Candidates in House District 29 say they would cut the fat out of state government.
The race in state House District 29 resembles the presidential contest in one respect: The challenger is betting that voters want a change.
The incumbent is saying yes, state government needs to change, and she intends to lead the way.Basically, however, the two are in close agreement on the major issues, which they identify as the economy, education and affordable government.
The Democratic challenger calling for a change is retired wildlife officer Bruce Byrd, 55, of Greensboro. Byrd has never held elective office.
The Republican incumbent is Joanne Bowie, 56, also of Greensboro. She is a public relations consultant. Bowie has been a member of the state House since 1988. She was on the Greensboro City Council from 1975 to 1988.
The odd-shaped district they want to represent is composed of three chunks of Guilford County that barely touch each other. It includes most of northwest Greensboro, takes in rural north-central Guilford to the Rockingham County line, stretches across to Alamance County, then down to Randolph County.
The candidate representing such a diverse district would have to be attuned to the many different needs of many different people. He or she would have to be willing to change.
Byrd feels that he is the person for the job. ``People are ready for a change which will put elected officials who are people-oriented into public office,' he said. ``Voters are looking for someone who will represent their interests.'
The economy is the most critical issue facing the state today, Byrd said. ``I am for any measure that will put people to work, that will put that paycheck in the hands of wage earners.'
Byrd sees a strong link between the economy and education. A strong educational system, particularly a strong community college system, leads to a strong work force, he said.
Byrd would support legislation giving local school officials more authority. He also favors an elected state superintendent of public instruction.
A leaner state government is a must, he said. ``We must cut the fat by carefully scrutinizing each agency's budget.'
Byrd said he strongly favors giving the governor a line-item veto. He personally does not favor a state lottery, but would vote to give the people the right to decide the issue by referendum.
Cutting the fat is a top priority with Bowie as well. ``We must start spending within our means,' she said.
All too often, Bowie said, the General Assembly will create an agency or program meant for only a limited period of time. ``But when that time is up, when the program has done what it was meant to do, it's still around and it's funded again and again. These things never seem to get off the books.
``What we need are some courageous people who are willing to do something about these things. We must fund needs, not wishes.'
Change must come about in education, Bowie declared. ``Going from 49th in the nation to 48th in Scholastic Aptitude Test scores is not a cause for celebration,' she said. ``We have a long way to go.'
Bowie also believes strongly that a key to combating the state's economic woes lies with the community colleges. ``We need to support them tremendously,' she said.
Bowie supports veto power for the governor but says the governor should be prepared to concede some of his appointive powers. Bowie also supports a referendum on a lottery. But she said the state must be cautious. ``We need to learn from the mistakes of other states,' she said. ``Money from a lottery would not be an end-all.'
____________________________________________________________________________\ GUILFORD PRECINCTS IN HOUSE 29
State House District 29 includes part of northwest Greensboro and northern sections of Guilford County. There are 36 precincts: FEN2A, GIB, GIBG, GB20, GB21, GB27A, GB27B, GB27C, GB32, GB34A, GB34B, GB35A, GB37A, GB40A, GB40B, GB41A, GB41B, NCGR, NCLAY, NMON, NWASH, SCGR, SCLAY, SMAD, SWASH, WHIT. The voting sites are:\ Alamance Elementary School\ Gibsonville Elementary School\ General Greene Elementary School\ Christ United Methodist Church\ First Lutheran Church\ Claxton Elementary School\ Mount Pisgah United Meth. Church.\ Morehead Elementary School\ Greek Orthodox Church\ Westminster Presbyterian Church\ Irving Park United Meth. Church\ Friendly Avenue Church of Christ\ Lewis Recreation Center\ Cathedral of His Glory\ Fire Station 17\ Greensboro Day School\ Center United Methodist Church\ Alamance Community Fire Station\ Fire Station 33\ Busic Home Demo Building\ Lake Brandt Baptist Church\ Southeast Fire Station\ Northeast High School\ Fire Station 28\ Whitsett Community Center