Voters in the 7th district have two Democratic candidates for the N.C. House to choose from in the upcoming primary election: incumbent Angela Bryant and newcomer William Duke Hancock II.
Hancock, a Bailey resident, said years of fighting cuts to the services offered to his 29-year-old disabled son – including three lawsuits – inspired his bid for office.
“Over the past few years and many trips to Raleigh, I have discovered that few, if any, legislators are well-educated in the needs of intellectually and developmentally disabled citizens,” Hancock said. “My desire to enter into politics has been motivated by the lack of concern that legislators have for these citizens.”
He said his opponent’s vote in favor of House Bill 916 – which shifts the management of patient services to local entities in an effort to save money – indicates Bryant’s lack of interest in the rights of disabled citizens.
Bryant said she opposes the bill, but voted for it because feedback from stakeholders once the reform is in place was added to the bill. Hancock said he thinks giving stakeholders – including patients, caregivers and providers – a say in the development of the reform would reduce the cost of litigation once implemented.
“This method for creating services would eliminate the millions of dollars wasted in litigation and let those dollars provide services instead,” he said.
Hancock said he’d introduce a bill to repeal House Bill 916, but Bryant said reversing the system reform would be near impossible.
“It is the direction that all the major entities with the power who make the decisions are going,” she said. “The Medicaid deficit is so huge that unless some other proposal can provide immediate savings, it will be hard to even get it on the table.”
Bryant said that if she is re-elected, she would support any feasible alternative of mental health care reform if it is available.
Although fighting for the rights of disabled citizens is a primary concern of Hancock, he said job creation also will be a priority. He said he would create a team to inventory vacant properties and promote those properties to prospective companies. Bryant said she has been fighting to protect jobs – especially government jobs – and promote economic development for several years, and she will continue that fight if re-elected.
Bryant said she is introducing a bill during the upcoming short session to require public power agencies to give public notice when rate increases are going to be considered.
“This will put basic consumer protections around utility rate increases,” she said. “While it won’t specifically reduce the rate or the cost itself, it will offer citizens at least two changes to be heard by two entities before increases can be implemented.”