US House hopefuls share vision | The Wilson Times
The Wilson Times
Login
SearchHelpSubscriptions

2022 ELECTIONS

US House hopefuls share vision

Posted on April 14, 2022

Local newsTop newsVideos
1st Congressional District candidate Ernest Reeves speaks at Wednesday’s candidate forum.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidate Ernest Reeves speaks at Wednesday’s candidate forum.

1st Congressional District candidates are shown during a Wednesday forum at Wilson Community College. Pictured from left are Wilson Times editor Corey Friedman, who served as moderator, and candidates Julian C. Bishop Sr., Don Davis, Brad Murphy, Ernest Reeves and Brent Roberson; Adam Wood, who spoke on Sandy Roberson’s behalf, and candidates Erica D.Smith and Jason Spriggs.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidates are shown during a Wednesday forum at Wilson Community College. Pictured from left are Wilson Times editor Corey Friedman, who served as moderator, and candidates Julian C. Bishop Sr., Don Davis, Brad Murphy, Ernest Reeves and Brent Roberson; Adam Wood, who spoke on Sandy Roberson’s behalf, and candidates Erica D.Smith and Jason Spriggs.

Dr. Ronald L. Williams, standing at right, asks a question during Wednesday’s congressional candidate forum in Wilson Community College’s DelMastro Auditorium.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

Dr. Ronald L. Williams, standing at right, asks a question during Wednesday’s congressional candidate forum in Wilson Community College’s DelMastro Auditorium.

1st Congressional District hopeful Brad Murphy speaks while fellow candidates, from left, Don Davis, Julian C. Bishop Sr., Brad Murphy, Ernest Reeves and Brent Roberson listen during Wednesday’s candidate forum.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District hopeful Brad Murphy speaks while fellow candidates, from left, Don Davis, Julian C. Bishop Sr., Brad Murphy, Ernest Reeves and Brent Roberson listen during Wednesday’s candidate forum.

1st Congressional District candidates, from left, Julian C. Bishop Sr., Don Davis, Brad Murphy and Ernest Reeves, take turns answering a question during Wednesday’s forum.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidates, from left, Julian C. Bishop Sr., Don Davis, Brad Murphy and Ernest Reeves, take turns answering a question during Wednesday’s forum.

1st Congressional District candidate Julian C. Bishop Sr. speaks during Wednesday’s candidate forum.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidate Julian C. Bishop Sr. speaks during Wednesday’s candidate forum.

1st Congressional District candidate Erica Smith answers a question while Brent Roberson at left and Jason Spriggs at right listen to her response. Adam Wood, obscured, appeared on behalf of candidate Sandy Roberson.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidate Erica Smith answers a question while Brent Roberson at left and Jason Spriggs at right listen to her response. Adam Wood, obscured, appeared on behalf of candidate Sandy Roberson.

1st Congressional District candidate Jason Spriggs is pictured during Wednesday’s candidate forum.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidate Jason Spriggs is pictured during Wednesday’s candidate forum.

1st Congressional District candidate Erica D. Smith is shown during Wednesday’s candidate forum.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidate Erica D. Smith is shown during Wednesday’s candidate forum.

1st Congressional District candidate Brent Roberson answers a question in Wednesday’s candidate forum.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidate Brent Roberson answers a question in Wednesday’s candidate forum.

1st Congressional District candidate Don Davis is seen on stage for Wednesday’s candidate forum.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidate Don Davis is seen on stage for Wednesday’s candidate forum.

1st Congressional District candidate Ernest Reeves is pictured during Wednesday’s candidate forum.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidate Ernest Reeves is pictured during Wednesday’s candidate forum.

1st Congressional District candidate Brad Murphy looks out into the audience at Wednesday’s candidate forum.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidate Brad Murphy looks out into the audience at Wednesday’s candidate forum.

1st Congressional District candidate Julian C. Bishop Sr. is pictured on stage during Wednesday’s candidate forum.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidate Julian C. Bishop Sr. is pictured on stage during Wednesday’s candidate forum.

1st Congressional District candidate Don Davis answers a question at Wednesday’s candidate forum.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidate Don Davis answers a question at Wednesday’s candidate forum.

1st Congressional District candidate Brent Roberson is shown at Wednesday’s candidate forum.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidate Brent Roberson is shown at Wednesday’s candidate forum.

1st Congressional District candidate Erica D. Smith is shown at Wednesday’s candidate forum.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidate Erica D. Smith is shown at Wednesday’s candidate forum.

1st Congressional District candidate Jason Spriggs is pictured during Wednesday’s candidate forum.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidate Jason Spriggs is pictured during Wednesday’s candidate forum.

1st Congressional District candidate Brad Murphy gives a response during Wednesday’s candidate forum.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidate Brad Murphy gives a response during Wednesday’s candidate forum.

1st Congressional District candidate Ernest Reeves speaks at Wednesday’s candidate forum.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidate Ernest Reeves speaks at Wednesday’s candidate forum.

1st Congressional District candidates are shown during a Wednesday forum at Wilson Community College. Pictured from left are Wilson Times editor Corey Friedman, who served as moderator, and candidates Julian C. Bishop Sr., Don Davis, Brad Murphy, Ernest Reeves and Brent Roberson; Adam Wood, who spoke on Sandy Roberson’s behalf, and candidates Erica D.Smith and Jason Spriggs.

Drew C. Wilson | Times

1st Congressional District candidates are shown during a Wednesday forum at Wilson Community College. Pictured from left are Wilson Times editor Corey Friedman, who served as moderator, and candidates Julian C. Bishop Sr., Don Davis, Brad Murphy, Ernest Reeves and Brent Roberson; Adam Wood, who spoke on Sandy Roberson’s behalf, and candidates Erica D.Smith and Jason Spriggs.

1st Congressional District candidates are shown during a Wednesday forum at Wilson Community College. Pictured from left are Wilson Times editor Corey Friedman, who served as moderator, and candidates Julian C. Bishop Sr., Don Davis, Brad Murphy, Ernest Reeves and Brent Roberson; Adam Wood, who spoke on Sandy Roberson’s behalf, and candidates Erica D.Smith and Jason Spriggs.
Dr. Ronald L. Williams, standing at right, asks a question during Wednesday’s congressional candidate forum in Wilson Community College’s DelMastro Auditorium.
1st Congressional District hopeful Brad Murphy speaks while fellow candidates, from left, Don Davis, Julian C. Bishop Sr., Brad Murphy, Ernest Reeves and Brent Roberson listen during Wednesday’s candidate forum.
1st Congressional District candidates, from left, Julian C. Bishop Sr., Don Davis, Brad Murphy and Ernest Reeves, take turns answering a question during Wednesday’s forum.
1st Congressional District candidate Julian C. Bishop Sr. speaks during Wednesday’s candidate forum.
1st Congressional District candidate Erica Smith answers a question while Brent Roberson at left and Jason Spriggs at right listen to her response. Adam Wood, obscured, appeared on behalf of candidate Sandy Roberson.
1st Congressional District candidate Jason Spriggs is pictured during Wednesday’s candidate forum.
1st Congressional District candidate Erica D. Smith is shown during Wednesday’s candidate forum.
1st Congressional District candidate Brent Roberson answers a question in Wednesday’s candidate forum.
1st Congressional District candidate Don Davis is seen on stage for Wednesday’s candidate forum.
1st Congressional District candidate Ernest Reeves is pictured during Wednesday’s candidate forum.
1st Congressional District candidate Brad Murphy looks out into the audience at Wednesday’s candidate forum.
1st Congressional District candidate Julian C. Bishop Sr. is pictured on stage during Wednesday’s candidate forum.
1st Congressional District candidate Don Davis answers a question at Wednesday’s candidate forum.
1st Congressional District candidate Brent Roberson is shown at Wednesday’s candidate forum.
1st Congressional District candidate Erica D. Smith is shown at Wednesday’s candidate forum.
1st Congressional District candidate Jason Spriggs is pictured during Wednesday’s candidate forum.
1st Congressional District candidate Brad Murphy gives a response during Wednesday’s candidate forum.
1st Congressional District candidate Ernest Reeves speaks at Wednesday’s candidate forum.

dwilson@wilsontimes.com | 252-265-7818

Seven candidates vying to represent North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District shared their views and fielded public questions in a Wednesday forum at Wilson Community College.

Democrats Don Davis of Snow Hill, Julian C. Bishop Sr. of Garner, Erica D. Smith of Henrico and Jason Spriggs of Henderson participated in The Wilson Times’ congressional candidate forum along with Republicans Ernest Reeves of Greenville, Brent Roberson of Williamston and Brad Murphy of Macon. Fellow GOP hopeful Sandy Roberson of Rocky Mount couldn’t attend, but campaign manager Adam Wood spoke on his behalf.

Republicans Sandy Smith of Winterville, Billy Strickland of Goldsboro, Henry Williams II of Greenville and Will Aiken of Henderson didn’t participate. The Times invited all 12 candidates to address voters at WCC’s DelMastro Auditorium, and each had the option of sending a surrogate.

Editor Corey Friedman moderated the roughly 90-minute forum, which was livestreamed on the newspaper’s Facebook page.

Nominees who emerge victorious in the May 17 primaries will face off in November for the right to succeed Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-Wilson, who is retiring at year’s end after serving nine consecutive U.S. House terms.

ELECTION SECURITY

Describing a 2020 mail-in voting surge due to the COVID-19 pandemic that led to election law changes in several states, Friedman asked candidates whether North Carolina’s federal elections are free, fair and secure.

Spriggs, a Henderson city councilman, said people need to vote and he’d favor investing in technology to maintain confidence in the vote count.

Smith, a former three-term state senator, attributed historic participation in the 2020 general election to increased flexibility, with mail-in ballots, extended polling place hours and drive-up early voting.

“I think our elections should be easy to vote and hard to cheat,” said Roberson, a logger by trade. “I think what we should do is have really good, fair and honest elections. It doesn’t matter if you are Republican or Democrat.”

Reeves, who said he was previously a conservative Democrat but registered as a Republican within the last year, expressed support for voter ID requirements.

“The fact of the matter is we need to have a national election day,” Reeves said. “Everybody needs to be off, and you need to go and vote.”

Murphy, a tech entrepreneur, said the country needs elections that make participation easy and make cheating impossible.

“Voter ID is one way to do that,” he said.

Davis, a six-term state senator, said he believes there are fair and free elections.

“I want to emphasize that there are processes in place currently where, when some try to circumvent the system, that complaints can come forward and be heard,” Davis said.

Davis said extending hours due to COVID-19 was “the right thing to do.”

Bishop, a 25-year military man, said North Carolina’s elections are fair.

“We need to make sure that voting for everybody remains a right that is protected, no matter who you are or what party you come from,” Bishop said. “It should not be difficult to go and place your vote in the world’s greatest democracy.”

MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION

Friedman asked candidates how they would vote on legislation to end marijuana prohibition.

“I do not think marijuana should be legal in this country,” said Bishop, a former police officer. “Marijuana is a gateway drug. The international cartels want us to legalize marijuana so they can continue to use that to push their product on the streets of our country.”

Bishop said he knew that was an unpopular thing for a Democrat to say.

Davis said he’s long had concerns with North Carolina’s marijuana laws.

“As we continue to see research to come in that would support medical purposes, there is increasing evidence that support that there are medical purposes...for those that have certain illnesses,” he said.

Davis said he continues to keep an open mind.

“One thing we must truly acknowledge: we must absolutely not throw people in prison or keep them locked up in particular for some minor drug offenses,” he added, drawing spontaneous applause from the audience.

Murphy said he has family members who have benefited greatly from medicinal marijuana.

“Regardless of what Congress does next year or not, there will be enough states that ratify this and make marijuana recreationally available that it is going to be the law of the land regardless,” he said. “So I would rather steer it in a direction that makes it safe and keeps it regulated, and by the way, one of the biggest problems we have right now is fentanyl.”

Murphy agreed that states shouldn’t be jailing people caught with small amounts of marijuana.

Reeves said marijuana convictions should be expunged from people’s criminal records and anyone currently incarcerated for a possession-level offense should be released immediately,

“It doesn’t make any sense because right now, states are legalizing marijuana,” he said.

Adults who need the drug should be able to have it, Reeves added.

“As long as we safeguard those stores that have it and don’t give it to young people under a certain age, I am all for it,” he said.

Roberson said he doesn’t believe anyone should be in jail for having small amounts of marijuana, and it also should be available for medical use.

“What I have a problem with is recreational marijuana,” Roberson said.” And the reason being, it is a gateway drug for other stuff, so we need to make sure that kids aren’t doing it.”

Roberson said he’d prefer not to smell it, so smokers would need to limit the activity to private spaces where other people’s rights aren’t infringed.

“We are continuing in the state of North Carolina to lock up people for something that is legal in 37 other states and the District of Columbia, and that needs to end,” Smith said. “I am for medicinal marijuana and have filed legislation as a North Carolina state senator to advance that.”

The opioid crisis hasn’t spared the 1st District, Smith said, “and I know that medicinal marijuana has been helpful.”

Smith pointed out that CBD oil derived from hemp has been widely used to treat seizures and other medical issues.

Too many Black and brown people have been locked up over marijuana, Smith added, and being caught with a small amount can derail a young person’s life.

“Nobody should go to jail should they be caught with an eighth or a quarter or a half-ounce of marijuana,” Spriggs said. “If you are having over an ounce or a quarter-pound, you are selling it.”

Spriggs said adults can regulate themselves.

Candidates answered audience questions about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, congressional earmarks, broadband internet access, school funding and teacher pay.

Wednesday’s event marked the second of three candidate forums presented by The Wilson Times in advance of May 17 primary elections. A forum for Wilson City Council candidates is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. next Wednesday in the DelMastro Auditorium.

More Local news

Pens for protesters are set up in front of an anti-scaling fence that blocks the stairs to the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

NC groups, voters urge justices to avoid redistricting case

By Gary D. Robertson
| May 21, 2022

RALEIGH — North Carolina advocacy groups and voters who this year persuaded state courts to overturn...

President Joe Biden speaks during a reception to celebrate Eid al-Fitr in the East Room of the White House on May 2. Biden's approval rating dipped to the lowest point of his presidency in May, a new poll shows, with deepening pessimism emerging among members of his own Democratic Party.

Poll: Biden’s approval dips to lowest in his presidency

By Nicholas Riccardi
| May 21, 2022

President Joe Biden’s approval rating dipped to the lowest point of his presidency in May, a new pol...

Migrants who crossed the Rio Grande river into the U.S. are under custody of National Guard members as they await the arrival of U.S. Border Patrol agents in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Friday.

Judge: COVID asylum restrictions must continue on border

By Kevin McGill and Elliot Spagat
| May 21, 2022

NEW ORLEANS — Pandemic-related restrictions on migrants seeking asylum on the southern border must c...


Top news

Life

Powered by Nash & Pine | v4.2.4