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N.C. Council of State endorsements

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The N.C. Council of State consists of nine executive offices elected by the voters. The offices are: Lieutenant Governor; Secretary of State; Attorney General; Agriculture Commissioner; Insurance Commissioner; Labor Commissioner; Superintendent of Public Instruction; State Treasurer; and State Auditor.

The Daily Reflector offers its endorsements for the following candidates:

Lieutenant Governor: endorses Pitt County native Democrat Linda Coleman over Republican incumbent Dan Forrest. Coleman is a strong public education supporter, supports workforce development through the community college system and will fight for a more robust middle-class. She opposes HB2 and supports Medicaid expansion. Forrest is a strong advocate for privatized education. He led the legislative action that created HB2, opposes women's reproductive health care choices and opposes Medicaid expansion.

Secretary of State: endorses Democratic incumbent Elaine Marshall over Republican Michael LaPaglia. She has decades of experience overseeing the state's business-related operations and holding down costs for business owners while preserving government transparency. LaPaglia has no government experience, and proposes less government oversight, liabilities at this juncture in state economic development efforts.

Attorney General: endorses Democratic former N.C. Senate minority whip Josh Stein over  Republican N.C. Sen. Buck Newton. Stein favors stronger protections against domestic violence and LGBT discrimination, DNA sampling of convicted of violent criminals and strengthened safety in public schools. He will be a strong consumer protection advocate. Newton is extremely conservative on all social issues, sponsored the hastily enacted HB2, opposes legalized same-sex marriage, supports voter ID and gerrymandering and has had most of his initiatives overturned by federal courts.

Superintendent of Public Instruction: endorses incumbent Democrat June Atkinson over Republican challenger Mark Johnson. The two candidates share similar views on many educational issues, but Atkinson's experience and strength opposite the State Legislature to preserve public education against the current tide of privatization efforts makes her continued service at this time critical.

Agriculture Commissioner: endorses Republican  incumbent Steve Troxler over Democratic challenger Walter Smith. Troxler has done a good job of helping farmers preserve their land and find innovative business management avenues.

Labor Commissioner: endorses Democratic challenger Charles Meeker over Republican incumbent Cherie Berry, who favors abolishing the minimum wage. She is best known for requiring her photo to be visible in every elevator in the state. Meeker would replace those photos with portraits of first responders.

Insurance Commissioner: endorses Democratic incumbent Wayne Goodwin over Republican challenger John Causey. Goodwin is a proven consumer watchdog and cost saver. Causey favors deregulation and allowing out-of-state-insurance companies to compete in North Carolina, including in the health-care market, a dangerous combination for consumers.

State Treasurer: endorses Republican former state legislator and assistant commerce secretary Dale Folwell over Democratic lawyer and Wall Street investment banker Dan Blue III. Folwell is dedicated to preserving the state employees' pension fund by closing the gap between funds and payments. Blue is a sharp investment expert and fund manager. It's a tough choice.

State Auditor: endorses incumbent Democrat Beth Wood over Republican challenger and former FBI agent Charles Stuber Jr. Wood has decades of auditing experience and has been instrumental in uncovering millions in excessive health care costs.

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