Kandie D. Smith For NC House 8

Issues

When it comes to calling a place home, it doesn’t get much better than Pitt County, North Carolina. For more than a decade we’ve been leading the trend of growth in Eastern North Carolina and it isn’t hard to see why.

Whether you’re a student who just moved to our area to attend ECU, a nurse working at Vidant Medical center, or a fourth-generation farmer who has always called Pitt County Home, the diverse makeup of our area means that we need a leader who is focused on representing the priorities of everyone in our community.  

Education

To me, education is personal. As a substitute-teacher in our Pitt County Schools, I know first-hand the help our students and teachers need to succeed.

First, we must ensure that our state boasts the most robust educational system it can – that means we need to be fully investing in all aspects of the education system.

That means increased teacher pay, higher per-pupil funding in classrooms, additional support and resources for technology updates, pay raises for non-certified support staff, and investments in improved school infrastructure.

We must also act to prevent charter schools from further segregating our school systems because students are better prepared when their learning environments mirror the diverse populations of our state. 

Jobs and Economic Development

Looking to the future, few things are as important as making sure Pitt County is on a continued path of job growth and economic development.

We must continue to work with local leaders to develop a flexible and dependable economic development policy that attracts new business to the area while retaining and growing existing businesses. 

We must also strengthen our Community College system to adapt to new industry trends to ensure a dependable and prepared workforce to fill the in-demand jobs of the future.

Medicaid Expansion

We must continue to fight every single day until there is no longer such a thing as the “coverage gap.” Healthcare is a human right, and we have the ability and responsibility to ensure that every North Carolinian has access to affordable healthcare.

Expanding Medicaid would open coverage to more than 500,000 vulnerable residents of the state and would bring more than 2,000 jobs to Pitt County alone. 

Expanding Medicaid is simply the right thing to do. 

Mental Health

Mental Health is one of the most pressing issues facing America, and unfortunately, one of the most neglected.

We need to do better when it comes to both identifying and treating mental health. Our current system is fragmented, which has caused unnecessary barriers to people accessing the best available treatment.

We need to create a system that is less burdened by payment policies which have created disparities in access to appropriate care. We must also work to eliminate the systemic barriers to preventative treatments and recovery services that plagued countless people in our community.

Substance abuse 

Criminal Justice Reform

Our Criminal Justice system is in serious need of reform. Our current system disproportionately affects the poor and minorities. We must reform our mandatory sentencing laws at both the federal and state levels, end mass incarceration, implement transparency and openness policies with police body cameras, and help those who were formerly incarcerated to re-enter society through initiatives that reduce barriers to employment.