GREENSBORO, N.C. — Next year, North Carolina's Richard Burr is retiring from the U.S. Senate. The race to replace him is in full swing, so 2 Wants To Know is talking with the candidates to help you get to know them better.
First, 2 Wants To Know's Ben Briscoe went one-on-one with the presumptive Democratic nominee: former North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley.
Briscoe: What issue keeps you up at night?
Beasley: Wow. There are probably several. But I would say probably childhood hunger. Before the pandemic 1 in 5 children in North Carolina were hungry. And now we know 1 in 3 are hungry. For so many children, they receive the meals for the day at school, and for the times when our schools were closed, that meant somebody else had to step in and make sure that these children were fed. And I also know so many of these children fell into gaps. We have over a million families in North Carolina that don't have access to broadband. That means a lot of children of our children were left behind. That's a lot of our babies. So I just know I'm fully committed to making sure Governor Cooper has the support and kinda partner he needs in the Senate.
Briscoe: If you get to Washington, what's the first piece of policy that you're going to fight for?
Beasley: We absolutely much secure and safeguard the constitutional fundamental right to vote. I can tell you with 49 states to include North Carolina with voting rights under attack, we should all be deeply concerned. And with more than 500 pieces of legislation passed across this country, voting rights must be secured. I hope it happens before I have the opportunity to be in Washington, but it certainly would be a priority.
Briscoe: On the Build Back Better Act, Republicans and even Senator Joe Manchin say it's too costly, we can't afford it. What would you consider getting rid of in the bill to compromise with them?
Beasley: As I'm traveling across the state, I'm talking with a lot of families who are in great need. We are still in the middle of a pandemic, and people are greatly challenged. I know it's important we have the child tax credit and I certainly support making it permanent. And as I speak with people and families across this state, I hear from them, and I know some of them are using it for speech therapy or medical bills or a mortgage. It makes a lot of difference for people. And so I support, making sure we're supporting the people and the families of this state. I think that's hugely important, and that certainly would be one of my priorities.
Briscoe: So is there room for compromise, or is this a line in the sand? We need the whole bill or nothing?
Beasley: You know I think there has to be an opportunity to stay at the negotiating table. This is certainly worth fighting for. People are challenged, and that's what I'm hearing across the state.
Briscoe: Is there any issue you think maybe that could wait until a later time?
Beasley: I know that these negations are deeply important and I certainly will be willing to be at the table and to have them and make sure we're pounding out these issues fully and make sure everybody knows what's at stake and why families maters so.
Briscoe: Make your final pitch to voters. What do you want them to know?
Beasley: So many people in this start are disillusioned by divisiveness happening in Washington. I am the candidate who's going to fight hard for one North Carolina. To make sure I'm fighting hard for the kind of policies that people care deeply about around access to health care and climate change and good paying jobs and so much more. And I'm very privileged to be able to offer myself as a candidate at this time.
We've also reached out to the Republican candidates: Pat McCrory, Ted Budd and Mark Walker. We've requested extended interviews with them, so you can get to know them better.