Murdock’s platform for the NC Senate serves Durham District 20
For too long, those in control of the legislature have often focused their efforts on political power games focused on politicians holding and keeping power, instead of working to improve the quality of life for all of North Carolina’s residents.
The legislature and our entire state government should solely focus on the people’s business.
Everyone has the right to clean air and water. We need legislators that know climate change is real and are willing to do something about it. Funding for our water infrastructure across the state is inadequate. Natalie Murdock’s NC senate platform will work to increase state funding for programs that preserve and conserve our water. Let’s partner with local schools to provide educational and training programs to get students excited about the environment and STEM.
North Carolina is ranked 22nd in the nation for air quality. According to the Department of Environmental Quality, the source of North Carolina’s air pollution is ground level ozone, or smog, as well as particle pollution from coal-burning power plants and car emissions. North Carolina leads the nation as the second highest producer of solar energy, but ranks 30th for wind energy production.
North Carolina’s water quality suffers from lack of regulations and aging infrastructure. A recent report gave North Carolina an “F” grade for keeping lead out of school drinking water, with no policies in place to reduce risks of lead in drinking water. When testing lead concentrations in a Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district, the study found that 41 out of 89 schools in the district had taps with unsafe levels of lead concentrations.
As Durham’s Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor, Natalie Murdock spends every day protecting our environment. In this role, Natalie works to ensure high quality drinking water, food production, and open spaces are available to the Durham community. Her experience in local government and city transit make her well equipped to take on the environmental problems facing North Carolina today.
We all have a right to clean air and water. We need legislators that know climate change is real and are willing to do something about it. Natalie Murdock’s NC state senate platform supports the New Green Deal, embracing innovative solutions to protect Durham. Studies show that even a fraction of offshore wind energy resources could help meet North Carolina’s energy needs by 20%. A 2019 Emissions Gap Report from the United Nations, states that mass transportation is necessary to curb emissions and reduce the impacts of climate change. Natalie Murdock’s NC senate platform is focused on implementing evidence-based solutions to address our gaps in air and water quality. She will increase state investment in renewable energy and programs that preserve and conserve our water.
OUR HEALTH - THE CHRISTINE MURDOCK PLAN
Over 13% of Durham County residents lack health care. States across the nation are rolling back women’s reproductive rights. Funding for access to women’s health care is under attack. Our rural communities need greater access to health care. We must continue to fight for Medicaid expansion and fund preventable health measures.
According to the United Health Foundation, North Carolina ranks 33rd overall for indicators of health and well-being. In a recent community health assessment, 70% of Durham respondents identified access to care as a top issue. 13% of Durham residents are uninsured, and uninsured residents who were surveyed identified cost as the number one barrier to coverage. Beyond this, 55% of Durham residents identified mental health as a top community priority, and rates of depression are increasing among Durham youth. Access to healthcare in North Carolina remains an issue for residents across the state. Twenty counties in North Carolina have relatively few primary care physicians, and three counties have none.
Racial inequity plays a part in access to health care and overall health in Durham County. Of uninsured Durham residents, 41% are Latin, 14% are Native American, 13% are black, 7% are Asian, and 6% are white. Beyond this, in Durham County, mortality rates for four out of five of the leading causes of death in Durham County (cancer, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s disease) were higher for black Durham residents than white residents. Further, from 2013-2017, black infants in Durham County died at a rate three times higher than white infants.
Natalie Murdock’s family has lived in North Carolina for generations. Her father has worked as a social worker, and her mother, Christine Murdock, worked as a nurse. Coming from a family of healers, affordable health care is a priority for Natalie Murdock’s NC senate platform, and she is committed to ensuring all North Carolinians have access to the care they need.
Over 13% of Durham County residents lack health care. The average household is one medical emergency away from being launched into bankruptcy. States across the nation are rolling back women’s reproductive rights. Funding for access to women’s health care is under attack. Our rural communities need greater access to health care. We must continue to fight for Medicaid expansion and fund preventative health measures.
OUR HOUSING - THE ANDREA HARRIS PLAN
Across our District, people that have lived in their neighborhoods for decades are struggling to keep their homes. Natalie Murdock’s affordable housing plans for the NC senate will work to remove legislative barriers that prevent local communities from utilizing the creative and innovative tools neighboring states are using to fight gentrification and keep people in their homes. We can work to expand public-private partnerships, incentivize homeowners to stay in their homes, and provide tax credits to communities that need help with home repairs to maintain the value of their homes. Renters need additional rights and support; let’s continue to fund eviction diversion programs. State agencies that support our homeless populations are working to provide services in the midst of devastating state funding cuts, those services need to be fully restored.
In a recent survey of Durham County residents, affordable housing was the most commonly cited priority area for community members. Since 2010, the cost of buying a home in Durham County has risen by 40%. Further, a modest two bedroom apartment in Durham County costs an average of $990 per month. For that to be considered affordable, a resident would need to make at least $39,600 per year–much more than the average salary for jobs in food preparation and service, child care, sales, and construction. According to the Durham County’s NC Housing profile, 31% of Durham County households are cost-burdened. 49% of renters have trouble affording rent, and 16% of homeowners have trouble affording their homes. Of cost-burdened renters in Durham County, 32.7% faced an eviction filing in the last year, compared to 0.1% of cost-burdened homeowners who faced foreclosure.
According to a community health assessment, rising housing costs appear to negatively impact renters more than homeowners. 23% of homeowners spent a third or more of their income on housing, versus 48% of renters, in 2017. 67% of white households in Durham own and occupy their homes compared to 41% of black households and 33% of Latin households. Despite being banned in 1968, the practice of “redlining”—calculating risk based on a neighborhood’s racial demographics—has likely contributed to at least 30% of the recent disparity in homeownership between residents of color and white residents.
OUR EDUCATION - THE LUCAS & PARKER EDUCATION PLAN
Public Schools in our district need adequate funding to provide our children with the education and tools they need to compete upon graduation. We must work to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow. Let’s pay our teachers what they deserve, expand free Pre-K, and fully restore our Teaching Fellows Program.
In Education Week’s 2019 Quality Counts report, North Carolina was ranked 37th for K-12 public school quality, receiving a “C-” grade and a score of 72/100. In the three categories of Chance for Success, School Finance, and K-12 Achievement, North Carolina consistently received scores below the national average, including ranking 48th in the nation and receiving an “F” grade for school spending. According to the most recent data, North Carolina spent over $3,000 less per pupil than the national average. North Carolina currently needs an estimated $8 billion to address facility costs for their public schools. Current funding proposals–a statewide $2 billion bond and a Senate-backed $2 billion school construction fund–do not meet this need in full. Counties spend $3 billion on instructional expenses or 24 percent of the total share of federal, state, and local dollars. Further, as of March 2018, North Carolina had 50,742 eligible children on the waitlist for early childhood education and child care assistance vouchers.
Children also face challenges of racial inequity in North Carolina. According to the most recent data, across the state, black students were over four times more likely to be suspended from school than white students. Here in Durham County, black students are almost ten times more likely to be suspended than white students. Studies show that suspension is a key factor in the school to prison pipeline, along with school-based arrests and lack of school funding.
In North Carolina, the state base teaching salary is $35,000–less than the amount needed ($39,600) to afford housing in Durham. Including the local teaching supplement, that amount increases to $39,900–just barely enough to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment in Durham. The average base salary for teaching assistants is $23,546, compared to $23,262 for custodians. Further, North Carolina school employees have to work with less staff than the national average. In North Carolina, there is one school nurse for every 750 students, meaning school nurses serve 48% more students than the federal standard. Additionally, there is one school social worker for every 1,427 students, meaning social workers are serving over three times more students than the federal standard. The state also employs one school counselor for every 350 students–100 more students than the nationally recommended 1:250 ratio. In our district, 36% of students in public school meet proficiency standards for their grade level in reading and 35% meet mathematics proficiency standards. Yet, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill consistently ranks among the top five public universities, and North Carolina has been applauded as one of the best states to go to college.
Natalie Murdock is a product of North Carolina public schools–from kindergarten to college. She takes pride in her North Carolina education, and she is committed to ensuring this state provides all children the opportunity to get the best education possible.
OUR JOBS - THE DORTHEY LEE JACKSON MURDOCK PLAN
We must work to ensure our residents are provided with the training and skills needed to compete in an ever-changing economy. As a minority and woman business owner, I know the benefit of having goals to ensure that contracting opportunities are made available to all. As a small business owner, I know how hard it is to grow and expand. Let’s work to support small businesses and entrepreneurship. As new businesses come to our community, let’s make sure they hire locally.
According to MIT’s living wage calculator, the minimum wage in North Carolina is far below the wage necessary for a person working full time to support themselves–that is, to pay for food, shelter, medical care, and transportation. Further, in Durham County, transportation and housing make up almost 60% of a single person’s yearly expenses–20% and 40% respectively. 16% of Durham County residents live below the poverty level, and a community health assessment recently identified poverty as one of the top three community priorities for Durham County residents. In Durham County, women ages 25-34 are most likely to live in poverty, and black and brown residents are more likely to live in poverty than white residents. Yet, the unemployment rate in Durham County is currently at 3.1%.
North Carolina’s private sector experienced a 1.2% job increase from February 2018 to February 2019, a drop from 1.7% growth between February 2017 and February 2018. Since 2015, the entrepreneurship growth rate in North Carolina, currently at .27%, has decreased by 12%. Over the past 10 years, there has been a 36% decline in loans made to small businesses and entrepreneurs, and 805,985 entrepreneurs in North Carolina are operating without employees. Further, 53% of entrepreneurs need less than $100,000 to start their business, and 63% used their own savings to start their business. Despite all this, small businesses employ almost half the private workforce in North Carolina.
As a minority and woman business owner, Natalie Murdock knows how hard it can be to start a new business. She knows from her own personal experience the challenges businesses in North Carolina face as they grow and expand. Natalie Murdock is personally invested in making the economy work for all North Carolinians, and she’s willing to fight for your jobs.
We must work to ensure our residents are provided with the training and skills needed to compete in an ever-changing economy. Let’s work to support small businesses and entrepreneurship. As new businesses come to our community, let’s make sure they hire locally.
OUR JUSTICE - THE PAULI MURRAY PLAN
Our district is in the midst of a criminal justice renaissance. More funds are needed to support the grassroots work of organizations right here in Durham that are working to implement needed reforms. I will work with the community to keep our neighborhoods and streets safe. As your state senator, I will support and fund our NC Reentry Council, fund money bail reforms, support criminal record expungement programs, strengthen domestic violence laws, support common sense gun laws, and support our immigrant community. We must stop locking people up for non-violent and minor drug offenses. As we combat the opioid crisis, we must also stop criminalizing the use of marijuana.
In a report from the Electoral Integrity Project, North Carolina received a score of 58 out of 100 for the 2016 election. This score is comparable to nations with authoritarian regimes and pseudo-democracies, such as Cuba, Indonesia, and Sierra Leone. Further, North Carolina scored lower on voting district boundary integrity than all countries evaluated by the report, receiving a score of 7/100.
North Carolina’s jail and prison incarceration rates are steadily increasing, with 160,000 people either incarcerated or under criminal justice supervision. North Carolina’s incarceration rates are higher than that of the next highest five countries’ incarceration rates combined. In Durham County, over 1,500 people are incarcerated. In Durham, black people make up more than 80% of the jail population, while making up only 38% of Durham’s population.
As a lifelong North Carolina native, Natalie is dedicated to ensuring North Carolina is committed to justice and a fair democratic process for all citizens. She feels a deep sense of duty and obligation toward continuing the path of progress that our parents, grandparents, ancestors and so many others established. Natalie will work to set a new, progressive agenda that will help create a direction to improve life for all in the district, in Durham County, and in North Carolina.
OUR NORTH CAROLINA
One recent example of how politics instead of the people’s business has set the agenda of the legislature involved the Speaker of the House of Representatives calling for an override vote of Governor Roy Cooper’s budget veto after making sure all Republicans were on the floor, while Democrats presumably thought no votes would be taken.
The state’s longtime poor experience with legislative gerrymandering based on race and political considerations serves as another sad example. The legislature’s efforts to take power and the ability of the governor to act as an executive is a third example which is detrimental to the people.
North Carolina’s legislature needs to tackle reforming its operations to guarantee that it works for all of the state’s people instead of the concerns of politicians.
Such reform should include:
Changing the state’s Constitution to clearly define the powers of the governor, so that he or she can act as an executive and daily oversee the executive branch. Such a change would ensure state government can work effectively and efficiently daily for the people.
Changing the state Constitution to stop legislative gerrymandering and establish a commission independent of political considerations. Such a change would ensure that the planning and drawing of all legislative and congressional districts occur fairly and to ensure that each vote matters in legislative and Congressional elections. The people need to pick their representatives instead of politicians choosing what people they will represent.
Establishing clear and fair rules for operation of the legislature. Such a change will ensure that the legislative branch focuses its work on improving the quality of life for all of the people in North Carolina instead of helping politicians hang onto power. After being put in place, such rules should only be changed by a two-thirds vote to ensure legislative rules always remain nonpartisan and focused on the people’s business.
These rules would require:
A clear 48-hour notice for all voting sessions
A clear 24-hour notice on all legislation that can come up in a voting session
Requirements that no votes can occur after 11 p.m. or on Sundays and other changes that would stop legislative leaders from manipulating the voting schedule and ensuring the legislature focuses solely on the people’s business
A specific code of conduct that all elected officials would have to receive and sign to ensure that they follow and keep the highest ethical standards
All of these changes and other reforms would make sure the legislature and state government works to improve our schools, create jobs for our people, rebuild roads and bridges and improves life in North Carolina for all residents.
A PUBLIC SERVANT AND LEADER
As the reigning supervisor for the Durham Soil and Water Conservation District, I have served Durham since 2018. The future of Durham and North Carolina are important to me and this drives me to step forward and serve District 20 through the growth and challenges we all face.
800 Finsbury St. # 2103 Durham, NC 27703