Todd Conard's responses to the People's Alliance PAC 2014 Questionnaire:
1. The past relationship of Duke and the NC DENR is suspect as regulation of these plants and
their coal ash repositories seems to have been minimal. As reported, Duke is now being fined
by NC DENR for waste water and storm water violations. Hopefully we will get a better idea
of what actions were taken or not taken by the NC DENR through the investigation being
carried out by the Feds.
As for who should pay for the cleanup, it should be the shareholders.
2. This is up for debate and it would depend on the situation. A decade or so ago there was talk of
putting a biolab facility near Creedmoor and there was a lot of public outcry. I understand the
“not in my backyard” response to such a proposal. As for situations like what has happened
with the Dan River, I think a more proactive stance by the NC DENR to force Duke Energy to
store the coal ash away from water ways in lined storage facilities would have been the better
option to what has happened.
I am very concerned with aging Nuclear Plants like Shearon Harris and the possible future
fallout. Einstein said “Nuclear power is a hell of a way to boil water!”. I'd take a coal ash spill
any day compared to a Fukishima scenario in our own back yard, but I don't want either.
“One reason the Shearon Harris plant is such a concern is that it is said to have more spent fuel
rods than any other plant in the country contained in cooling pools,” Elizabeth Ouzts of
Environment North Carolina said. “That’s a real concern because that’s not the best, safest
way to store nuclear waste.”
The issue is that a proactive/watchdog stance by the state in protecting our population and our
environment should always be a priority...what is government for if not for these protections.
3. I believe that a tension should exist between the state and local regulatory authorities on
environmental matters so that the best possible outcome should be achieved. If a situation is
pressing then the matter should escalate from the local authorities up to the state authorities. I
believe that the local authority would inherently be more invested in situations like storm water
and hydraulic fracturing because they live in the locality. Corruption in these matters could
happen at any level of government so the constituents in the locality have to demand action and
escalate the issue to get the desired response.
4. I am for public funding of vouchers and school choice. I am a home school parent and receive
no public funding for the education of my children but have no objection to lower-income
families benefiting from the use of a voucher to subsidize their children's education at the
school of their choice. Competition amongst schools will only make them better in the long run.
When we have monopoly systems in any sector we end up with a lessor product (eg. Duke
Power in the Energy Sector). My biggest concern about Charter Schools is that there be
accountability to a locally elected school board.
I believe teachers should be paid competitively based on experience and results. McCrory's
proposal to raise the starting salary for teachers to $35,000 is a step in the right direction.
Ending the pay boost for higher degrees is a disincentive for teachers to improve their skill set.
There should be more scrutiny on administrator's pay so that there is more to go around in the
budget for the teachers. Also, is the lottery money being administered and spent in a way that
best benefits our schools?
In regards to tenure, it allows some bad apples to stay in the system but I believe most teachers
strive for excellence. I would agree to retain the old Tenure system. My mother, my mother-in-
law and my brother-in-law either were or currently are public school teachers.
5. I am for common sense protections of our water supplies. If this means restricting the density
of developments in proximity to the water supplies then so be it. Unlike out West, we are
currently blessed to have an abundance of fresh water in our area with such a wet winter so we
shouldn't take what we have for granted.
I am also very concerned about the current policy we have of adding fluoride to our drinking
water. Time Magazine recently did a story titled, “Children Exposed to More Brain-Harming
Chemicals Than Ever Before” (http://time.com/7930/children-exposed-to-more-brain-harming-
chemicals-than-ever-before/) in which they list fluoride as one of the top chemicals harming our
6. I agree with McCrory's decision because we need to ween ourselves away from Federal
Funding as much as possible. I'm for looking into ways of minimizing the amount we as a State
send to DC so we can keep more of our money here and spend it the way we see fit. I applaud
Michelle Obama for spearheading the campaign on better nutrition and I think this is something
we need to endorse as a State in improving our overall health. We need to support local farms
with tax breaks, especially the small ones trying to do the right thing by growing organically
with no GMO. Food and nutrition education (eg-proper labeling of food) should be in place to
help our citizens make more informed choices. Also, if we eliminate spending on putting toxic
substances like fluoride in our water, each NC municipality would save tens of thousands of
dollars if not into the millions for the whole State. These funds could be redirected to pay for
other health needs.
I think the time has come that North Carolina legalize marijuana and hemp. I have never used
drugs and don't ever plan on it but the war on drugs is a failure just like Prohibition was a
failure. We need to treat addicts like patients and not criminals and take the profitability out of
selling drugs so we can end the involvement of organized crime. Think of the tax revenues we
could generate to fund addiction programs and other things like Medicare if we would follow
suit with states like Colorado and Washington.
7. I am for reducing taxes and reducing spending. I think the food tax is immoral especially in a
time where people are barely getting by and food is getting more expensive by the day. I think
our gas tax should be more in line with South Carolina's to stay more competitive with them.
Corporate tax should be low to attract employers to North Carolina but they need to pay their
fair share. Small businesses should not be overburdened by taxes that disadvantage their
competitiveness to large businesses (eg – furniture stuffing tax).
I would re-propose the idea of a State Bank of North Carolina (Senate Bill 150 which was
originally proposed by retired Senator Ellie Kinnaird
According to The Public Banking Institute (http://publicbankinginstitute.org/advantages.htm),
the advantages of a state bank as demonstrated by the State Bank of North Dakota over the last
100 years are:
• Create new jobs and spur economic growth
• Generate new revenues for states
• Lower debt costs for local governments
• Strengthen local banks and even out credit cycles
• Build up small businesses
Senator Kinnaird told me, “Todd - the bill was just to plant a seed and start a
conversation about an alternative to our banking industry that was responsible for
bringing down the economy (and giving themselves $20 million bonuses for doing
so.) I knew it wouldn't go anywhere with the Republicans in charge and NC being
the home of Bank of America and now Wells Fargo since they bought our oldest
local bank, Wachovia. There was a great deal of interest in it, and I hope that it will
grow across the U.S. since 32 states (I think) also introduced bills for a state bank.
I suspect the banking industry killed all the bills, but maybe we can build
momentum. I am no longer in the legislature but hope others will pick up the
debate. Thanks for inquiring. Ellie
8. I'm against the death penalty because the system is too fraught with error.
9. I think the Affordable Care Act is a boon for Health Insurance companies and is a scam as big
as Enron and the Bank bailouts were.
10. I did not vote on Amendment One because I don't believe the government should be in the
Marriage business. In fact, “marriage license laws were originally aimed at preventing non
whites from entering in marriage and being granted the rights and responsibilities generally
conferred upon marriage.” - See more at: http://marriage.laws.com/marriage-
11. I'm a lover of liberty...a classical liberal like Thomas Jefferson. I am pro-Constitution, Bill of
12. I am a Christian and I believe the individual has the right to free will as long as what they are
doing doesn't harm anyone else. I strive towards the morality set forth in the Bible as did many
of our founders. I believe government is established to uphold goodness and punish evil. I
respect people of all backgrounds, colors and religions so long as they act respectfully towards
their fellow man.
13. I was born in Jacksonville, NC at Camp Lejeune, and lived there until I was 14 with the
exception of about a year and a half when my father was stationed at a Marine Corp base in
Albany, GA. I lived in Western North Carolina in Asheville, Mars Hill and Burnsville during
my high school and college years. I lived in Cary during a summer intership at SAS. After
college, I spent a summer in NY (where my mother was born) on Long Island in the Hamptons.
After that, I lived in Raleigh for about a year and then moved to Durham in June of 2000 and
have lived here ever since.
15. 2008 Presidential: Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party)
2008 Gubernatorial: Michael Munger
2012 Presidential: Ron Paul in Primary, Mitt Romney with much reluctance
2012 Gubernatorial: Barbara Howe