My name is Brian Caskey, and I’m the Democratic nominee in the November 3, 2020 election for North Carolina’s State Senate, in District 48.
With which party are you running for office?
I am a lifelong Democrat. My grandmother wouldn’t have had it any other way. I’m a moderate, but my values align with those of the Democratic Party.
Why are you running for office?
I’m running for office because I’ve been very successful, as a councilman in Mills River, at getting a number of things done that will benefit our community for many years to come. So much of what I do can be extended to the rest of the district. For instance, we have attracted a large amount of high-paying light manufacturing jobs, and we’ve done that while keeping an eye on how to protect our environment at the same time. We’re installing solar panels and electric car chargers on town property, we’re building bike/ped facilities and adding services at our town park. We also just completed a survey for a comprehensive use plan. We’ll use those results to inform our decision-making going forward – for instance, over seventy percent of the respondents favor preserving green spaces, so right now one of my priorities will be keeping farmland in production through agricultural easements and other creative partnerships.
Another reason I’m running for the NC Senate is because I’ve been very successful at working across the aisle (I am the first and only Democrat ever elected in the Town of Mills River), and I think I can leverage those abilities to help solve some of the larger issues that we are finding across the district (food insecurity, a lack of good jobs and education, poverty, environmental issues). I am the right person to represent this district in the General Assembly, because I am not easily labeled, I’m a firm believer in both empathy and toughness, and I get things done.
What is the biggest issue facing your community and how do you propose helping?
A lot of North Carolina families are barely making ends meet right now, and some aren’t making ends meet at all. As the current legislature prioritizes tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, and as those tax cuts continue to fail, the working poor are being affected in an incredibly negative way. My wife and I volunteer at a food bank a couple of days a month, and we see young working people, teachers, nurses, families, children, and the elderly coming through the line — people of all types who would not have enough to eat if that food bank didn’t exist. In Henderson, Transylvania and Buncombe County, child food insecurity exists at a rate that approaches 22% — what that means is that after mom and dad get done paying the bills, there may not be enough left to buy food. That’s unconscionable in an American society that prides itself on being a world leader. We also need to prioritize healthcare by expanding Medicaid. The common argument by those who want to deny health coverage to our working poor is that they should get a job. Well, access to Medicaid is income-based, so those who can’t work or won’t work already have access to it! Our working poor are the ones being punished for earning “just a little too much” because they then don’t qualify for healthcare services. And the worst part is, we’re already paying for Medicaid expansion; it’s just that our federal tax dollars are going to other states. In addition to expanding Medicaid, one giant leap that we can take to ensure greater equity would be to restore the Earned Income Tax Credit, because that raises the deduction for working families and allows them to keep more of what they’ve earned. It’s the easiest way to raise people up out of poverty.
How do we fix the partisan divide in our country and start working together again?
The easiest way to fix the partisan divide in our country in North Carolina is by getting corruption and corporate money out of the conversation. We must elect leaders who are more interested in getting things done and in helping people than they are in being re-elected. In North Carolina, we have seen far too many instances where elected officials desire to consolidate their hold on power, and their access to corporate money, through gerrymandering and voter suppression. That’s not representative democracy, and we must be constantly vigilant of any situation where politicians are choosing their voters instead of the other way around. We must return integrity to politics by electing men and women who believe that the interests of the people of North Carolina should come before the interests of corporations. We must do these things — sometimes taking the hard road instead of the easy one — for the sake of our children, because they will inherit the future that we are creating today.
Who is your hero?
My personal hero is Robert Kennedy, who said, “All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.”
What are your hobbies?
I am an avid kayaker, hiker, and fisherman (catch and release). I also like to restore old cars, and currently am driving a 1971 Datsun 240Z.
What is the most recent book you read?
I recently read ‘Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East’ by Scott Anderson, and I’m currently reading ‘The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777’ by Rick Atkinson.
Do you have any kids/pets/talking houseplants?
My wife, Stacey, and I have two daughters, Allison and Caitlyn. We also have three dachshunds: Bella, Barney and Jolene.
How can people get involved in your campaign?
I have a campaign website at www.briancaskey.com, and volunteers are welcome to indicate their interest in participating in my campaign there! I am also very active on social media, especially Twitter and Facebook. I suggest that anyone who wants to know more about me and what issues are important for North Carolinians engage with me there or via personal email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And of course, campaign donations are always appreciated: briancaskey.com/about/donations.
What question do you wish we’d asked, and what is your answer?
What are your qualifications for elected office?
I’m a councilman in the Town of Mills River, and have a BS in Biology from Stetson University and a Master’s degree from UNC-Wilmington. I have lived in Western North Carolina since 1997 and I understand the people and the needs of District 48.
Where can we learn more about you?
You can follow me on Facebook or Twitter, where I’m active daily. Or you can read more on my candidate profile at Ballotpedia.