ELECTION 2024: Q&A for N.C. House Candidates
Published 10:25 am Thursday, February 8, 2024
Editor’s Note: For coverage of the primary election, The Stanly News & Press sent questions to each group of candidates. We limited their responses to 200 words per answer. Answers appear as is, with the exception of editing for grammatical/spelling errors or length. This allows potential voters to see the candidates through their own words and gives equal opportunity for the candidates to respond. We gave candidates two weeks to email their answers back.
N.C. House District 67
1. Tell us a little about your background. Why are you seeking this position?
Cody Huneycutt: I’m a small cattle farmer from Western Stanly County. I went to Endy Elementary, West Stanly High School (Class of ’09), Stanly Community College and University of North Carolina – Charlotte (Class of 2014). I have a double major degree in Political Science and History.
Upon graduation, I received an offer to work in the House of Representatives covering tax packages, banking law, revenue law and unemployment insurance law with Rep. Julia Howard. I did this for 6 years before transferring into a policy advisor role for the Health Committee and the budget/Appropriations Committee with Rep. Wayne Sasser and Rep. Larry Potts, where I have worked on key issues for Stanly and Montgomery counties for the last 3 years. This includes work on the State Budget, which resulted in record funding brought back to our district in 2023.
I’m in a unique position to have the experience and knowledge needed to hit the ground running on day one, keeping our district from lagging in benefit from an inexperienced Representative taking over the role. I want to continue to serve our district by fighting for key investment projects, tax cuts, and being a voice for the people who put me there.
Brandon King: I am a current business owner that employs real people. I have 3 children who have been educated in our current public education system. I spent over 10 years as a Law Enforcement Officer. My wife is a 29 year veteran of law enforcement.
I understand the real issues that the average person is dealing with in their daily life. I want to see our Educators, Emergency Personnel and Law Enforcement be treated with respect and appreciation for the job they do for our community.
I look forward to being a voice for the people of Montgomery and Stanly County.
2. How should our county and state handle the opioid epidemic?
Cody Huneycutt: Securing the U.S. Border would have great impact on combating the opioid epidemic, but unfortunately this cannot be controlled on the state or county level.
As part of the 2023 State Budget, Rep. Wayne Sasser and I were tasked with allocating opioid settlement money from several national lawsuits to different organizations throughout North Carolina, to help combat the opioid epidemic. None of the money from any of these settlements is NC taxpayer money. We visited various organizations and rehab facilities across the state and reviewed their rehab results data to determine how to best allocate funds for successful outcomes.
A percentage of this settlement money will funnel down separately to the 17 largest municipalities and all 100 counties within the state, allowing local area elected officials to more specifically allocate those funds for area needs. All this money provides crucial investments into opioid treatment facilities for those who are struggling with addiction.
I believe the remaining money that has not yet been allocated on the state level should be given to the counties that are most affected by the opioid epidemic and to specific nonprofit rehab facilities within the state with proven track records for successful rehabilitation.
Brandon King: Our State should handle the opioid epidemic with the utmost urgency. This is a growing problem that requires more immediate action. We need to invest in more long term treatment. These are not issues that can be resolved in 28 days. 28 day facilities are a good start, but they will not produce the results we desperately need to see.
3. What do you think Rep. Sasser did right during his tenure? Is there something you would have voted on differently?
Cody Huneycutt: Rep. Sasser has fought for key investment projects within our district while standing on conservative principles.
A topic of question during his tenure was Medicaid Expansion. I would have advocated for a strong working provision to have been added to this bill prior to passing, requiring that the individual would have to work a full-time job to be a recipient. To clarify, due to the Affordable Care Act of 2010 every insurance plan is charged a 3.8% tax premium. This tax premium has been collected from NC since 2010, totaling $1.6 billion, and was being sent to the federal government, which was then funding Medicaid Expansion in other states like California.
By approving Medicaid Expansion for NC, we were able to get the $1.6 billion back that had been collected from our state. This allows us to use that money on our own people, not illegal immigrants. Medicaid Expansion is a federally funded program. It is not funded by personal income tax.
Under Republican leadership, NC has cut your state personal income tax rate over the last 9 years from 7.75% to 4.5% and is on track for 3.99% in 2026. NC is the 40th state to expand Medicaid.
Brandon King: Rep. Sasser has done a great job fighting the opioid epidemic. I will give him credit for all the front line work he has accomplished with the lawsuits against the pharmaceutical companies and the money it has put back in the communities to help with the epidemic.
I would have voted against the Medicaid Expansion. I believe this is a bad deal for our state. I understand the State received a lot of federal money for this, but it benefited the wrong groups more than it did the groups in need.
From the county perspective, our DHHS staff can not keep up with the caseload they have now, let alone adding another 4-6,000 users to it. The county did receive a couple new positions from the budget for the DHHS staff, but we currently have more positions available than we can fill.
I also would not have voted to raise our fuel tax by .02 cents when we are struggling with the largest inflation rates ever seen. NC is already one of the highest fuel taxes in the US and our citizens can’t keep footing the bills for wasteful spending.
4. What is your position regarding housing development and growth in the district? Should growth be encouraged or limited?
Cody Huneycutt: As a farmer, as well as someone who enjoys hunting, I value the rural areas of our district greatly. Having grown up in a farming family, I understand first-hand the importance of conserving our farmlands and easing burdens placed on our farmers. We cannot expect affordable groceries when housing developments are being planted where crops have always been.
Modest and healthy growth can be good for towns and cities to continue to fund the needs of their communities. However, my belief is that growth should be limited to the town and city limits. Decisions about growth need to be made at the local town council and county commission level to avoid big government overreach from state or higher levels of government.
For those towns and cities that choose to expand after listening to the desires of their citizens, I believe they should advocate for true brick and mortar homes which maintain in quality and help to carry the tax load via property taxes to help the county stay afloat financially.
The public shouldn’t be forced to pay higher taxes due to developers building cheap homes and stacking them on top of one another for profit.
Brandon King: I believe housing development should be made on a county basis and the state legislature should have no say in this. I believe the people of the county should be the decision makers in what takes place when it comes to housing. That is the reason I supported the 5 acre land use plan for rural agriculture. That is what the overwhelming Majority of Stanly County citizens wanted.
As elected officials, it is our jobs to listen to all the voters who put us in those positions and go with the majority!
5. Should there be term limits for this office? If so, what would you prefer?
Cody Huneycutt: Although there can be benefits of term limits for some offices, it is not needed for this one. Over the last 10 years, 83 of the 120 House of Representative positions in NC have changed members. Many of the remaining 37 positions are not seeking reelection this year.
This leaves few Representatives with the institutional knowledge and working experience necessary to teach new members the history, rules, policy and requirements of how the body has operated for nearly 200 years.
The knowledge I’ve gained over my 9 years working in Raleigh would allow me to have an advanced role in my first term as Representative compared to any other candidate. I understand how the House of Representatives works and can make an immediate impact for our district if elected.
As with any job, experience matters. You don’t want a police officer who hasn’t gone through BLET training. You don’t want firefighter or EMS personnel who are not equipped or trained to respond to an emergency situation. Likewise, you don’t want to have an NC House Representative who lacks the education and experience to effectively serve your community.
I’m here to fight for the betterment of Stanly and Montgomery counties.
Brandon King: I completely agree with term limits. I think 3-5 terms would be enough. These positions are not designed to be career positions. I feel that term limits will not fix the whole problem by itself.
I think if you want to fix the corruption that takes place in politics, the lobbyists should be prevented from being able to donate financially to candidates that will support their agendas.
I have no issue with people telling them what they want, but I don’t agree with votes being bought at any of the legislative levels.