03/14/08 — Democrat Carroll seeks Senate District 12 seat

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Democrat Carroll seeks Senate District 12 seat

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on March 14, 2008 1:53 PM

Currently in his fourth term as a member of the Johnston County Board of Education, Democrat Kay Carroll is hoping to make the jump to state politics as he runs for his party's nomination for the open Senate District 12 seat.

Carroll, who has been on the school board for 16 years, said he is concerned about the imbalance between the local and state governments as North Carolina's population continues to grow.

"Johnston County and western Wayne County are experiencing growth issues that we have been dealing with," he said. "And those are some areas I think the state could help with, but we have not gotten a whole lot of help lately."

Specifically, he said, the biggest problems are in the areas of schools, public health and safety, water and sewer infrastructure, and roads.

"The majority of those impacts have been passed down to the school systems and the counties," he said. "The lines between what's state government and local government responsibility has blurred because the state is not putting the funding in."

In terms of schools, he wants to see more funding for state-mandated programs.

"They push down on the local budgets," he said. "At the state level, if we're going to dream up programs that are going to cost money, we should make sure that funding is attached to that legislation."

He also thinks that something needs to be done on the state level in terms of health care -- a problem he's seen firsthand as the owner and operator of Carroll Pharmacy in his hometown of Smithfield.

And, while he acknowledges the fact that the state Department of Transportation maintains the majority of North Carolina's roads, he doesn't think it's right that local governments and private developers shoulder all the burden for improvements around driveways and other access points.

"They're just passing those costs down to the local level, but a lot of people believe highway and traffic maintenance should be a state issue," he said.

Carroll, 60, explained that by running for the state Senate, he hopes to bring a local perspective to those debates.

"I can bring a viewpoint from the county and the effect these have on our local governments and their budgets," he said.

It's something that he has a passion for, and now, with his pharmacy running smoothly, something he can devote his time to.

"The timing is just right," Carroll said. "All my adult life I've been involved in community and church activities. I have seen the benefits community service can provide to the area, and you just get so much in return.

"This is an office, other than the board of education, that I think can be very helpful to the district. If we can have a seat at the table, it can give us a leg up in the final solution."

And he promises that if elected, he won't just represent Johnston County.

"It's the people of District 12 you serve and when you're elected, you should be working to serve all the people in District 12," he said.

Already he's been in actively seeking out people in Wayne County, particularly in the Fremont area, asking what issues are important to them.

"I think they feel disenfranchised, but I will be someone they can get in touch with and talk to," he said.

Also running for the Democratic nomination on May 6 is Johnston County resident Patricia Oliver.