Meghan Burris, Press Secretary for Speaker of the North Carolina General Assembly and US Senate candidate Thom Tillis, responds to Duke students’ biggest questions about Speaker Tillis’ tenure in NC government, and his campaign for the US Senate.
By Tanner Lockhead.
1) If elected, what will be Speaker Tillis’ top legislative priority? What issue or law does Speaker Tillis most prioritize? – Kristen Larson
First and foremost, Thom will immediately work to rein in the Obama Administration’s reckless spending. Thom knows we need to get our economy back on track and work across the aisle to pass a balanced budget. He will work to ensure that younger generations have the same opportunity to achieve the American Dream as he had growing up in a working-class family.
2) In the past, Speaker Tillis has not supported passing an “Equal Pay for Equal Work” bill, and has presided over a legislative session that has restricted access to healthcare for women. If elected, how will Speaker Tillis be an advocate for women in the US Senate? – Zack Fowler
As a husband and father of a daughter in nursing school, Thom knows that our country still has a long way to go to achieve workplace fairness for women, and that’s why he believes the government should punish employers who discriminate.
3) Where does Speaker Tillis stand with regard to the 2nd amendment, and does he support universal background checks for gun owners? – Mindy McTeigue
Thom has fought to protect 2nd Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens and has pushed to increase criminal penalties for those who aren’t. Thom opposes universal background checks and will fight any effort to require federal permission for firearm transfers between friends and relatives.
4) Speaker Tillis has sued to uphold Amendment One’s ban on same-sex marriage in NC. However, dozens of federal court rulings have struck down similar bans, and a recent ruling in Asheville has legalized same-sex marriage in NC. What is Speaker Tillis’ reaction to this decision, and how does he plan to be advocate for LGBT North Carolinians in the Senate? – Steve Brenner
It’s Thom’s responsibility to uphold the will of North Carolinians. Two years ago, 60 percent of North Carolinians voted to constitute marriage between a man and woman. The recent court rulings are another example of government overreach and Thom will work to ensure North Carolinians and all Americans are protected from activist liberal judges.
5) Student loans are a key economic issue for many Duke students, and for students across North Carolina. What is Speaker Tillis’ position on allowing students to refinance their student loans, and on improving the job market for recent graduates? –Priyanka Venkannagari
Thom is not against refinancing student loans – he’s against politically motivated legislation that adds to our national debt and fails to create opportunities for college graduates.
Thom knows firsthand what it’s like to not be able to afford college, having spent years working before he earned his degree. The student loan bill Kay Hagan often refers to is nothing more than an election-year political stunt that would have significantly increased the national debt, wouldn’t have made college more affordable and wouldn’t have done anything to create jobs for the millions of recent graduates who are unemployed because of the failed economic policies of Kay Hagan and President Obama.
6) Recently passed voter ID laws, as well as additional restrictions on voting, will likely have a disproportionate impact on college students—especially students at Duke. What is the Speaker’s stance on these laws, and how does he plan to engage students in the upcoming election? – Steven Soto
Thom supports the recent Voter ID law, as do more than 70 percent of North Carolinians. The law passed to protect the integrity of the ballot box and ensure all voting practices are appropriate and legal.
Thom has spent quite some time working with college students, engaging them on relevant issues and working closely with our College Republicans and Young Republicans coalitions. Thom will continue to reach out to college students throughout the election period and after he’s elected to the U.S. Senate.
7) What is Speaker Tillis’ stance on Obamacare and the NC General Assembly’s decision not to expand Medicaid in NC? – Ben Chesnut
Thom will immediately get to work to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with market-based solutions that work for all Americans. ObamaCare is nothing but a burden on middle class families and last year alone more than 473,000 North Carolinians received health care cancellation notices.
North Carolina did not expand Medicaid because of the tremendous burden it would place on the state budget, which would require painful cuts. North Carolina’s Medicaid system has some issues, and Thom has been one of the leading advocates for reforming the system.
8) Speaker Tillis has stated that he considers the minimum wage a state-issue, and has not taken a firm stance on the federal minimum wage. Does the Speaker support raising the federal minimum wage? – Hanna Miriam
Thom knows what it’s like to work on minimum wage. He believes working for the minimum wage should be looked at as a stepping stone to better opportunities, and will go to Washington to make sure we create jobs and provide more job opportunities for all Americans.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that a federal minimum wage increase would destroy more than 500,000 jobs. Thom believes that increasing the minimum wage should be decided at the state level.