Hagan has embraced her ranking by the National Journal this summer as “the most moderate senator,” to which Tillis responds by pointing out that she has voted with Obama 95 percent of the time.
This newspaper has commended Hagan’s efforts to reach across party lines, such as earlier this year when she worked with Republicans to introduce the Sportsmen’s Act of 2014, aimed at providing more access to federal lands. But Hagan has never emerged as a recognizable advocate for compromise. In fact, she has steadfastly supported what is arguably the most divisive piece of legislation this nation has endured — the Affordable Care Act.
Tillis can be criticized for his stance on rejecting Medicaid expansion dollars, which has allowed too many working North Carolinians to fall through the cracks in health care coverage. The move also has hurt this state’s network of health care providers, a sizable portion of which are built around government subsidies for indigent care. Tillis’ defense of that position has merit, however, especially noting that he believes the situation should change next year, now that the state has corrected budgeting problems with Medicaid.
Although Tillis favors diversifying the public school model in ways that will not benefit most North Carolina families whose children occupy schools, his extensive involvement in public schools, including serving as PTA president, is impressive. Given the chance to expound on his vision for public education and many other issues, Tillis comes across as thoughtful, compromising, well studied and sincere.
Tillis sees government’s primary function as helping to promote job growth. His economic ideas and views on regulation are favorable toward corporations and wealthy people, with the expectation that such policies would benefit everyone through job creation. That view has merit, but must be mindful of the burdens faced by middle- and lower-income citizens in making sure the balance does not swing too far.
For Republicans, this and other key Senate races seek to end the gridlock that has essentially shut down the U.S. Senate. Tillis is right in pointing out that the ACA was ill conceived, deceptively promoted and is hurting far more Americans than it is helping. He is right to point out that Hagan’s support for the ACA has disrupted the health care plans and raised the cost of coverage for most of her constituents.
The nation must move beyond the failed policies and partisan gridlock that have served to stagnate incomes and slow economic recovery by stopping the wheels of government, most notably in the Senate.
North Carolina can best contribute to facilitating that change by electing Thom Tillis on Nov. 4.