.”
District 31 is comprised of both Yadkin and Forsyth counties. Though Yadkin is a more rural area than Forsyth County, Krawiec said that “the needs of the citizens are pretty much the same.”
“We all want access to good jobs and we want the freedom to enjoy our lives without the intrusion of Big Government,” she said. “Yadkin County is home to many businesses that are set for potential growth. I have met with a number of them and discussed plans for their future. I have done the same with the business community in Forsyth. The concerns from business owners are the same. Yadkin is more rural and has a large farming community that does have some specific needs, but citizens in both counties are concerned about the future. We are all concerned about the debt being left for future generations from the federal government and how that will impact our state and local communities.”
Krawiec also said that she hopes the citizens will feel free to contact her with concerns.
“I want them to realize that’s what I’m here for,” she said. “I am honored to serve the citizens of District 31. My goal is to serve those citizens, in whatever their needs may be as it relates to problems in dealing with state agencies. I have already been putting that promise to the test. I worked with Department of Transportation officials in getting approvals for projects in Yadkin County that had been on the waiting list for some time. I worked with volunteer firefighters in getting driveway permits for a satellite fire station. I have also been working with DOT to finalize a roundabout at PVH Lane and 67 in Jonesville. After a long wait, I am happy to report that I was notified by a DOT official that the bidding process began on April 3. I have also assisted many in acquiring commercial drivers licences who had been waiting for months in some cases. Citizens should not need to request help from their elected officials in order to solve simple problems, but somehow that has become necessary to wind through the maze of bureaucracy in many cases. I hope to see improvement in state government in their responsiveness to the citizens. As the representative of the citizens, I will continue to serve in any capacity necessary.”
Steve Wiles of Belews Creek is also a real estate broker. Wiles said he is an active volunteer in Forsyth County, particularly with groups relating to foster care, education and mentoring for young people.
Wiles also said that education was one of the top issues affecting District 31 and the state at large.
“We can’t stand back and hope it fixes itself,” Wiles said. “We spend more money on education and we have close to the worst results. Our kids are not stupid and we don’t have bad teachers. We have great teachers but when I look at the pay of the administrators and then look at the pay of the actual teachers, I get pretty angry.”
Wiles also said that spending in general was a concern for the state and that the state budget needed to be “brought under control.”
Though Wiles is a resident of Forsyth County, he said Belews Creek is “a very rural area of [Forsyth] County” and not that dissimilar from Yadkin County.
“We are closer in to Winston-Salem and Greensboro, but we’re still very rural so I understand that there are some needs and some situations that arise in a rural community that maybe doesn’t affect the inner city quite as much,” Wiles said. “We have to have farms. We have to have people in the rural areas doing what they do best and they’ve always made it, actually with less fluctuation in the market than in the inner city.”
Wiles also said that “education in rural communities is very important.”
Wiles said that his primary message for the people of District 31 is, “America is a great country. America has always been a great country because it was founded on great values and great principles. We’re having a hard time right now and we’ve gotten ourselves in bad shape and we’ve done so fairly quickly, but we have been in worse situations. It’s still fixable and I think that we need to get back to the foundation, the fundamentals, of what the country was founded on and the morals that the county was founded on.”
For more information about each candidate running for the state Senate seat in District 31, visit www.joyceforsenate.com, www.wiles4senate.com and www.brewer4senate.com. Dempsey Brewer will give a brief talk at the Candiate Forum hosted by the Yadkin County Chamber of Commerce on April 22.
Kitsey E. Burns can be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.