The 9th Congressional District campaign is finally nearing a conclusion. Election Day is Sept. 10. Of course, it’s a special election. A new election was ordered in February because of allegations of ballot fraud last year on behalf of Republican Mark Harris in his race against Democrat Dan McCready. Now, Dan Bishop is the Republican nominee against McCready. McCready stopped by WFAE’s studios to discuss immigration, health care and differences with Bishop.
Lisa Worf: You said we need immigration reform. What does that mean to you?
Dan McCready: We need Republicans and Democrats to sit down together and compromise and actually put together a bipartisan and a comprehensive immigration reform. It's what Americans have known we've needed to do for decades. But because of the partisanship in Washington and how broken that place is nothing is getting done.
Worf: So what does that mean to you? For example, does that support a path to citizenship for DACA recipients? What does it do with illegal immigration?
McCready: Yeah, well, I think it needs to do a few things. So, first of all, a comprehensive immigration reform should respect our laws. It's not OK that we have a situation right now in America where our laws are simply not being respected and where there are disagreements and, you know, laws and overlapping gray areas. That's No. 1.
No. 2, it needs to secure the border. I don't think that you need, you know, thousands of miles of wall to do that. You can do that with some of the tools I used when I was over in Iraq in the Marine Corps, from surveillance technology to infrared technology as well as additional physical barriers, investing in strengthening ports of entry, etc.
And then the third thing is a comprehensive immigration reform needs to respect our values as Americans. We've got 4-year-old kids being torn apart from their mothers at the border. These are not consistent with our values as Americans. They're not the right thing to do and so I think a lot of times people want to talk about, you know, the specific details of immigration policies, and that's all important, but I believe that all this has to be addressed as part of a large package.
Worf: So, I mean, as far as some of that give and take and compromise, it sounds like you do support a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients.
McCready: Yes, I support the act that was, you know, laid out various conditions toward becoming a citizen.
Worf: So, what if that involved, for example as one bill has involved, limiting legal immigration? Is that something that you would take?
McCready: You said limiting legal immigration?
McCready: How do you mean exactly?
Worf: Cutting back on, for example, like visa lotteries.
McCready: It's hard to focus on this actually one point here. I think we absolutely do need to take a look at the rules that guide the legal process for entering our country. I think there needs to be a pathway based on family. There should also be a pathway based on skills and professional skills.
Worf: Your health care plan emphasizes pre-existing conditions and moving away from fee-for-service model. How come since these are both already a part of the Affordable Care Act?
McCready: Well, politicians like state Sen. Bishop are trying to remove coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Most people don't realize this but most people actually have a pre-existing condition. When we did our research to come up with my comprehensive health care plan we found that 49% of people in this district under the age of 65 have a pre-existing condition.
Worf: Where have you seen your opponent, Dan Bishop, try to remove pre-existing conditions?
McCready: Well, he voted to do it in the legislature and page five of my health care plan goes in detail on his votes. He promotes these sham plans that are called association health plans which are opposed by the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society.
Worf: So, emphasizing - you're wanting to fight for the Affordable Care Act to keep it in place?
McCready: There's things that we need to reform. As part of the Affordable Care Act and there are parts of the act that we need to fix. Maintaining coverage for pre-existing conditions was the best part of the act and that absolutely needs to be maintained. We need to move away from this system that we've had for centuries where patients are charged based on the number of tests ordered, based on the number of doctor's visits, the number of procedures to a system where patients are actually charged based on the quality of care.
Worf: You said you don't support impeachment of the president. Did the Mueller testimony make you change your mind at all about that?
McCready: I think he needs to be defeated at the ballot box. The election's right around the corner. Anything that the thing about all these inquiries and testimony is it's all going to die with Mitch McConnell, anyway. So I'd rather see the Congress actually lower health care costs for people in North Carolina.
They're struggling. I'd like to see them be strengthening our public schools instead of perpetrating this war on our public schools like Betsy De Vos and state Sen. Bishop are doing. There's this war that's being conducted on our teacher pay in our public schools and one of those things.
Worf: What are you specifically talking about the teacher pay, since the legislature has been raising teacher pay over the last few years?
McCready: Well, not enough. It's still $8,000 below the national average.
Worf: Last week's settlement overturned part of HB2 and said transgender individuals can use the bathroom that matches their gender identity in state-owned buildings. Do you think cities should be allowed to pass ordinances like Charlotte tried to in 2016 that say transgender people can use the bathroom that matches their gender identity in all places of public accommodation - restaurants, theaters, things like that?
McCready: Well, here's what I say on bathrooms. I'll say two things. No. 1, it is amazing that we are still dealing with these issues that Dan Bishop created for us with his HB2, the bathroom bill. The damage to our economy according to The Associated Press was billions of dollars, you know, thousands of jobs lost that we even know about. And you know this is his signature legislative achievement. The second thing I'll say is I think the very worst thing that a politician can do is to talk about bathrooms. There are so many issues that people here in the 9th District are struggling with. I mean I just finished up a...
Worf: But it's something you criticized your opponent over. As far as HB 2, the reaction to this ordinance so why not weigh into it?
McCready: Well, I absolutely criticize him because this is his signature achievement, where he was literally the last man standing in the legislature arguing for this and we are still reeling with the issues he's caused for our state. So he absolutely needs to be answering these questions and owning up to it. I think that the worst thing that a politician can be doing is focusing on bathrooms.
Worf: If you got in, you would have one year in office. What would you hope to accomplish as a late incoming congressman?
McCready: Well, my top priority really is lowering health care costs for people in this in this district. And if I do have the honor of serving, one of the very first things that I'll do is take the comprehensive health care plan I've written, as well as the 10-point plan I've written to lower the costs of prescription drugs, and sit down and try to reach across the aisle and actually get something done in 2020 on these issues. The beauty of these plans I put together is not only does every single point save us money and lower costs but they're all nonpartisan. There's nothing in there that's partisan. There's nothing in there that we shouldn't be able to get done. And I'd like to see some stuff get done.
Worf: That's Dan McCready. Thank you very much.
McCready: Great to be on with you, Lisa.
We also reached out to Republican candidate Dan Bishop’s campaign for an interview, but we did not get a definitive answer. Bishop said he and campaign staff were considering it, but that he preferred a live segment that included McCready. We were told a campaign communications official would get back to WFAE, but that didn’t occur.