As part of a series of conversations with mountain area lawmakers about the recently-completed legislative session, we sat down with Josh Dobson, a Republican state House member representing Avery, McDowell, and Mitchell counties. Dobson is serving his first full term, after being appointed to his seat and then winning re-election. In our conversation, Dobson highlighted his goals of preserving quality public education and healthcare in western North Carolina. He also spoke about his conservative values on social issues like abortion and gay marriage. You can hear that full conversation above. Some highlights are featured below.
As mentioned above, one of Dobson's goals as a member of the legislature is preserving and strengthening public schools. That's why he says he was opposed to a recent bill that would have shifted some funds from traditional public schools to charter schools. The last-minute bill didn't make it through before the session ended, but could still be revived in the short session in April. Below, Dobson explains his reasoning, as well as his opposition to vouchers for private schools.
One highlight of the session for Dobson was the bill making changes to Medicaid that passed in the waning days of the session. It would convert the state's Medicaid program to a hybrid of provider-led and private insurance company coverage. While he says he prefers a provider-led approach, he says overall he was proud of the law. When it comes to Medicaid expansion, Dobson says he's "not there yet."
On social issues, Dobson says he is unapologetically conservative, pro-life, and pro-religious liberty. Because of that position, Dobson cites a bill allowing magistrates to opt out of licensing same-sex marriages in the state as one of the highlights of the session. The legislature overrode a veto by Governor Pat McCrory to enact the bill.
Recently, Dobson added his signature to a letter from state lawmakers expressing their support of conservative western North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows. Meadows had long been critical of House Speaker John Boehner, who several weeks ago announced he would resign the House of Representatives in a move that sent shockwaves through the political establishment in Washington. Dobson explains why he supports Meadows.
There's much more in the full conversation at the top of the page. This conversation is one in a series we're having with area lawmakers to wrap up the session. Links to the ones that have aired are below, and you can hear more in the coming days and weeks.