Exchange draws views on issues

Published 8:29 am Friday, April 2, 2010

Staff Writer

NEW BERN — A exchange between an incumbent state senator and his general-election opponent threw into relief the candidates’ views on tax credits and immigration policy.
In an N.C.-20 meeting on Wednesday, Republican Hood Richardson challenged state Sen. Marc Basnight, D-Dare.
The interaction took place in a question-and-answer period after the senator’s speech to N.C.-20, which lobbies on behalf of 20 eastern counties in the state.
Richardson, a Beaufort County commissioner, is running against Basnight in Senate District 1.
With the audience looking on, the Washington resident asked the Manteo senator whether he would favor enacting a 10-percent state tax credit for all businesses employing 50 people or less.
Richardson wanted to know if Basnight would push for the tax credit in the next legislative session.
Richardson also asked whether Basnight would “be willing to export the illegal workers in the state of North Carolina in order to create jobs for our people.”
Basnight said he would have to look into the 10-percent tax credit proposal.
“I could answer that at a later date,” he said. “We have to be certain that it corresponds with all of our tax credits that are in place at this time and see that (it) is the creator (of jobs).”
Moving on to “the federal issue of illegal workers,” Basnight said: “I have a situation in Manteo High School — a little young lady who is graduating this year. She is illegal, I’m told. She came here, I’m told, when she was 3. Do you send her back? Would you do that, Hood?”
Richardson responded: “Yes. Illegal is illegal. It doesn’t matter who it applies to. We need jobs for people who work here in the United States.”
After a very brief pause, Basnight said: “I would not send her back,” scoring applause from most of the people in the room.
“She is no different,” he continued. “She came here as one of God’s people, and she was caught in a government that gives no allowance for her situation. And he (Richardson) and I will differ. Write it down. I will not send the 3-year-old who is graduating from Manteo High this year back.”
After the senator ended his remarks, he shook hands and spoke briefly with numerous people who sidelined him on his way out of the room.
Richardson followed Basnight out of the room at some distance, then stood close by as the senator faced a phalanx of television cameras and answered questions about N.C.-20 subjects.
Richardson was given equal time in front of the cameras.
Basnight represents eight counties, including Beaufort County.
He will face off with Richardson in the Nov. 2 general election.