Issues and Opportunities

We can create opportunity for everyone in North Carolina.

High-quality health care

“All people have a right to affordable quality health care. This is not just what I believe; it has been my life’s work.”

Where I stand:

I will make good, affordable healthcare in North Carolina my top priority starting on my first day in office. Medicaid expansion is a good way to start as it makes both medical and economic sense, particularly for rural counties like ours.


Unacceptable numbers of people in Franklin and Nash Counties are paying far too much for their health insurance. We must change this.

Also, far too many people in our counties have no health insurance at all and are needlessly suffering and dying. That's why Medicaid expansion must be a top priority.

  • It would bring healthcare to almost 400,000 people, a large proportion of the more than 1 million North Carolina residents who have no health insurance.
  • Currently, many NC residents must choose between ignoring medical issues or risking bankruptcy if they seek medical treatment. Medicaid expansion would eliminate this problem.
  • Medicaid expansion would provide a huge stimulus to economic development in rural counties such as Franklin and Nash.
  • We would recover from the federal government $10 billion of our own tax dollars that are currently blocked due to Republican resistance to Medicaid expansion. Currently, our money is being used to fund health care and economic development in other states.
  • Those recovered tax dollars can generate thousands of high-paying jobs in NC, help save rural hospitals and physicians, and could result in well over $1 billion of new state revenue. In fact, it can more than pay for the cost of Medicaid expansion.
  • Dr. Stover's 2020 Plan for Health Care in North Carolina can be found HERE.

    Education

    “Public education is the bedrock of our democracy.”

    Where I stand:

    Our educational system has been failing our children, and that must stop. I would support current ongoing efforts to provide better support to teachers, improve pre-K to grade 12 education across the board, and enhance the quality of our college and trades training systems.


    Under former administrations, NC had developed an excellent educational system. But since 2010, our state government has failed to live up to both constitutional mandate and court order to ensure that all North Carolina children receive a quality public education.

  • Funding for public education has been systematically reduced through a series of punishing budget cuts.

  • Teachers’ salaries have fallen to an embarrassing level, and funds for supplies have been eliminated.

  • Incentive payments for teachers with higher degrees (masters and doctorates) are gone.

  • Our Community College system is no longer one of the best in the nation, currently ranking 38th in the country.

    Our children deserve better, and we can do better. Improvement of our educational system must be a priority for North Carolina. I will work to enhance support for our public schools and colleges, expand support of post-secondary training in the trades, and ensure that everyone in North Carolina has access to a high-quality education.

  • Economic Development

    “Economic development is second only to education as an effective way to expand opportunity and reduce poverty in rural counties like ours.”

    Where I stand:

    I strongly support rural economic development that expands universal access to broadband, creates high-quality jobs for lower- and middle-class workers, fosters the expansion of existing small businesses and farms, and promotes the growth of new businesses and industries in our counties.


    As both a public servant (see Meet Phil) and initiator of four different businesses in Franklin County, I know the economic needs of small rural counties such as Franklin and Nash.

    We have many exciting prospects for economic development in our area. With multiple industrial sites in development in both Franklin and southern Nash Counties, the expansion of Franklin County's all-weather airport, the revitalization of the downtowns of many of our small towns, and the four-laning of 401, we will be in an excellent position to expand our industrial and commercial bases. This will bring both about an increase in well-paying jobs and increased tax revenue to support our public schools.

    We also must remember the importance of our agribusiness and farming community. We must seek to support small farms by supporting diversification, new products like hemp, increased use of locally grown produce, and tax breaks for farmland.

    As your representative in the state legislature, I will work diligently to see that these projects and others like them are supported by state and federal governments.

    The Opioid Crisis and Chronic Pain

    “There are two huge and inadequately treated chronic diseases in this country: opioid addiction and chronic pain.”

    While steps taken to improve opioid prescribing to prevent addiction have had some success, they have also resulted in the unintended consequence of leaving chronic pain patients unable to obtain adequate care.

    Where I stand:

    We need to strike a balance that better serves the needs of our community while providing high-quality care for both opioid abuse and chronic pain patients. As a physician who has treated both of these diseases for the past 20 years, I can bring a unique perspective to the legislature on how to provide that more balanced approach.


    Opioid addiction and chronic pain affect over one-third of the people in our nation.

  • Opioid addiction is widely recognized as a blight on our country. On average, 6 North Carolinians die each day from an unintentional overdose, resulting in immense pain and suffering in our families and communities.

  • Chronic pain, which can leave patients in unyielding agony and severely disables millions of North Carolinians, is less well recognized by the general public.

    The two diseases are closely interrelated. Overprescribing of opioids for pain over many years helped fuel the opioid crisis. However, withholding opioids where they are often helpful in the management of chronic unrelenting pain has led to needless suffering and disability. This too often leads to chronic pain sufferers using illegal opioids, not to get high, but to seek relief for their pain.

    Unfortunately, recent well-intended steps taken by our legislature to better manage the opioid prescription process are having a negative impact on many chronic pain patients. While the North Carolina STOP Act, passed in 2017 to promote better opioid prescribing, appears to have had some success, it also has had unintended consequences where patients with chronic pain are no longer able to get adequate treatment.

    We need to strike a balance that better serves the needs of society, opioid abusers, and chronic pain patients. The first step in achieving this balance is to better educate elected officials, the general public, and medical professionals on the best way to treat both of these conditions.

  • Systemic Racism

    “It is time for America to recognize its flawed past. No nation can be truly great until it acknowledges its mistakes and seeks to rectify them.”

    Where I stand:

    We cannot undo the impact of 400 years of systematic suppression in a day but there definitely are steps, large and small, that we can take to eliminate racist aspects from our government and our economy.

    While it is true that America as a nation has accomplished great things, it is unfortunately also true that this country has a long and awful history of slavery and subsequent suppression of its Black people. Peonage and Black Codes, JimCrow, decades of lynching and burning, government-imposed segregation, discriminatory government programs, and more have all combined to give White Americans numerous advantages and opportunities for creation of wealth over the past century, all while denying the same for Black Americans while imposing hurdles and barriers that have contributed to widespread poverty.

    Today, most of White America is only dimly aware of that dismal history. I'm ashamed to admit that I was not aware of the Juneteenth celebration until this year. In an America where “all men are created equal” and “all citizens are equal under the law”, our institutions and our economy and our culture have conspired to perpetuate conditions that not only leave Black Americans behind, but also attempts to keep them “in their place”. I saw very little about this in the history books while I was in school. Was that your experience, as well?

    Black people in America have been systematically suppressed and kept from realizing "The American Dream" for the past four centuries. As a result, Black families today lag far behind their white brethren with greater unemployment, less home ownership, less access to healthcare and nutritious food, and less wealth. This is not due to their genetic inferiority, lack of motivation, or any other fault white supremacists can dream up. When Black communities are given the freedom and opportunity to grow from within, they do well, as was the case with the so-called Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma, until it was burned to the ground by a White mob in 1921.

    We cannot undo the impact of 400 years of systematic suppression in a day but there definitely are steps, large and small, that we can take to eliminate racist aspects from our government and our economy. Here are some examples:

  • Eliminate government and corporate policies and procedures that have the effect of giving White people advantage over People of Color.

  • Change police culture to put more focus on “protect and serve”, rather than “suppress and control”, by implementing better training with emphasis on de-escalation techniques and avoiding bias.”

  • Better civilian control of police departments, including civilian oversight boards with the power to discipline.

  • Redirect police to primarily the enforcement of criminal law while realocating funding to other groups better trained to handle nonviolent/noncriminal encounters ( mentally ill, domestic disputes, non-moving traffic violations, etc.)

  • Ensure that everyone has access to good, affordable healthcare.

  • Provide quality public education to all communities.

  • Institute a living minimum wage index to inflation so that no working people have to live in poverty.

  • Recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday equal in importance to July 4th. This holiday should be held on June 19th of each year regardless of what day of the week on which it falls, as is done with July 4th.

  • Environment and Climate Change

    “The weather we are seeing is consistent with the worst-case predictions of climatologists. Global Warming is happening now.”

    Where I stand:

    I care deeply about the environment and I am fully in support of an aggressive response to climate change. Currently, the state’s economy and the well-being of its citizens are at risk. There are a number of steps that the State of NC can take to keep our environment healthy while blunting the onset of Climate Change and reducing its impact.

    We are at a critical tipping point. The weather we are seeing (more severe hurricanes, extreme droughts, record-breaking wild fires on a global scale, and melting ice caps) is consistent with the worst-case predictions of climatologists. This is not fake news - it is the new reality that threatens the economic and physical well-being of future generations, starting with our grandchildren!

    What can be done

    I support the Green New Deal in principle, but I also realize that, in some sectors, total conversion to renewable sources may not be possible in the near term. Nonetheless, we should be able to achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions and reduce global warming in the near future by converting most of our economy to renewables, green-hydrogen, and other clean technologies over the next 20 years. This will have the wonderful side-effect of rejuvenating the state’s economy (i.e. more and better jobs).

    There is a great deal that NC can do, including:

  • Aggressively seek to stop the development of new pipelines and offshore gas and oil exploration; eliminate fracking

  • Set clean energy targets for state utilities (e.g. stop all development of new fossil fuel power plants; end the use of coal for power generation)

  • Promote the development of utility scale solar, wind, and battery

  • Encourage migration to electric vehicles and other electric devices through tax breaks and other measures

  • Support community solar, agrivoltaics, and other cutting-edge approaches that reduce power bills, help farmers grow their income, and assist in development of a larger county-level tax base

  • Fund training programs so workers in fossil-fuel related industries can find employment in a renewables-based economy

  • Clean up our environmental mess (e.g. Genx and the coal ash that threatens our waterways)

  • Have NC DENR take on the work that the federal EPA has dropped