Butterfield, Allison face off in 1st District race

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An experienced businessman is doing his best to highlight the differences between his platform and longtime U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield in hopes of being elected to represent the 1st Congressional District.

Roger Allison will represent the Republican Party on the ballot, while Democrat Butterfield seeks an eighth term to represent the district in Washington, D.C.

The Wilson Times surveyed the candidates on relevant issues in the race and presents their responses of 100 words or less in the fourth of a series of candidate questionnaires ahead of the general election on Nov. 6.

Why do you believe you’re the best candidate to provide Wilson County with effective representation in Washington?

ALLISON: Over 14 years, G.K. Butterfield is associated with 92 bills, and only 11 have passed; however, nine of those 11 were simply renaming public facilities. In addition, one out of three citizens are in poverty and 10 of our 14 county’s populations are depleting due to the lack of opportunity. I am a businessman having grown eight health care and technology companies (one IPO, sold three, left last with a $42 million valuation). Therefore, I know how to grow communities and opportunity to ensure that earned success is achievable for every willing worker. We deserve prosperity, and we deserve better than Butterfield.

BUTTERFIELD: I am honored to represent my hometown of Wilson and the 1st District in Congress. Since coming to Congress in 2004, I have used my position to pass legislation, many on a bipartisan basis, to help improve the lives of eastern North Carolinians. I have worked to deliver results for constituents: from helping direct millions of federal dollars to our communities, to securing funds for the Wilson streetscape project, to helping secure billions to rebuild after Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. I am proud of what we’ve accomplished, and I will continue to work in the best interest of the constituents.

Should Congress commit to passing a balanced budget? How do you view deficit spending and the growing national debt?

ALLISON: Yes. As N.C. has proven, economic results can’t be achieved by lowering taxes alone. Instead, lowered taxes must be combined with spending cuts. I believe in free markets and competition, but Butterfield believes in single-payer health care of which will increase our national debt from its current $21 trillion to $55 trillion in less than 10 years. Deficit spending is necessary in times of crisis, such as Sept. 11. However, increasing the national debt, as Obama did, simply to expand Medicaid programs to 50 percent of some populations is reckless. Instead, all new funding for programs should be coupled with cost efficiencies.

BUTTERFIELD: Congress must commit to working together to stabilize the nation’s finances and find solutions to put the country on a better path. I am concerned that the tax plan passed by Republicans last year will add to our country’s growing debt while jeopardizing important programs that assist North Carolinians such as Medicare and Medicaid. I am ready to support a budget that puts the interests of eastern North Carolinians first.

What future do you envision for the Affordable Care Act? How would you reform the health care system?

ALLISON: Health care has become unaffordable. I am forced to use the “Affordable” Care Act as a small business owner (less than four employees). My premium is $969 per month with a $7,000 deductible totaling $19,000 per year before I see $1 in benefits. Family coverage is $2,300 per month, which is greater than most people’s rent or mortgage. We need common sense coverage. I propose we utilize concierge medicine offered by 30 percent of nationwide primary care physicians for outpatient services coupled with a national catastrophic/stop-gap policy to cover hospitalization. Total independent cost can be less than $300 per month or $100 per month if through a self-insured employer.

BUTTERFIELD: As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I was proud to have had a hand in writing the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), which radically transformed our country’s health care system by ensuring coverage for over 20 million Americans who were not previously covered, including 35,000 people in North Carolina’s 1st District. I support stabilizing the Affordable Care Act, fighting for better access to care in rural areas and continuing the call for Medicaid expansion in our state, which would make health coverage available to more than 650,000 North Carolinians.

Should the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act tax reductions be repealed, revised or made permanent? What are your priorities for the tax code?

ALLISON: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act should be made permanent beyond 2020. Matter of fact, Congress is working on a second round of tax cuts that will focus on small businesses — of which I support. N.C. was the poster child for the TCJA (reduced personal taxes by 30 percent and business taxes by 60 percent), and it reversed a state deficit of $4 billion to a surplus within three years while funding all of the rainy-day funds in our state. Likewise, the reduced payroll taxes nationally should bring in increased spending taxes to facilitate paying off the $21 trillion debt.

BUTTERFIELD: I believe the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will have lasting negative effects on our economy, adding $1.8 trillion to the deficit while providing 83 percent of its tax breaks to the wealthiest 1 percent.

I am ready to work on bipartisan tax reform that makes improvements to the tax code that would benefit the majority of Americans, not the wealthiest few. We must also consider how to invest in our nation’s infrastructure, health care system and educational system to improve the lives of North Carolinians.

If elected, how would you as a member of Congress view your role regarding President Trump’s legislative agenda?

ALLISON: President Trump has already fulfilled many of his promises; however, he needs help to re-invent, pass and deploy health care affordability of which is my background. His policy regarding immigration highlights security, and I would help to pass common-sense immigration reform (pathway to legal status for DACA+, change chain migration, use e-Verify, replace the Visa lottery with merit-based, build the wall). I would further protect children from human trafficking and embrace an educational revolution to improve outcomes, enhance military and veteran spending. Finally, I would protect the constitutional rights of religion and speech as well as sexual, racial and political equality.

BUTTERFIELD: I remain willing to work with the White House and my colleagues in Congress to pass legislation that will improve the lives of North Carolinians and Americans. It is time for President Trump to work to bring Americans together to tackle the big challenges facing our country. If re-elected, I am ready to hold President Trump accountable at every turn while also pushing forward on a positive agenda to get things done for the people of eastern North Carolina.