I got my first gun when I was 10 years old. My grandmother taught me how to squirrel hunt, and I've appreciated the value of a firearm since that time. My work in law enforcement with the Pamlico County Sherriff's Office taught me the benefits of citizens being able to protect themselves with a firearm. I wholeheartedly support the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution which states: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." I have been endorsed by the NRA since taking office, and I am a lifetime member. I also have been endorsed by Grassroots North Carolina. I do not believe the government should infringe upon our rights to keep and bear arms, and I have supported every gun rights bill in the General Assembly during my tenure there.
From my start in the workforce at age five on my family farm (I was paid a few pennies each week) to my first "official" job driving a tobacco truck from the warehouse to the packing facility to my time as a small business owner, I have seen the value of having a good job to support my family. Job creation is based upon three things: 1. Reduction of regulations for businesses and industries, 2. Lower taxes on job creators, and 3. Proper training for success on the job. I have sponsored legislation to accomplish all of these things and more. I believe our state should offer even more tax incentives for businesses to go into Tier 1 counties. A lack of broadband is one of the biggest hinderances we're facing in our Tier 1 counties, and my colleagues and I have been diligently working on this issue and making great progress in partnership with our local electric cooperatives.
Both the farming and fishing industries are key job creators in Eastern North Carolina. I understand the value of both having grown up on a family farm and having lived in Pamlico County and represented Carteret County where commercial fishing and recreational fishing are important to our livelihood. I co-sponsored the last two farm bills which addressed the onerous regulations that hinder farmers and many other businesses. I was the primary sponsor on a bill known as the "Oyster Bill", expanding the oyster industry in NC and providing $1 million for loans to those who want to start oyster sanctuaries. I was also the primary sponsor of a bill that reorganized the NC Division of Marine Fisheries to make decision-making less politically driven and more scientifically based.
Since I have been in office starting in 2013, our Republican-led legislature has steadily reduced by personal taxes and corporate taxes. Our state is headed in a direction to get rid of all corporate taxes so that North Carolina will be one of the tops states to attract businesses and thus jobs. When I first took office, the NC personal income tax rate was 7.75%. It's not 4.99% with plans to reduce this even more. We are headed in the right direction!
Under a Republican-led legislature, we have given teacher raises for the last five years. North Carolina is now second highest in the southeast in teacher salaries. I support providing matching state government funds for teacher supplements given by Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties in order to help retain teachers. I also believe that additional state lottery funds should be used to provide forgivable loans to Tier 1 counties to help them build schools. I believe the greatest threat to our educational success right now is the learning gap caused by virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe giving students a comprehensive test to see which students are behind and providing funding for remediation of such students in after school programs would help this situation. I also believe educational initiatives in our area would benefit from broadband expansion, and the current budget we passed sets aside $1 billion for broadband expansion, particularly in Tier 1 counties.
I believe in parents of school students being given the opportunity for school choice. I believe in the sanctity of human life and have co-sponsored the Heartbeat Bill and the Born-Alive Bill. I have co-sponsored Right to Worship laws which prevent government entities from closing places of worship at will. I believe that it is important to support and fund our law enforcement and other first responders. I co-sponsored the Critical Race Theory bill to prevent school personnel from the racially-motived indoctrination of our public school students. I believe that voting integrity is key to a free society, and I have co-sponsored legislation since I took office to implement Voter ID. I believe we are coming closer to the implementation of Voter ID despite it being blocked by liberal judges in our court system. I also believe in transparency at all levels of government. As such, I believe the federal government should be honest and upfront with all data related to the origin of COVID-19 and subsequent vaccinations.