Editor's note: This is the first in a series of previews of
Sept. 10 primaries in Wake legislative districts. Next: The
Republican primary in N.C. Senate District 15.
KNIGHTDALE -- One thing is for sure: A Knightdale woman will
win the Republican primary in N.C. Senate District 14.
Carol Bennett and Loretta Thompson, both political newcomers,
want to represent residents in a new district that covers eastern
Wake County. The winner of the primary Sept. 10 faces veteran
Democrat Vernon Malone, a Wake County commissioner, and
Libertarian Richard Davison on Nov. 5. The district's incumbent
senator, Democrat Brad Miller, is running for Congress. The area
has a slight Democratic majority.
Both Bennett and Thompson say North Carolina needs tighter
reins on the state budget, and both want to improve education.
"It starts at the top with the budget," said Bennett, 59, a
horse breeder. "We need to attack the whole fiscal program of the
entire state, find out where the money is seeping out and plug up
those holes. That should put more money back into the budget for
Her days as a physics professor at the University of Illinois
taught her the importance of education, she said. "Leave no child
unlearned. That's my motto," Bennett said. "If people will
realize what they really want is better education for every
child, they'll vote for me."
For two years, Thompson has been the host of "Take A Stand," a
local access cable television program that offers a conservative
Christian view of social and financial issues. She's also a
leader in North Carolina's anti-abortion movement.
"The children we educate today are the leaders of tomorrow,"
said Thompson, 45, an administrative assistant. "It's imperative
that our children are safe, that they are well-educated and that
education also looks at moral issues. Our system of government is
not designed to succeed in an amoral society. In everything that
I look at, I'm looking at the children."
Split over lottery
Though both Thompson and Bennett support allowing parents to
use tax-funded vouchers to send their childrento private and
parochial schools, they disagree about a state lottery.
Bennett said she would support a voter-approved lottery with
tight financial management, but Thompson has signed a pledge with
Citizens for a Sound Economy never to support one.
"The lottery is another tax that tells our children you don't
have to get a good education, you can play the lottery and be
set, as opposed to working hard, saving their money and moving
forward," Thompson said.
A beef with lawyers
Bennett, who has devoted the past eight years to her
independent law studies, often represents herself in court and
has been involved in at least a dozen lawsuits since 1994. She is
appealing an order that requires her to get a lawyer's help to
file any more legal paperwork.
Tailgaters can see what drives Bennett on her two bumper
stickers, which say "Vote for Non-Lawyers" and "Make Lawyers
Accountable." She started a grass-roots movement called Citizens
for Legal Reform to encourage voters to elect candidates who are
The day before the primary, Thompson will be on the
last-minute campaign circuit, but Bennett expects to be in court.
A 4-year-old case is scheduled to go to trial Sept. 9, and she
plans to be there to represent herself.
N.C. SENATE DISTRICT 14 REPUBLICAN PRIMARY
THE JOB: The 50-member N.C. Senate helps decide how the state
spends $ 14 billion a year, oversees state agencies and passes
laws on state and local issues. Senators also appoint people to
state boards and provide constituent services.
SALARY: $ 13,951 a year, plus $ 559 monthly expense allowance
and $ 104 a day for other expenses during session.
TERM: Two years.
HOME: 1709 Horton Road, Knightdale.
DATE OF BIRTH: Feb. 4, 1943.
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in physics, University of
Michigan, 1965; education certificate, 1966; master's degree in
physics, University of Michigan, 1967; Ph.D. candidacy,
University of Michigan, 1969.
OCCUPATION: Self-employed horse breeder; owner, Brighton
Stables and Centerline Tack.
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: None.
CIVIC ACTIVITIES: Member, N.C. Horse Council; member, HALT, a
legal reform advocacy group; member, N.C. Consumers Council.
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Christian.
HOBBIES: Horses, legal research.
POLITICAL HERO: President Ronald Reagan.
LAST BOOK READ: "North Carolina Civil Procedure" by G. Gray
WHAT MAKES YOU BEST QUALIFIED: "No. 1, I am not a lawyer, and
No. 2, I have a social conscience and devotion to protect our
TOP PRIORITY IF ELECTED: The state budget. "Attack the budget.
Make the government accountable for expenditures. I want to bring
the money back to the people."
HOW TO CONTACT: Phone, 217-2410; e-mail,
cb0901@@bellsouth.net; Web site (under construction),
HOME: 107 Brookfield Drive, Knightdale.
DATE OF BIRTH: Jan. 2, 1957.
FAMILY: Husband, Stacy; two sons, one stepson, one
EDUCATION: Diploma, Furman High School, 1975.
OCCUPATION: Administrative assistant, Triangle Temporaries.
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: None.
CIVIC ACTIVITIES: State director, American Victims of
Abortion, 1998 to present; vice president, N.C. Right to Life,
1999-present; chairwoman, Wake County Right to Life, 1996 to
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Sunday school teacher, Green Pines
HOBBIES: Reading, road trips.
POLITICAL HEROES: Presidents Ronald Reagan and Abraham
LAST BOOK READ: "None Dare Call It Education," by John
WHAT MAKES YOU BEST QUALIFIED: "I understand the unique
challenges of eastern Wake County. I grew up on a farm in South
Carolina. I know the issues and will fight for the people's
rights and needs. I live in eastern Wake and I am committed to
have their voices heard."
TOP PRIORITY IF ELECTED: "I will work to ensure the
appropriate funding is there to complete the [Interstate] 540
Loop and the U.S. 64 Bypass. I will work to ensure our schools
have what they need to educate our future (the children of N.C.).
I will work for a balanced and reasonable budget."