Good morning, Jim Neal

As I mentioned yesterday, Jim Neal, Democratic candidate for United States Senate, will visit BlueNC at 10 this morning to introduce himself and share his ideas about getting America back on track. Many of you have already loaded him up with questions, so I'm sure the discussion will be interesting. I met Jim for the first time last week and I am very excited about his candidacy. I think you will be too.

I'm off to the Orange County Democratic Party breakfast this morning, where Jim will make brief comments to kick off his very busy day. (We're really lucky to have him for an hour or so this morning.) See you back here at 10.



A man of the people!

Great stance! one in the good guy coloumn

Mr. Neal,

1. thanks for being willing to run for this office.
2. thanks for being open about your orientation
3. now - let's get down to it.

Can you tell me what you know about No Child Left Behind, how you feel about it, and what, if anything, you would change?


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Great question. NCLB simply

Great question.

NCLB simply don't work. It's flawed in concept, doesn't engender positive outcomes and is underfunded by about, say, $50 billion. Catch name with no substance or money to match the moniker.

EOG extremism

Which is exactly why I took my daughter out of public school.

We're starting to think too much alike, P!

Mr. Neal

I also despise professional lobbyists having access to Senators and Congressman actually in Washington and at your office here in North Carolina. How will you keep these people out of your offices so that the people can be heard vice a bias paid opinion from professional lobbyists?

In the past, it seems like money votes is more important then issues.

As someone who's done a lot

As someone who's done a lot of fundraising, I've always referred to political dollars as "the dirty underbelly of democracy." It's repugnant the amount of money required to mount a national campaign-- which I'll do-- but it's gotta change. Public financing across-the-board: the only way to take dollars out of the equation. This is an election, not an auction.

two for the good guy side

While you have to join the party to change the party, I acknowledge you have to be in the game to change the rules.

I absolutely support the

I absolutely support the right of workers to organize and engage in collective bargaining.

Re. the situation in Tar Heel, I'll admit to not having drilled down on that specific situation as deeply as I want to.

Send me your thoughts-- please.

questions from another parent

I am interested in what steps we need to restore accountability in a way to create a hopeful future for our children. I often say that when my husband and I brought our infant son home from China in 1999, I could promise him a government that applied the laws to all citizens, that did not torture, detain people without trial or charges, a country that was moving in the direction of greater tolerance. Now my son is living in a country that has a government which seems to imitate the worst aspects of his birth country, but without the robust growth.

So I guess my question is - what do you tell your sons about the future? I am having a hard time explaining to my rather precocious 8 year old why Bush is not in jail for war crimes.

I am also a Chapel Hill resident for over a decade and appreciate your courage in running for office in this toxic atmosphere.

Sometimes it is about money...

My son has asked about where we're getting all the money for the war, and I've had to tell hime we're mortgaging his future and he'll most probably be writing checks to China for some time. If you want to do good, you have to have money in the bank. Any ideas on how we can turn our fiscal policy around?

there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

I tell them that we are a

I tell them that we are a noble republic made up of giving and generous people. However, we are trapped by a misguided Administration with misplaced priotities-- or in kid-speak, they got lost in a forest and can't find their way home. However, a rescue team is on the way. Is ume, "this too will pass."

Good opportunity for you to instill the importance of faith in holding us up during rough times-- my $0.10 worth.

Good answer

you are impressive. I hope more folks get to know you before the mudslinging starts.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Speaking of campaign finance......

Speaking of campaign finance...the netroots can be key to taking the dirty money out of politics. If we could get 1 million Democrats to donate 10 dollars each to Jim Neal, that is 10 million dollars right there! I'm starting today with my 10 dollars. (there are about 2.5 million Democrats in NC alone)

Bluedaisy84-- like the

Bluedaisy84-- like the handle! And, again, thanks and very good point.

more questions for you Mr. Neal

Where do you stand on:

Congressional condemnation practices moving toward eminent domain in support of government wants vs needs.

Is it the role of Congress through the military to dictate to a community how they will live, farm, develop?

Is it the desire of Congress to blindly support the military on wants vice needs? (this OLF is not required and has been stated over 60 times as not required, yet this process has been going on since at least Oct, 2000.) How many more projects like this are happening in the country in the guise of buffer management, development restrictions or pork barrel funding for constituents? I have heard of a huge buffer buying project in Colorado. The V-22 Osprey is also a classic example of this want vs need. A TIME front page article recently explains this plane nicely. Not one job in North Carolina is worth killing a marine over. The F-22 has two engines that can fit in it, one the military will use, the other built by facilities in two Democrats districts. The engine will never be used, but they are being made. That is not sound fiscal government. That is pork barrel vote buying government.

As a junior senator, I know you will have a difficult time of correcting these problems. But at least acknowledging that this is not the way to run a railroad would be nice. Would you have the courage to stand on the floor of the Senate and denounce some of these practices? Senator Kennedy is one of the two Senators engaged in this pork barrel vote buying philosophy.

Would you support transparent government?

Would you support limitations on rider amendments to bills or require amendments to bills have to have something to do with the main bill in question?

Insurance for Kids?

What do you think about the child health insurance bill that just got voted down by, among others, Liddy Dole?

I think it's absolutely

I think it's absolutely repugnant, appalling and if anything-- the best example of why Senator Dole is OUT OF TOUCH!!!!

We have 120,000 kids in NC who were abandoned by her vote which represent less than 1/2 of the 270,000 kids with no heath insurance.

Jim Neal: EVERY child, man and woman in this state and this country should have access to affordable health care. Or nation-- our core values-- are under assault by an Adminstration and those who prop it up-- when a sick American goes bankrupt b/c they're sick.

Heads up . . .

I'm not sure how long Jim will be with us this morning. He has a busy schedule, I'm sure.

So just in case he has to leave, I want to formally express my appreciation. I can honestly say I have never seen a candidate during four decades of political activism who has been as clear and direct in communicating about who he is and what he stands for.

Thank you for being here, Jim Neal, and please feel free to come back often. I'm sure the questions will continue to pour in over the course of the day, so if you have time to drop in later, that would be great.


Thanks Jim

For putting your positions down in black and white (light gray blue?).

I appreciate what you said.

- - - - -



Okay I can only answer one or two more -- though I'd stay on here all day! I do assure you that me or someone on my campaign staff will get back to these questions over the next few days -- okay?

Thank you

You've got my support. Look forward to hearing a lot more from you.

Thanks, Jim

Much appreciate.


Thanks Anglico for hosting this forum. Hope this is the first of many more. This is cool and I look forward to reading the comments on the string.

Thanks to all of you for participating-- and hope to meet you in person real soon.

One request: get involved in my campaign and spread the word to your families, friends and associates. Go to or and start a blog and raise small and large $ contributions for our campaign.

And...we are going to win. And I mean "we".

Thank you.


Thank you....

Thank you....let's get this low-dollar contribution ball rolling and show the NC Republicans we mean business.

Contact me?

I'm willing to help develop your idea. Let me know if you'd like to talk about it.

Holy crap

that was fun!

Learned a lot from Jim. I see two problems for Jim in his run.
Gay rights with regard to law and benefits---I do not have a problem with same sex union, but I do have a problem with giving same sex unions the same rights as "normal" marriage. As a single guy, I cannot adopt a child because I am a guy. Two guys or two gals because they are married can adopt a child if their marriage is recognized as equal in all respects to all other marriages.

How is he going to pay for universal health care? Granted folks may not have to pay upwards to $1000 a month in health care premiums but the money has to come from somewhere. Imposing taxes on the super rich, rich and tobacco users is not going to be enough. Requiring companies to support the health care plan will drive them away and thanks to the AFTAs our jobs will be in Mexico in no time flat. In a free market economy, I do not see how congress can constitutionally dictate to employers that they must support a government run health care system. I see more people falling out of affordable health care then those being covered, or I see a huge increase in overall taxes on everyone to support the plan.

Does the medical industry need overhauling? hell yes. The first thing that needs to be removed is the malpractice lawyers etc. Mistakes will be made. It is human to make mistakes. If it was due to neglect that is one thing, but dam, our society is so sue happy. If its an honest mistake, live with it. Or punish accordingly, but dam, get out of this sue happy mentality.

I see lots of pros for his run!
A desire to go against liddy
Not a professional politician, he can relate to the avg guy.
A desire to meet the people of the state and not just the triangle
Not partisan but issue based
He is not guarded on what he says.
Someone with roots in the community
Honest with himself and were he is in life "I am gay, whats your point?"
Financial reform to eliminate BUYING your way into office (issues are important, not fund raising)(when you buy your way into office, you have to write checks to cover the money spent on ur campaign. ie, u owe someone something in the future. Winning an election already owing someone something is self imposed blackmail)
HOLY CRAP he mentioned core values! (professional politicians have no clue about these two words!)

Great summary, Parmea

Neal knows a lot about the healthcare industry because he worked in it. I'm sure has plenty ideas about how to fix things, and I hope we hear more about that.

PS He didn't talk about his family, but you should know that he raised his two kids as a single parent for 15 or so years. I did the same for 10 years. Any law that stands in the way of that would be wrong.

This is a popular misconception, Parm

The first thing that needs to be removed is the malpractice lawyers etc.

(this first paragraph is about lowering doctor's malpractice premiums, and the second is about what impact that will have on our premiums)

More-recent studies have reached similar conclusions. A 2003 study that examined state data from 1993 to 2002 found that two restrictions--a cap on noneconomic damages and a ban on punitive damages--would together reduce premiums by more than one-third (all other things being equal).(11) And based on its own research on the effects of tort restrictions, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the provisions of the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2003 (H.R. 5) would lower premiums nationwide by an average of 25 percent to 30 percent from the levels likely to occur under current law. (The savings in each state would depend in part on the restrictions already in effect there.)

Savings of that magnitude would not have a significant impact on total health care costs, however. Malpractice costs amounted to an estimated $24 billion in 2002, but that figure represents less than 2 percent of overall health care spending.(12) Thus, even a reduction of 25 percent to 30 percent in malpractice costs would lower health care costs by only about 0.4 percent to 0.5 percent, and the likely effect on health insurance premiums would be comparably small.(13)

I'm not saying there doesn't need to be some sort of tort reform, or that all claims are valid and represent realistic damages sustained. But malpractice premiums are not the (main) culprit behind steeply rising health care costs. To focus on that is to expend energies to little avail, which is why the FMFs love to harp on it. As far as they're concerned, the health industry is a success story.

BLA, then what is the primary reason for such

high costs for health care? Not enough docs? to long in training? I just do not get why folks have to pay so freaking much for health care.

It seems like all that you have worked for in your life is to go to the medical industry. Only if your lucky enough to get hit by a bus or train or die because of a heart attack will you be able to give what you have worked all your life for to your kids.

If you live to a ripe ole age, your fortune is going to a doc..... Why?

There are many factors

that impact rising costs, not the least of which is the proliferation of high-dollar pharmaceuticals. I've seen studies that claim drugs only represent 10% of a hospital stay, but when you look at out-patient care the prescribed drugs represent a much higher percentage, often several times as much as the doctor's office fee. The average person in this country now has over 10 prescriptions per year which, of course, requires numerous visits to the doctor to monitor the effects.

Another aspect of rising costs is simply "business", as both hospitals and their suppliers of equipment and disposable medical supplies are profit-driven, and will pursue the highest price that the market will bear. When the market is a sick or injured person, they generally assume that all treatment and testing are necessary/critical, and are not prone to say, "You know what? I think I'll skip the MRI at this time. I'll get back to you." :)

But...if I had to pick a primary factor, and one that "being fixed" could possibly reverse the trend of costs, I would have to choose insurance coverage. Uninsured and underinsured ranks are growing, and with them the number of non-paid or only partially paid medical bills. Care givers shift these costs to insured patients, raising their costs (and their provider's) forcing even more people into the ranks of the uninsured when premiums skyrocket. Universal health care won't solve all the problems, but it will bring more balance and focus to the questions "who is paying for this?" and "Is this necessary?"

Just wanted to jump in

and say that I appreciate the above exchange. I appreciate Mr. Neal's honesty and stances. I look forward to working with and for him as we send Dole into retirement.

Glad you got to read it.

The site's been crazy today with a traffic explosion. Thank goodness it's up and running again.

What an important day for North Carolina!

An invitation

In a effort to help you get to "all four corners of the state" I would like to invite you to the annual Fall Rally given by the Polk County Democrats on Sturday Nov.10th at 5 p.m. How do I go about contacting your campaign?

Wow. Thanks, Jim.

Sorry I couldn't be around earlier, but reading these questions and answers here was the next best thing. Just ... wow.

And thanks Anglico, for setting this up!! Have I told you lately how wonderful you are? :) Awesome stuff. I am so impressed. That Neal fella is pretty darn quick on his feet. :) It is indeed a great time to be a Democrat.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

I'll second that, Leslie

It is indeed a great time to be a Democrat.

I'm feeling quite optimistic these days. :) At least about the NC Dems.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Back home and just wanted to say

that it looks like I missed a very good time (my grandaughter was worth it).

I am quite impressed with Jim's answers above. He is certainly has a common sense approach to the issues and I like the fact that when he doesn't know enough about a topic, he says so. Not only that, but asks for input to help get up to speed! WOW, there is a new one.

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

BlueNC on Google news, USA Today, FOX News

I was proud to see this BlueNC discussion as a source on Google News, picked up by USA Today, etc. (FOX News...hmmmm). I am sorry to see that the "big news story" is focusing solely on Jim Neal's sexual orientation, but at the same time I appreciated his refreshingly matter-of-fact mention that he is gay, in the context of a thoughtful discussion here on BlueNC.