Watch video of WFJA’s interview with North Carolina Senate District 12 candidate Jim Burgin, an incumbent Republican who faces Democrat John Kirkman for the seat. District 12 includes Lee, Harnett and part of Johnson County. Below, read answers submitted to The Rant monthly in August, September and October. Visit Burgin’s campaign website here.

Briefly introduce yourself and describe why you’re seeking election to the Senate.

BURGIN: My name is James “Jim” Burgin and I am the President/Owner of C&D Insurance Service, Inc. and Chairman of the Board – New Horizon Insurance Network Group, President of B.C. Property Inc., and partner in John Hiester Automotive. I have served my first term in the North Carolina Senate and 2 terms as a Harnett County Commissioner, 3 years as chairman. In April, my lovely wife Ann and I celebrated 40 years of marriage. We have three wonderful children and four fantastic grandchildren. Born and raised in Knoxville, TN, I attended The University of Tennessee at Knoxville, graduating with honors with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration.

I have enjoyed my time in the Senate, and look forward to continue serving. In my first term, I have sponsored bills such as the Military State Income Tax Relief (SB24), Study Statewide Year-Round School Calendar (SB450), Agricultural Manufacturing Tax Incentive (SB526), Military Liaison Counselor/Funds (SB672), and Remove Foreign Citizens from Voting Roles (SB250). As I seek re-election, I look forward to continuing this work and the focus for another term will be:

Healthcare and Mental Health
Education and the Economy
Military and Law Enforcement

I feel I have some great ideas, and can’t wait to share them on the campaign trail.

What is your view of North Carolina’s process of closure and subsequent reopening in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how best do you think an elected senator can support his or her community during a time like this?

BURGIN: I believe that the governor made the correct decision in closing the schools when all of this first started, since we did not know the effects of the virus. Shutting down most of our North Carolina businesses statewide was a big mistake. I also think that the governor went outside of his power in issuing most of the Executive Orders that were issued in relation to the shutdown (see G.S. 166A-19.30(b)). In regards to reopening, my opinion is that we are moving too slow. We have small businesses that are facing the reality they might have to close for good. This is a serious virus, but we can’t allow thousands of businesses to face closing, and over 1 million workers to be unemployed, especially when there is a 99% survival rate. I see my position as one that is there to support the governor when he is right in a decision, and ask questions when I disagree. I believe that the best way for me to support my community is listening to them. I will continue to defend people’s rights, especially children, the elderly and those that are disabled. I support small businesses and will provide factual information to my constitutes and try to always answer their questions. I look forward to being re-elected.

The method by which political maps are drawn has been an issue of contention in the General Assembly. Do you support an independent, nonpartisan redistricting commission which will draw maps in the future, or any other changes to the process, or do you think legislators should continue creating political districts?

BURGIN: No response at this time.

Partisan balance in the Senate has grown tighter in recent years, forcing legislators from different parties to work together more often. Assuming this trend continues, how will you look for opportunities to work across the aisle? And if you are elected as a member of the Senate minority, what will you do to ensure that your ideas are heard and your constituents are well represented?

BURGIN: No response at this time.

The News & Observer reported in July that roughly 1.2 million adult North Carolinians under age 65, or about one in five, live without health insurance, a number that was exacerbated by job losses occurring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What, if anything, should the General Assembly do to ensure these people have access to affordable care?

BURGIN: No response at this time.

Pandemic-related job losses have also led to situations in which renters are being evicted from their homes because they can no longer afford rent. One such situation here in Sanford was even covered in The New York Times. Does state government have a role in addressing these situations, and if so, what do you think should be done to prevent individuals from being evicted?

BURGIN: No response at this time.