Richard Burr vs. Deborah Ross: Nonpartisan Candidate Guide For 2016 North Carolina Senate Race

Are you looking for a nonpartisan voter guide for the Richard Burr vs. Deborah Ross Senate race? One that will give you an accurate, no-spin comparison of the candidates’ positions on key issues? Our Campus Election Engagement Project is a national nonpartisan initiative working to increase student electoral participation. At the request of the schools we work with, we’ve created concise nonpartisan candidate guides for the presidential race, for the importance of the 2016 election on future Supreme Court decisions, and for 20 Senate and Governor’s races, including this Senate race. Our lead researcher spent 19 years as a senior editor at Encyclopedia Britannica, and we invite readers to share this and our other guides as widely as possible

So here are the issue-by-issue stands for Richard Burr and Deborah Ross. Visit our Nonpartisan Candidate Guides home page to find links to all our other guides, including the North Carolina Governor Guide, with most available in both online/mobile friendly and printable PDF formats.

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Abortion: Should abortion be highly restricted?

Burr: Yes

Ross: No

Campaign Finance: Do you support the DISCLOSE Act, which requires key funders of political ads to put their names on those ads?

Burr: No

Ross: Yes

Campaign Finance: Support Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allows unlimited independent political expenditures by corporations and unions?

Burr: Yes

Ross: No

Climate Change: Believe that human activity is the major factor driving climate change?

Burr: No [1]

Ross: Yes

Climate Change: Should government limit the levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere?SS

Burr: No

Ross: Yes

Contraception: Should employers be able to withhold contraceptive coverage from employees if they disagree with it morally?

Burr: Yes

Ross: No

Economy: Support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?

Burr: No

Ross: Yes

Financial Regulation: Support the Dodd-Frank Act, which established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and increases regulation of Wall Street corporations and financial institutions?

Burr: No

Ross: Almost certainly a yes, based on other stands, but no direct statements found

Gay Marriage: Support gay marriage?

Burr: No[2]

Ross: Yes

Gay Rights: Should transgender individuals have the right to use public bathrooms of their choice?

Burr: No[3]

Ross: Yes

Gun Control: Support more restrictive gun control legislation?

Burr: No

Ross: Yes

Healthcare: Repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare?

Burr: Yes

Ross: No

Healthcare: Should Planned Parenthood be eligible to receive public funds for non-abortion health services?

Burr: No

Ross: Yes

Immigration: Support the DREAM Act, which would allow children brought into the country illegally to achieve legal status if meet certain conditions? [4]

Burr: No. Considers Obama’s Executive Order to be overreach.

Ross: Yes

Immigration: Should America’s 11 million undocumented residents have an earned path to citizenship?

Burr: No

Ross: Yes

Iran: Support the US-Iran treaty that limits Iran’s nuclear capability in return for lifting economic sanctions?

Burr: No

Ross: Yes

Iraq: How should the US combat ISIS?

Burr: Eliminate Isis rather than contain it, specific plans unclear.

Ross: “Take them out, cut off supplies, work with allies.”

Marijuana: Decriminalize and/or legalize marijuana?

Burr: No. Opposes medical and recreational.[5]

Ross: Supports medical marijuana

Minimum Wage: Raise the federal minimum wage?

Burr: No

Ross: Yes

Prisons: Switch money from prisons to preventive measures like education and social services?

Burr: Unknown. Did vote for easing mandatory minimum sentencing.

Ross: Increase community policing & no incarceration for nonviolent misdemeanors.

Renewable Energy: Support government mandates and/or subsidies for renewable energy?

Burr: No

Ross: Yes

Social Security: Support full or partial Social Security privatization?

Burr: Yes

Ross: No

Student Debt: Refinance student loans at lower rates, paid for by increasing taxes on high earners?

Burr: No. Supported bills to simplify repayment, but opposed expanding subsidies to support refinancing.

Ross: Yes. Supports refinancing student loan debt, reining in private for-profit colleges, & making first two years of community college free.

Student Financial Aid: Should federal student financial aid, like Pell Grants, be increased?

Burr: No

Ross: Yes

Supreme Court: Support the Senate holding hearings to consider Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland?

Burr: No

Ross: Yes

Taxes: Signed Americans for Tax Reform Pledge to oppose “any and all” tax increases to raise revenue?

Burr: Yes

Ross: No

Taxes: Increase taxes on corporations and/or high-income individuals to pay for public services?

Burr: No

Ross: Yes. Wants “corporations and the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.”

Voting Rights: Support stricter voting rules such as voter ID requirements or reduced registration times, even if they prevent some people from voting?

Burr: Yes[6]

Ross: No

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Other senate candidates include Sean Haugh (L) Due to limited space, we can’t include his positions, but invite you to check out his website.

Created by the Campus Election Engagement Project, a non-partisan effort to help college and university administrators, faculty, and student leaders engage their schools in the election. Key sites consulted included Votesmart.org, Countable.us, Ballotpedia.org, OntheIssues.org, FactCheck.org, Politifact.com, and public candidate statements. For a guide to all races, see Vote411.org, from the League of Women Voters, and Ballotready.org.

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[1] Considered a climate denier throughout his career, in 2015 Burr voted in favor of an amendment that stated “climate change is real and not a hoax” while simultaneously voting against an amendment that stated “climate change is real and human activity contributes to [it].”

[2] Personal belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Legislatively, voted several times through 2010 to ban same-sex marriage. In anticipation of Supreme Court ruling, took the position that it should be decided by the states.

[3] Opposed Obama’s Executive Order, stating decision should be made by states, parents, and communities. Later, in response to backlash against NC anti-LGBT legislation, said state had gone too far and should “rein it in before a judge does it for them.”

[4] Need to have graduated from high school, have a clean legal record, and attend college or serve in the military.

[5] Recent public statements focus on enforcing federal law regarding marijuana. Opposes medical as well as recreational use, stating in 2010 that “I’m on the record for believing that medical marijuana has no real intrinsic values that you can’t get through other things.”

[6] Supported NC’s more restrictive state voting laws and voted for 2013 amendment to require voter ID for federal elections.

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