Switch to the new WRAL
Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: Debate exchange on drugs shows Budd's more about rhetoric than solutions

Posted October 11, 2022 5:00 a.m. EDT

Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican Ted Budd answer questions during an hour-long debate moderated by Spectrum News 1 political anchor Tim Boyum at Spectrum News 1 studio in Raleigh, NC Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. (photo by Travis Long/Raleigh News & Observer)

CBC Editorial: Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022; editorial #8795
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

What North Carolinians want and need in a U.S. senator is someone who recognizes and understands the needs of the state and its people and will advocate for them in the halls of Congress.

If there’s one thing that came clear in the televised debate last week between Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican Ted Budd – the two main candidates for U.S. Senate – is that Budd is utter lacking in the perception and comprehension necessary.

To those watching and listening, nothing demonstrated his aloofness, detachment and lack of empathy than his response to questions about potential legalization of marijuana.

North Carolinians overwhelmingly back legalization – 72% favor it for medical use while 57% support it for recreational use. “I'm not a supporter of legalization, especially for recreational marijuana,” Budd declared. He then detoured off into a from-the-Trump-script rant about illegal immigration and securing the borders and veered off into drug trafficking of fentanyl.

Never, in the course of his discussion of marijuana or illegal drugs did he mention the HUGE toll that drug addiction is taking on the state, any concern for those who struggle with addiction or who are its victims. Nor did he make any mention of efforts to address this. It was about law enforcement and no concern, support or help for those struggling to overcome addiction – too often at the hands of profit-hungry corporations, careless medical professionals and aloof pharmacists.

Ted Budd answers question during US Senate debate

This is no small issue in North Carolina. For 2022, North Carolina is on a record pace for opioid overdose deaths – 2,763 through this August compared to 2,618 over the same period a year ago. Similarly, emergency room visits for opioid overdoses are on a record-setting pace – 6,168 through August compared to 5,776 for the same period last year.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, along with state attorneys general around the nation, has secured billions in settlements from corporate drug makers and distributors – NOT illegal immigrants or drug smugglers – to deal with the ravaged lives their carelessness and greed has left in their wake. Those funds are now going directly into North Carolina communities to help local programs deal with helping addicts and the personal and public problems related to this epidemic.

Cheri Beasley answer question during US Senate debate

It was Beasley, who in her comments was both responsive to the question – she supports decriminalization of marijuana – but also to the need to address the legal and physical toll of opioids.

“Congressman Budd has had every opportunity to fund law enforcement to the tune of more than $30 million and part of that would (have) been addressing the opioid crisis,” Beasley said. As a trial court judge and as a state appellate judge Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court she understands the distinctions between those arrested and convicted for simple marijuana use – and those who are trafficking in narcotics. She has worked to make the courts more responsive to those seeking to deal with the ravages of addiction while also making sure those who peddle drugs and prey upon others get the justice they deserve.

“There is a great opportunity as we think about ways in which to reform the current justice system to … address for disparities in sentencing and also to get people back to work,” Beasley said.

Not a mention, not a word of concern for the opioid crisis or seeking to confront it out of Budd.

Denying the 2020 election results and now ignoring the opioid addiction health crisis.

Ted Budd shows more allegiance to Donald Trump than he does to the values and concerns of the people in North Carolina. He’s not what the state needs in its next U.S. senator.

Capitol Broadcasting Company's Opinion Section seeks a broad range of comments and letters to the editor. Our Comments beside each opinion column offer the opportunity to engage in a dialogue about this article.

In addition, we invite you to write a letter to the editor about this or any other opinion articles. Here are some tips on submissions >> SUBMIT A LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Capitol Broadcasting Company's Opinion Section seeks a broad range of comments and letters to the editor. Our Comments beside each opinion column offer the opportunity to engage in a dialogue about this article.

In addition, we invite you to write a letter to the editor about this or any other opinion articles. Here are some tips on submissions >> SUBMIT A LETTER TO THE EDITOR