Sept. 17, 2014. Challenger Sue Counts met incumbent NC House member Jonathan Jordan tonight in a debate organized by the New River Branch of the Military Officers Association of America.
Counts spoke about four brothers, three brothers-in-law, a husband, and a father, all of whom served in the Armed Forces at sometimes-great personal cost. Her father was captured by the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge and never recovered from his wounds or from the psychological damage of being a German prisoner of war.
About herself, Counts said, “I am a strong Appalachian mountain woman,” and she detailed her deep involvement in community service in both Ashe and Watauga counties, especially as director of Cooperative Extension in Watauga with a history of inspiring and nurturing entrepreneurism for small farms.
Many of the questions that came from the audience gathered in the Ashe County Courthouse centered on education spending and the deteriorating morale among public school teachers. Counts was critical of the votes that Jordan took with the Republican majority, while Jordan blamed past administrations for all the problems that educators are experiencing.
When the two candidates were asked whether they wanted more or less government, Counts replied, “I would like effective government.”
Fracking came up several times. Jordan took the position that “no wells have ever been contaminated by fracking,” a claim that elicited groans from the audience. He dodged the question of why he voted for a law to make disclosure of fracking chemicals a misdemeanor. “Answer the question,” people yelled from the audience.
The proposed Boone water intake on the New River came up several times, with Ashe County residents in the audience expressing opposition. Both Jordan and Counts expressed varying degrees of opposition, Counts did say that if she were able to, she would introduce a kill bill” for the project.
Counts emphasized her openness to hearing from voters. She said that she has talked on the phone to over 10,000 citizens and knocked on over 900 doors. She said that her greatest contribution to government, when she’s elected, will be to continue to listen attentively to all the people and try to make the best decisions possible.