The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Close gubernatorial race in NC heats up

A neck and neck election is happening this year between a moderate Democrat and a Republican who has been doubling down on controversial issues and rhetoric over the past few months. However, this refers not to the presidential election but to the election for the next North Carolina governor.

The two men running are current North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, Republican and current State Attorney General Roy Cooper, Democrat.

This gubernatorial election is incredibly close, with the latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll conducted by the Marist Institute showing Cooper polling 49 percent of likely voters and McCrory at 48 percent.

A heated campaign is unusual to see, due to McCrory’s status as incumbent. In North Carolina’s history no incumbent governor has ever lost their re-election bid. Yet the issues that matter most to the state right now may cause a change in that.

Two of those biggest issues are House Bill 2 and education, with each campaign taking completely different sides on HB2 yet similar stances on education.

HB2, sometimes called the “bathroom bill,” is a controversial piece of legislature that McCrory has defended a number of times. The bill limits the governing abilities of municipalities, but it also prevents transgender people in particular from using the restroom of their choice.

The bathroom focus of the law is at the centerpiece of the controversy. Many people feel that it is discriminatory against transgender people’s rights.

“He’s marketing the bill as protecting girls and women in the bathroom and it’s not protecting women if it’s targeting trans people,” said Sojourner Davidson, sophomore and co-president of Guilford’s Pride club.

Cooper himself came out as being against the bill within a week of it being signed into law.

“We’re talking about discrimination here,” said Cooper during an announcement back in March. “Not only is this new law a national embarrassment, it will set North Carolina’s economy back.”

And, the economic impact of the bill has been widespread. According to a report by the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, North Carolina lost $4.8 billion in federal funding because of the bill. Many businesses have moved out of state and several events have been cancelled.

Money continues to be an important aspect of this election when it comes to education. One of McCrory’s key points is that he has raised the pay of teachers as governor.

“McCrory has been arguing that he’s been raising teacher pay, which is true,” said Maria Rosales, associate professor of political science. “But, it all depends on where your starting point is.”

Last year, yearly wages for elementary, middle and secondary school educators in North Carolina were between $10,000 and $15,000 below the national averages for teacher pay, according to the website Teaching Degree.

Cooper likewise argued in a debate that when he was in the state legislature, he prioritized teacher pay, though North Carolina did not break the national average during that time period either.

Of these two main issues, HB2 in particular represents a growing trend of polarization in both major parties.

“People’s ideologies are sort of tightening up so that if you believe, say, in conservative principles in one area you tend to believe them in this other area,” said Rosales.

This polarization leaves many people wondering about the system for elections themselves, viewing two options as something too limited when it comes to something as long and complicated as political leanings.

“You know, the two party system: what is it good for?” said Niall Donegan, senior and co-president of Pride.

Although the Libertarian party does have ballot access in the state, their candidate Lon Cecil is only polling between 1 to 4 percent on recent surveys.

The results of this election will have major ramifications for the state no matter who wins, so each and every vote matters.

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  • Z

    Zoe BrainOct 23, 2016 at 6:47 am

    One of the damaging effects of HB2 has unfortunately received less publicity than it might have.
    I will quote the crie de couer from NC pediatric endocrinologists begging Governor McCrory to reconsider, for the sake of their young patients, as well as thousands of adults who tend to shun the limelight.

    Dear Governor McCrory:

    As North Carolinians and Pediatricians with specialty training in Endocrinology, we respectfully request that you reconsider Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act (HB2).

    A law that defines biological sex as “the physical condition of being male or female, which is stated on a person’s birth certificate” is inherently flawed and potentially harmful to a group of children that we care for in our pediatric practices.

    As professional experts in the field of chromosomes and genital anatomy, we provide professional consultation to our colleagues on babies in whom assigning sex may not be possible at the time of birth. For example, there are babies born in whom chromosomes suggesting one sex do not match the appearance of the genitalia. This can be due to multiple biological causes such as chromosome abnormalities, abnormalities in anatomic development, environmental exposures during pregnancy, genetic mutations in the syn thesis and actions of adrenal and gonadal hormones, and tumors that make sex hormones.

    For these children, gender assignment at birth is challenging and takes substantial time – sometimes requiring re – evaluation over months to years. Severe hormonal imbalances at birth may also result in gender assignments at the time of the birth that may require reassignment later in life.

    Our patients already face major medical and social challenges and HB2 creates unnecessary hardship for these vulnerable youth. We respectfully ask you to repeal this hurtful bill.

    Respectfully, Deanna W.Adkins, MD Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes Duke University Medical Center (and dozens of other professors of medicine and MDs)

    While such harm may be viewed as regrettable but necessary “collateral damage” if a real problem is solved by HB2, the evidence suggests otherwise. Every opportunity was given to HB2 proponents to make this csse in court. They didn’t even attempt to, having no evidence to show.

    ” And although Defendants argue that a preliminary injunction will thwart enforcement of such safety laws by allowing non-transgender predators to exploit the opportunity to cross-dress and prey on others …, the unrefuted evidence in the current record suggests that jurisdictions that have adopted accommodating bathroom access policies have not observed subsequent increases in crime …”

    In an ideal world, pressure from sports event cancellations and so on would be ignored if the cause was worthy, but the damage, the very real harm done to these children would be given great weight. But in an Ideal world, HB2 would never have been passed in such unprecedented haste and with no chance for public comment.