In what we hope is a regular feature this session, N.C. Policy Watch will talk with some of the newest members of the N.C. General Assembly to offer a bit more insight on who they are and what they plan on doing this session in Raleigh. This will be an ongoing feature, with the goal of profiling all of the new members. Haven’t been contacted for your profile yet? New legislators can contact reporter Sarah Ovaska at email@example.com.
Name: state Rep. Jim Fulghum, Republican
Occupation: neurosurgeon, in process of retiring
Lives in: Raleigh
Family: Wife, Mary Susan; two grown daughters; one grandchild
Hobbies: has a family chicken farm in Chatham County, enjoys cooking, barbecuing and traveling
Previous elected offices, if any: No.
Why’d you run for office?
“I had a very strong interest in public policy my whole life. I had a great run at being a neurosurgeon and still feeling good (had a renal transplant in 2006). I’m 68 and I don’t feel like it.”
What are the major challenges you’re anticipating in the legislature?
“One of the things will be a substantive, extensive tax reform package to try to get more predictable revenue flow – a fairer, flatter tax system.” Also interested in medical issues, including the new health care exchange and expansion of Medicaid.
Have a specific issue that needs addressing?
“I don’t . My agenda is to sit, learning and listen and be a sounding board.”
How do you feel about:
Voter ID? In favor of it.
Medicaid expansion? “It has to happen. There will be a way to make that happen. I despair at seeing people in a situation where they’re in pain” without means to pay for medical treatment. “We need to know how much the state obligation is.”
North Carolina’s public schools. “It always needs to be looked at. We have per student spending that seems to be an average for a state of our size. If we’re going to be spending that type of money, we ought to be able to ask questions about accountability and quality.”
Cut or eliminate corporate and personal income taxes? “That is the volatile nature of our revenue system. We’re in a tough time right now” and questions about “whether we can do tax reform right now.”
What historical or other figures have influenced your politics?
The late U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms, Former Gov. Jim Hunt. “You don’t have to agree with them to admire that they were good folks and they tried to do the right thing.”
How do you describe your politics? Conservative by nature and habit.
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you
Collects antique maps, and enjoys thinking about the context of when they were made, and what data was available at the time.