2022 primary elections: Everette S. Newton is a candidate for the US Senate
NORTH CAROLINA — Everette S. (Rett) Newton, a Beaufort Democrat, is running for the U.S. Senate. Newton must defeat 10 other Democratic primary candidates to secure his place in the general election.
Port City Daily sent out a questionnaire to all candidates on ballots in the tri-county area, even those unopposed. For federal and state offices, we asked applicants to address issues relevant to Cape Fear: PFAS, offshore wind, affordable housing, and more.
The paywall is deposited on the profiles to help voters make informed decisions.
As a reminder, the early voting period runs from April 28 to May 14. The voter registration deadline is April 22. Voters can register same day throughout the two-week early voting period (check if your registration is active at your current address).
Primary election day is May 17. Voters will choose the candidates from their registered party that they wish to advance in the official election. Those registered as unaffiliated can choose the party primary in which they wish to vote.
Newton’s positions on the issues are discussed below. All responses are included in their entirety and the candidate’s opinions and statements do not reflect Port City Daily. Responses are edited for grammar, spelling, and clarity only.
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Rett Newton (RN): I’m a retired Air Force colonel, former mayor of the beautiful city of Beaufort, North Carolina, Duke University doctoral candidate studying marine science and conservation, and I’m running for the US Senate. After the January 6, 2021 uprising, I realized that I could not sit on the sidelines while our democracy is under attack. For context, I was an F-15 squadron commander in Goldsboro, NC on 9/11 and on that horrible day we were asked to launch our fighter jet with real weapons and rules of engagement which included the possibility of having to shoot down a civilian airliner. I experienced the sinking feeling of “how can this happen in our country?” Fast forward 20 years as I watched the 06/01/2021 insurrection, under completely different circumstances, but again with the same sinking feeling of “how can this happen in our country?”
Our campaign framework includes protecting democracy (at home and abroad), reversing the effects of climate change, protecting our environment, and helping the tens of thousands of North Carolinians who are caught trapped in the wealth gap and really struggling with the lack of affordability. healthcare, housing, food, broadband and transportation.
PCD: Name three projects for which you would advocate funding and why.
RN: 1) Protect Democracy – Whether it’s holding those accountable for their actions before, during or after Jan. 6, or ensuring the right to vote for all Americans. We need to replace the guardrails and, at a minimum, we should consider the Protecting Our Democracy Act as proposed by Rep. Adam Schiff. Protecting democracy also means helping to support other nations, like Ukraine, where democracy is under attack.
2) Reverse the effects of climate change – We are in a climate crisis. As a scientist, I fully understand the human impacts that cause climate change. As mayor of a coastal community, I had to constantly prepare for and react to the increased frequency and ferocity of storms (and associated rainfall). We must be a world leader in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and building a cleaner, greener economy.
3) Helping our most vulnerable citizens – Recent hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed our nation’s wealth gap where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Our most vulnerable citizens are trapped and we must help these citizens with initiatives that include raising the minimum wage, strengthening workers’ rights and protections, better access to health care, debt reduction student, achieving universal pre-K education, improving access to child care.
PCD: Do you support the development of offshore wind power? Tax breaks for clean energy? To explain.
RN: There is a thriving clean and green industry in North Carolina that, with the right incentives, is poised to thrive. We are in the Top 5 in the country for solar and in the northeast of the state there is already a huge wind farm. It is logical that we also turn to offshore wind energy. This helps reduce dependence on fossil fuels, but can also provide business opportunities for our ports in Wilmington and Morehead City during the research, construction, operation and maintenance phases of offshore wind energy.
PCD: What are the top priorities for meeting infrastructure needs in North Carolina?
RN: Infrastructure is more than roads and bridges. A holistic infrastructure plan also includes broadband, education, and medical care (eg, prevention, mental health, addiction). As a United States Senator, I will work with the Governor and Legislature to develop a strong infrastructure plan to support all North Carolina residents.
PCD: How would you propose that everyone in North Carolina have access to affordable health care?
NR: First, we must embrace the Medicaid expansion that will positively affect more than 500,000 North Carolina residents, create thousands of jobs, and provide billions of dollars in economic development. The US bailout has lifted more of the burden from states, so let’s go!
Second, we must work towards health for all. There is already an infrastructure in place to support Medicare, so for me, this provides the best opportunity for access to health care for all. Private insurance will still be available for those who prefer this option. But a strong health care system should be in place for all Americans, including preventive, dental, hearing, and vision care.
PCD: Do you support actions to make North Carolina a more equitable state and provide opportunities for historically marginalized populations?
RN: Let’s realize that the wealth gap is structural, work to reduce it and help our most vulnerable citizens. We must help these citizens with initiatives that include raising the minimum wage, strengthening workers’ rights and protections, improving access to health care, reducing student debt, achieving pre-school education success. K universal and improving access to childcare services.
PCD: Coming out of 2021, where NC has raised over $400 million from film projects, should North Carolina take steps to strengthen the industry, like improving subsidies?
RN: Yes, objectively you can see a clear return on investment. Subjectively, this industry can showcase the best of North Carolina, which will attract more business and opportunity. It is disappointing that some production crews have had to leave the state when opportunities exist in our great state.
PCD: How far should the state go to attract businesses and promote economic development?
RN: With many companies already coming to our state, it looks like we are already an attractive business destination. Now we need to work on getting more business opportunities to settle in our rural areas. This may require investment in sewage treatment plants in areas that may be desirable but lack this important infrastructure.
PCD: What needs to be done to address PFAS in North Carolina drinking water?
RN: Historically, chemicals such as polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have polluted streams and drinking water throughout the state (e.g. Cape Fear River, Haw River, Neuse River) . We need a robust state (NC DEQ) and federal (EPA) research program specifically designed to better understand the extent of this pollution, and then work with resident or non-resident experts to take mitigation measures. The companies that contributed to this contamination must provide a portion of the funding to support these efforts.
PCD: How should the State improve its flood resilience plan to prevent disaster scenarios, such as the aftermath of Hurricane Florence?
RN: We need to continue to understand North Carolina’s floodplains, deter development in these areas, and determine how climate change will affect these areas in the future (e.g. increased frequency/ferocity of storms, sea level rise).
At the same time, we must help those hundreds of families who have still not recovered from hurricanes Florence, Dorian and/or Isaias. The number of houses that still have blue tarps on their roofs is staggering. Since the needs of these families are different, we need to establish a grant program to help these families recover.
PCD: What are the main issues in our K-12 schools right now and how would you tackle them?
RN: The biggest issue is the decline in support for public education, which includes stagnating teacher salaries, lack of support for infrastructure, reappropriation of public education funds for private schools and an effort concerted to sow distrust of public school teachers, staff and programs. I do not support the privatization of our public education and, as your US Senator, I will strive to fully fund our public school systems.
PCD: What resources do we need to continue to fight against Covid-19? How to prepare for a future pandemic?
RN: We must fully support medical research through the Department of Health and Human Services at the state and federal levels to prepare for the mutations of COVID-19. This research will lead to better vaccines, better personal protective equipment and innovative techniques like sewage sampling to determine outbreaks long before patients become symptomatic.
PCD: What is your position on the decriminalization of marijuana? To explain.
RN: Approving marijuana for medical purposes is a given. Under a doctor’s care, marijuana should be available as a means of controlling pain.
I also think recreational marijuana, if regulated, is an option as long as THC levels can be controlled to reduce addiction potential.
Do you have any advice or comments? Email [email protected]
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