We're on.

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I am happy and honored to announce that our Democratic candidates for governor will join us on Monday, March 31, at 7:45 pm, for the first online gubernatorial debate in North Carolina history. My deepest thanks to both candidates and their very busy campaign staffs, for working with us to make this event happen. In keeping with our commitment to transparency, here is the proposal that has been accepted by both campaigns. Now we need your help to make it happen. As you'll see below, your first job is to load up the questions.


We're very excited that both campaigns have agreed to participate in the BlueNC Democratic Gubernatorial Debate on March 31 at 7:45 pm. This email outlines our plans for the days leading up to the debate, and for the hour-long session itself. We are eager to provide an opportunity for as many people as possible to engage with the candidates, and we are also mindful of the need to deliver a responsible and respectful forum. Our plans are designed to balance all these considerations.

* On Wednesday, March 26, we will create a "Questions" thread for community members to post whatever questions and/or comments they wish. The BlueNC frontpagers will moderate the thread to ensure the questions are respectful and in line with our expectations for fairness. That thread will remain open through the evening of the debate so that both campaigns can see what questioners have on their minds. (Note: that's this thread.)

* On Sunday, March 30, the BlueNC frontpagers will identify four topics that seem especially worthy of debate, based on the questions posted. We will share those topics in general terms with both campaigns no later than 6:00 pm on Sunday, and will also post them on a new pre-debate thread.

* At 7:30 pm on Monday, March 31, we will open two new threads on the front page. First, we will have side by side features at the top of the front page in the green boxes. We'll flip a coin to see who gets the left column and who gets the right column. The "green" box will include a picture of the candidate (please send us the picture you wish for us to use), a note of welcome, a link to the candidate's main campaign web site, and a link to the candidate's debate thread.

* Below the green boxes on the front page will be the two main Q&A threads for the debate. Candidate Richard Moore Debate Thread and Candidate Bev Perdue Debate Thread. The top thread will be for the candidate who is featured the right-hand green box. The second thread will be for the candidate in the left-hand green box.

* At 7:45 we will welcome both candidates and post the first question simultaneously on both threads. Our frontpagers will be monitoring both threads carefully. We will delete inappropriate comments and questions immediately without explanation (they will simply disappear). We will post the second, third and fourth questions at 8:00, 8:15 and 8:30 respectively. At 8:45 we will post a thank you comment and officially end the debate.

* During the debate, you are free to handle questions in any way you see fit. You can respond with prepackaged content, you can respond to individual follow-up comments and questions from readers, you can post questions or comments on the other candidate's thread, and your surrogates/staffers are welcome to engage as much or as little as you wish. Again, we will monitor questions and comments to make sure the discussion stays focused, and to weed out inappropriate behavior.

* When the debate is over, we will open a Spin Zone thread at the top of the front page for further discussion. We will also leave the debate threads open as well, continuing to monitor for appropriateness. It is our expectation that discussion will continue on all fronts.

* We fully expect there to be a "long tail" of questions and comments for days after the debate. You are free to handle those questions in any way you prefer. We will be clear with readers, however, that you have not agreed to follow or participate in that ongoing discussion.

Again, we are very excited about this opportunity for you to interact directly with the thousands of readers who visit BlueNC every week. We have fine-tuned our technology platform, and have our hosting service on stand-by for whatever support may be necessary. We are committed to ensuring that things run smoothly and fairly.

As soon as we get your confirmation that these plans suit you, we will post this "Plan of Action" online so our readers know the debate is scheduled - and what our expectations are for community participation. Thank you for your willingness to join us.


James Protzman and Betsy Muse

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Pretty cool, heh?

This is your questions thread, your chance to let the candidates know what's on your mind in advance of their debate next Monday.

Pile on.


This earns a w00t!

Great work, you two. What a fantastic accomplishment!

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi


Thanks James and Betsy for pulling this together and thanks to Richard Moore and Bev Perdue for agreeing to participate.

First Question

Please name 3 reasons why you think your primary opponent would be a good governor.

Great Work

Thanks to all those working behind the scenes to make this happen (James, Betsy and the campaign staffs who are no doubt lurking on BlueNC).

I guess I've got 24 hours to think of a question.

There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

Death Penalty Question

Would you support a moratorium on the death penalty in North Carolina, and if the legislature fails to act, would you commute all death sentences during your term? If not, why?

Public vs. Private

State employees have access to for-profit retirement funds (TIAA/Vanguard/Fidelity/etc) and a public retirement fund (TSERS). One has more bells and whistles and used to return a better investment, one is state-run from the Treasurer's office and is boring and safe.

Why can't state employees have access to both for-profit and public health insurance plans? The current for-profit plan has "bells and whistles", but is incredibly expensive for state employees and state taxpayers. However, the state of North Carolina has a public plan - Medicaid - which has providers throughout the state and is more cost-effective.

The tax payers of North Carolina pay around $250 per employee per month for health insurance. Isn't it your responsibility to spend that money wisely, even if it means not using BCBS?

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Private armies in North Carolina

What is your position on having a huge mercenary army headquartered in our state?

Do you think it's fair to our tens of thousands of military families, some of whom are on food stamps, that the Federal government pays these mercenaries so much more than active duty soldiers?

If the stories are true, how do you feel about these armed mercenaries patrolling the neighborhoods near their headquarters?

Congratulations to Betsy and James

for all the leg work and head aches involved in putting this together. This is wonderful news!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions


The campaigns have been great. I can't imagine having their jobs, though. They live in a go-go-go-go world. Finding a date was really tricky, because their schedules are changing all the time.

Great Job Ya'll

Congrats to everyone invovled for pulling this together. Looking forward to leaving a question. :)

Climate Change

If elected Governor what *specifically* will YOU DO to address the threat of global climate change in the State of North Carolina?

Open Government

What specific actions will you take to challenge the good ole boy's system that permits powerful politicians, such as yourselves, to pressure state agencies to bend rules for favored constituents?

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

Congratulations, A et al,

On the first for N.C.!

I hope it will be the first of many, even in this election cycle.

I have no idea

why it double posted.

Fantastic job James and Betsy.

This is truly exciting!


Healthcare for all Americans is an extremely important topic and must be placed high on the priorities of our government.

What will you do, as Governor of North Carolina at a statewide level to begin ensuring that all North Carolina residents will receive healthcare at no less a level and at no greater expense than what is currently offered to State and Federal employees, prior to a National referendum on this issue? How can this be accomplished, and if you do not see this as attainable, what are your plans?

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

First Question: Collective Bargaining

North Carolina is one of the few states in the nation that prohibits the state government and local governments from collectively bargaining with their employees. As governor, will you support the repeal of G.S. 95-98 and finally allow public employees to have the same basic rights as private employees in North Carolina?

you stole my question

This is a basic human right, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Will you restore this right to North Carolina citizens?

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McCain - The Third Bush Term

Wont the equal right to seperate

effectively kill unions? As a company, I can lay off, or fire or what ever fancy word you wanna call it to anyone for any reason or no reason...same with quiting. I can just up a quit.

With that, it makes unions kinda tough to organize?


I don't quite understand your question.

I think what Parmea is asking

is since NC is a "Right to Work" state (pause for ironic sneer here), and employers can fire you just cause they feel like it, doesn't that undermine the power of a union?

well sure it does

Yeah, so called "Right to Work" laws hurt workers. But before we can tackle that problem we have to first restore the basic right to even join a union, which North Carolina currently denies to her employees.

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McCain - The Third Bush Term

Right to work

That's not what right to work means. Right to work means you can't have a "closed shop" in a workplace, meaning that employees don't have to pay union dues if they don't want to. It doesn't have anything to do with how easy it is to fire someone. All that is stipulated (if at all) in the collective bargaining agreement.

So if we allow public emloyees to collectively bargain, then it may weaken union strength somewhat because some folks won't pony up their fair share. But overall with this right to bargain (even in a right to work state), union strength and the ability to organize (and by extension, the strength of the progressive movement in this state) will still be orders of magnitude stronger than it is now.

Since I've been in NC

I've been taught (as an employer, mind you) that "right to work" equates to "at will employment". I'm gathering from your post that this is incorrect. Is it?

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

All I know

is the two jobs I have had in NC both had me sign a statement that said I can be released from employment for any reason and a reason does not have to be given me. I can quit for any reason and I do not have to provide a reason.

It seemed I also signed something like that for the few jobs I had in VA.

Only my Navy years had protections from firing for no reason or quiting. There, I had to do something really wrong to get "fired".


I think they get new victims employees to sign statements like this just to add some legal redundancy; to provide discouragement for employees filing legal claims for both illegitimate and legitimate causes. I'm no lawyer, but I'm not aware of any over-arching law that would allow you to fire someone for reasons otherwise protected against (sexual harassment etc).

It's certainly not what "right to work" means.

Right to work means the right to be a scab, the right to look at your fellow employees and say, I know you all want to be united and talk to the boss as a group, but I'm going to go behind you backs and take advantage of your efforts without actually sticking out my own neck.

Right to work laws were enacted by anti-union forces in order to divide workers against one another and aggrevate the free rider problem in collective bargaining.

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McCain - The Third Bush Term

It doesn't seem right that we all work in NC and I for one

don't really understand the employment laws here. It's something that touches most of us closely and the laws seem obscure somehow. Is that accidental?

I'm self employed now but it's been a nagging question in the past.

right to work

Jerimee has it right.

The only time there isn't at will employment, in any state, is when state and federal laws ban firing for a certain reason (like race) or without a process (like arbitration) or when a contract between an employer and an employee or that employee's bargaining agent (aka a union) stipulates as such.

Of course, if someone thinks they've been wrongfully terminated, they can always sue. But that doesn't diminish the right of the employer to fire at will.

So right to work is a different issue that involves weakening unions by having them bargain for all employees without all employees having to put in their fair share towards the union even though they derive all the benefits of having a union represent them (e.g. having 25% higher wages on average than a non-union shop).

And so the issue with NC employees is another separate issue involving a specific statute in state law that expressly prohibits governments from collectively bargaining with a union representing their employees. That's what we're hoping to get repealed soon.

My head is swimming

trying to figure this out.

Give me some Navy OLF documents. I can figure those out!


I know were I work, a union will never get in. so that portion of this equation is out.

uggggggg. Where is Adm. Anderson with another easy statement to digest.

I know very little about unions and labor laws

but I'm told that the problem with that part of Right to Work -- i.e., "you can't be forced to join and pay union dues in a union shop" -- is one sided because something about Federal law requires the union to legally represent non-members in any and all employment matters in an open union shop ... maybe because union/employer agreements have to cover all employees equally??? The result, I've been told, is that the union is effectively responsible for employees - their behavior, work habits, ethics, etc. -- with whom they have zero influence. I can see how that could weaken a union. Anyway, that's what I've been told ...fwiw.

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry Truman

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

yeah I think that's right

But just for clarity's sake, the bad "right to work" law and the bad no human rights for public employees law are separate issues.

We need to restore the right to association to public employees before we address the right to scab laws.

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McCain - The Third Bush Term


The ban on collective bargaining rights for public employees is a big reason why. That and the armed resistance to unions in the textile mills in the 1950s.

On the Arts....

It has been brought to my attention that Sec. Moore, if elected, would appoint someone who is extremely fiscally conservative to oversee the arts in NC. As our state is already struggling culturally, do you think it's good policy to jerk funding from museums?
Conversely, do either of the candidates have plans to ensure that the arts don't get left behind in tough budgetary times?

Very glad you brought this up

We're in college hunting for our daughter right now, and "arts" is near the top of our list when it comes to holistic learning. Hope you can visit tonight.

Are we still the Sahara of the Bozarts?

I, too, would like to know where they stand on building our cultural infrastructure.

The Department of Cultural Resources (State Library, Art Museum, History Museum, Folklore, Historic Sites, Archaeology, all the other cultural activities-) is the smallest department of state government, and invariably has its budget cut FIRST when belts tighten.

It's not clear that North Carolina politicians place any true value on the economic benefits of cultural development. Ironically, Richard Florida, in his book "The Rise of the Creative Class," actually compares the North Carolina Research Triangle (Raleigh/ Durham/ Chapel Hill, where the economy is booming, and his 'creative class' makes up more than 35 percent of the workforce) and the Triad (Greensboro/ High Point/ Winston-Salem, where the 'working class' makes up more than 30 percent of the workforce, and the region is struggling to reinvent an economy based on traditional industrial occupations.

Florida, at least, believes that the cultural amenities of a region are what attracts and keeps the creative class workers to an area, and makes a 21st century service economy possible. Yet the knee-jerk allegation of "pork barrel" spending is powerful enough not just to kill a dubious project like the Sparta Teapot Museum, but to gradually strangle the life out of an entire department of state government.

And this from a nominally Democratic Administration!

Health Care Constitutional Amendment

Question: Would you support and sign a constitutional amendment guaranteeing all North Carolinians access to affordable, quality health care?

Down East

What 3 things will you do to encourage economic development in eastern N.C. (east of I-95) for the non-coastal counties?

On Mental Health

Lt. Gov. Perdue,

While much of the blame for the mental health care mess has been foisted onto providers, it's clear that the errors made at the government level set the table for future problems. Which of these errors are you willing to take responsibility for, and what do you plan to do to remedy them?

Scrutiny Hooligans - http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us

Same question

Mr. Moore,

What errors were made by government in implementing the statewide mental health reform, and what will you do to remedy them?

Scrutiny Hooligans - http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us

A Few Questions

Clearly, I don't expect that all my questions will be asked or answered, but I thought I'd offer some (sorry it's last minute):

1. Given the political scandals that have embroiled elected officials from across the state recently, how would you, as Governor, set the tone for governing in North Carolina? More specifically, what ideas do you have about increasing transparency and/or ethics reform?

2. I've been intrigued by the amount of discussion that the issue of college tuition has gotten during this campaign because it's an issue that's close to my heart, but doesn't get discussed enough. That said, it seems to me that both campaigns are missing one salient policy point: the sharp increase in tuition at NC public universities coincide with the decision to allow campuses to initiate their own tuition increases. Do you believe that this policy of campus-initiated tuition increases should continue? How would you alter, if at all, state policy on tuition increases?

3. Do you think the lottery has fulfilled its promise to the citizens of North Carolina? If not, why? What could be done better?

4. Certainly, our state's crime rate has peaks and valleys, but our most recent peak has been particularly troubling given that its victims and perpetrators have been particularly young. Just today, there's news of an 18-year old Durham high school student being shot, allegedly, by 19-year old. It's tragic and disturbing on numerous levels. What can be done, and what should be done, to stem this tide?

There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

Future tax rates and budgets

From the NAACP debate and from news stories, I have seen that both of the candidates are quick to support spending increases for education and even to compensate people that were involuntarily sterilized in the 30's.

My question is how to you propose to pay for these programs? North Carolina is already taxed higher that all of our neighboring states. When will we see a meaningful tax CUT?

Public Transportation

I am just a simple caveman, but it seems ironic to me that North Carolina’s high gasoline tax is the very mechanism by which the state funds the construction of more highways. This I DO know. Sometimes when I am driving in my Range Rover, or flying in a luxury charter jet to Europe, I feel guilty that I am not still riding a woolly mammoth, and then I remember that the woolly mammoth is extinct, which makes me feel even more culpable. If elected, what will your administration do to increase the availability of quality public transportation?


Debate question

If you are elected governor, what would you do to make the regular operation of government as well as of the legislature more transparent and accountable to citizens? What have you done to date to support such transparency?
Ken Ripley

Ken Ripley


As of April 2006, over 39,000 Guardsmen were serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom (over 150,000 to date), 14,000 in Operation Enduring Freedom (over 50,000 to date), and 652 in Operation Noble Eagle. Since 9-11, over 250,000 Soldiers have been mobilized under USC Title 10 authority (federal orders) and over 350,000 under Title 10 or Title 32 (federal and state orders).
I am currently and have been a member of the North Carolina Army National Guard since 1996. I have personally deployed to Iraq once. I was stationed in Iraq for over 12 months and was on active duty for almost 15 months. With an ongoing battle in Iraq what is going to be your stance about deploying YOUR National Guard soldiers to Iraq? I am aware of the paragraph in my oath "to defend against all enemies both foreign and domestic." However, what concerns do you have regarding the depletion of our resources and its effect on our ability to respond in the event of a natural disaster such as another Hurricane Floyd?

Issues Instead of Smear Campaigns

When will BOTH candidates stop running smear campaigns and start running commercials that voice where they stand on issues such as education, taxes, growth, etc? Pointing out the others faults either in a skewed light or outright does not help anybody determine who has a better platform to get them elected.

"Some People Fly, And Some Of Us Worry...I'd Risk It All To Have Wings!" Queensryche

"Some People Fly, And Some Of Us Worry...I'd Risk It All To Have Wings!" Queensryche