N.C. Policy Watch is chatting 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 the new members. Haven’t been contacted for your profile yet? New legislators can contact reporter Sarah Ovaska at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: state Sen. Joel Ford, Democrat
Occupation: information technology consultant with TPM, Inc.
Lives in: Charlotte
From: Born in Charlotte, grew up in Belmont, S.C.
Family: wife Deborah; 7-year-old daughter
Hobbies: used to play golf, reading
Previous elected offices, if any: None.
Why’d you run for office? “I have been involved civically in Charlotte, so I have a heart of service for my community. My community service transitioned me to elected office.” Served on boards of Council for Children’s Rights, Charlotte Housing Authority and YMCA in Charlotte. .
What are the major challenges this year?
“How do we do tax reform? The other big issue is Medicare expansion, how do we respectfully care for those that are uninsured and underinsured? It’d also be a billion-dollar injection into the state economy. It’s not like the (federal Medicare expansion) funding is going to go to pay off debt, so the money instead is going to go to other states.”
What is one specific issue that you’ think needs addressing?
“There’s so many, from unemployment insurance to education.”
How do you feel about:
- Voter ID? Not in support. “I do not believe there is enough data to say there is fraud in the system. We’re providing solutions to problems that don’t exist.”
- Medicaid expansion? In favor.
- Immigration: He believes it is a federal issue and “we need to provide a pathway to citizenship.”
- Eliminating or reducing corporate and income taxes? “I have concerns about the elimination of the personal income tax . I believe in a lower rate, a simplified code and expansion of the base. I am not convinced by the proposals floated around are revenue neutral” and believes they are attempts to cut the size of state government.
What historical or other figures have influenced your politics?
President Harry Truman (who ordered the desegregation of the military) and President Abraham Lincoln
What label would you give your politics?
Christian, as well as fiscal conservative and moderate on social issues.
Something about you most people don’t know:
He grew up in public housing, and resents criticisms from the far-right about the poor not having the will to better their positions in life. “When done right, and combined with hard work and determination, you can be whatever you want to be.”