Saturday, November 03, 2012 12:51 AM
Senate candidates seek to be voice for voters
Tolling I-95, funding education key issues in District 4 race
By Olivia Neeley | Times Staff Writer
Republican candidate Warren Scott Nail will face off against incumbent Ed Jones, a Democrat, in the race for the N.C. Senate District 4 seat.
Jones, who has served three terms in the state senate, has also served one term in the House.
Due to redistricting, portions of Wilson County are now included in District 4.
Nail is a former truck driver of nearly two decades who is now on disability due to back-related problems. Jones is a retired state highway patrolman and former chief of police in Enfield.
Nail said he decided to run for office after becoming frustrated with the blame game on both sides of the politics. "Nobody wants to take responsibility for their own actions in politics these days,” Nail said. "We are not re-electing a Democrat or Republican, but what people need in their district.”
Nail contends the legislature has given more power to state agencies, which he believes is another way for them to not be held responsible. "They don’t want to have accountability,” he said, adding that the power needs to go back to the General Assembly.
Nail said he’s against the I-95 toll project.
"That is going to kill eastern North Carolina,” Nail said. "It’s going to hurt commuters. It’s just going to hurt communities. Everyone is going to suffer from it.”
Nail said he would also like to remove certain regulations.
"We want to protect our air and water,” he said. "But there are certain things (regulations) that are smothering North Carolina.”
When it comes to economic development, Nail sees agriculture as a big business in North Carolina and said he believes the state should be "courting businesses that manufacture agricultural equipment.” He said with a large number of former military personnel in the state, defense type of manufacturing should also be looked into when it comes to bringing jobs to North Carolina.
"We’ve got people who know what to do in certain industries,” he said. "Why aren’t we courting those certain industries?”
Nail said he would also like to see North Carolina restructure its tax system to make the state more attractive to industries. He also believes special interest groups should not get money from the state.
"That’s telling individuals, who they have to give money to,” he said.
When it comes to education, Nail said the state needs to bring accountability back into the schools. Nail said the amount the state has invested per student is adequate.
"Learning today is different,” he said. "A lot of (students) know what they need. Talk to youth. They know what is working and what’s not working. Look at these charter schools, what are they doing right that our public schools aren’t. We have to challenge our teachers and we have to challenge our students.”
Nail also said he supports keeping residential schools open, including the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf. Nail said the schools for the deaf prepare the deaf to work in the community.
While Nail has had six back operations, he said that hasn’t stopped him from running for office.
"I also believe in being a citizen legislator and not a career politician,” he said. "I hope everybody can look at the situation (the current legislature) and make up their own mind. I would appreciate their vote.”
Jones wants more money spent on education.
"The budget is the same no matter who you vote for, so it is important to vote for someone who has the same priorities as you have,” Jones has said in earlier interviews with The Wilson Times. "I am for putting more money in our schools for our children in the classrooms. Children don’t vote, so many times they don’t get what they should from those who are in office. It should not be that way.”
Jones, who has been battling cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, said he wants to continue to help those who don’t have a voice.
"There are some people who are connected — they have a voice,” Jones has said. "But I’m interested in those little people who need my voice to be heard to help them.”
Jones has been involved here in Wilson County. He was one of several legislators who attended weekly and monthly meetings to ensure the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf remained open. Jones worked in collaboration with others in the General Assembly to put together a plan of action. He has said in previous interviews that he fully understands the importance of ENCSD because children in the counties he represented at the time attended school there.
Jones, who serves on the Justice and Public Safety committee, has said that once prisoners have completed their sentence it’s important for them to be productive.
"We have to find a way to help them back into society so they can be productive,” he said. "Sometimes people don’t forgive. …When a prisoner has completed their sentence, society won’t forgive them, so they can’t get jobs. But they need jobs.”
Jones is one of the primary sponsors of a Senate bill to require a study of the effects of tolls on Interstate 95 and to require approval from the General Assembly before tolls are permitted. Senator Buck Newton, a Wilson Republican, is also one of the primary sponsors of that bill.
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