N.C. Senate District 2 Democratic candidates were sent the following questions by GateHouse Media in advance of the May 8 primary election. Ginger Garner and Dorothea White are running for the seat currently occupied by Republican Norman Sanderson, who faces Lisa Oakley in the primary.
Seeking: N.C. Senate Dist. 2
Political party: Democrat
Area of residence
Ginger Garner: Carteret County
Dorothea White: New Bern
Best way for voters to contact you
White: Email doro065white1.com or Dorothea White for Senate on Facebook
Why are you running?
Garner: I see issues occurring in the area I feel confident I could remedy. Access to healthcare, the opioid crisis, problems with infrastructure and small business, marginalized demographics. How much longer will we allow teachers to go underpaid and overworked? I want small businesses to thrive, commercial fisherman to continue to serve the community. We need job growth with a specialized workforce crafted to meet these needs. We need to protect our coasts from foreign interests that seek only to exploit our natural resources. I plan to come at these affairs with rigor and determination, to bring our communities back to prosperity they’ve earned.
White: I am running to improve current policies on education, economics, environment, healthcare/mental health and ADA. I wish to attract higher echelon jobs to our district by training and apprenticeship of skilled and semi-skilled workers. I wish to support public educators and students by highlighting importance of their invaluable contributions. There is a need to provide access to the arts, a school nurse and updates to infrastructure. We are a product of our environment. Contamination of water sources, soils that produce our food, and the air we breathe must be protected. We must continue to improve transportation access and improve roads to encourage commerce.
What experience do you have that makes you a good fit for this office?
Garner: I’ve lived in Carteret County for 20 years and worked in healthcare directly for 25. I’ve worked as an educator, and I’ve owned and operated my own business. The skill I’ve garnered, those of management, knowledge of the inner workings of healthcare from a firsthand experience, on top of just knowing the community as a citizen, would allow me to address the myriad of obstacles the district faces.
White: I am a Business Major with experience serving in various community, local, county and state positions of leadership. I know how to collaborate, participate and negotiate within a multi-cultural community. I am open to engagement on views and interests of voters. I desire to engage the young and new voters to acquaint them with the electoral process and acquaint others with the knowledge pool.
If elected, what would you do to stay transparent as an elected official?
Garner: Aside from keeping a healthy repertoire with the press, I’ll stay in constant contact with my constituents. Too often there is a gap between elected officials and the citizens they represent, and I can swear that through email, social media, phone calls and meetings, I’d always be readily available for discussion.
White: Elected officials are pledged to serve, inform and engage their constituents before, during, and after the legislative processes. Whether controversial, mundane, or of high priority, voters require their Representatives to keep them informed before the fact. I plan to follow this formula.
What would you do on the state level to address mental health and substance abuse treatment options in the district?
Garner: The community needs to improve access to treatment facilities, providing more options for those seeking a way out. The state has made strides in addressing how these medications are prescribed, although there is still room for improvement, but the next question is where do these people go, many of whom were unwittingly dragged into a life of addiction, after the prescriptions stop? As someone who has worked as a physical therapist for 25 years, I’ve seen these issues arise far too often, and firmly believe that if the treatment is available, and the healthcare providers and treatment facilities have a close working relationship, we can fight this crisis head on and win.
White: I wish to provide more access to mental and emotional health in this District with the institution of more treatment facilities. With the current crisis we are experiencing statewide, the time is now to determine a better solution. I would begin by making access to psychological assistance available for those currently on the waiting lists, schools via school psychologists and mental health agencies to identify problems earlier before they spiral out of control. We need to educate and offer those suffering chronic pain alternative ways of alleviation that less addictive drugs and other forms of therapy.
If elected, what would be your first order of business?
Garner: Tackling the opioid crisis. I’ll start making moves to expand options for treatment. [[or]] Sending a strong message to developers who wish to put oil rigs in our waters, to use seismic blasting to wreck not only our environment but our main sources of industry. These outside interests need to know, “not off our coast.”
White: My first order of business would begin by building bridges working across party lines to determine the best solutions to prevalent issues that concern all citizens of our state. I want to shine a light to prioritize and determine better solutions regarding the needs and plight of our district and of rural N.C.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Garner: I’m working for people on an individual basis. I want anyone from the tri-county area to contact me, to tell me what you see for the district moving forward. You can find all of my contact information at www.gingergarnernc.com.
White: I, Dorothea White, want to be a representative that is responsive, a strong voice, knowledgeable of the issues and ready to work for change. I need your vote: Together we can begin the journey. Elect Dorothea White, N.C. Senate (Craven Pamlico Carteret).