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 Rep. Kenneth Waddell, Democrat
Occupation: retired high school agricultural teacher; runs a family farm (row crops and hogs)
Lives in: Chadbourn (Columbus County)
From: Columbus County
Family: wife Susan; two grown children
Hobbies: Enjoys hunting and fishing
Previous elected offices, if any: Yes, mayor of Chadbourn from 2005 to 2012; Chadbourn council from 1987 to 2005.
Why’d you run for office? “I really wanted to see some change in rural North Carolina. Basically, jobs, to try to do some part to see if we can get some jobs in Columbus County, as well as Robeson County and Bladen County. Right now, there are no opportunities for a lot of employment.”
What are the major challenges this year?
“I’m a Democrat.”
What is one specific issue that you’ think needs addressing?
“I’m in total agreement with regulatory reform and streamlining the regulatory process. Certainly jobs, job creation in North Carolina.”
How do you feel about:
- Voter ID? Not in favor. “ Voter ID sounds like a good idea but if it’s going to disenfranchise some people, we need to look at it. There’s a lot of minority groups in my district that haven’t had access to birth certificates and other identification I just don’t think there’s the level of fraud” to warrant enacting voter ID requirements.
- Medicaid expansion? In favor. “It’s going to really hurt the rural hospitals if they don’t expand Medicaid. We need to protect those rural areas as much as we can.”
- North Carolina’s public schools : “I still believe public schools are the way education needs to be delivered.”
- Immigration: Not state’s role. “ I think it’s a federal issue. Agriculture depends a lot on migrant workers, and I have to look at how it would affect that.”
What historical or other figures have influenced your politics?
“I always liked (President) Bill Clinton’s approach. He tried to reach across the aisle and build consensus. He was the last president that had a surplus” in federal budget.
How do you describe your politics?
Moderate to conservative fiscally, moderate on social issues.
Something about you most people don’t know:
“I’m a private pilot. I’ve not flown anything recently, but I would like to get back into it.” Wants to build a kit plane with his son.