Candidate Vetting Interview-Josh Willey, Superior Court Judge, District 3B

Interview questions were developed by a Vetting Committee of 10 members of the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association. All candidates for a particular office were asked the same questions. Interviews were conducted by 3 rotating members of the Vetting Committee. Summaries are the agreed-upon consensus of each 3-member group. Candidates were asked to interview in-person, but phone interviews were offered for candidates living outside Craven County if schedules would not allow travel.
Name, Candidate Position: Josh Willey, Superior Court Judge, District 3B
Interview Date: 10-12-16
Party Affiliation: Republican
Interviewed: In Person
Name: Josh Willey (Joshua W. Willey, Jr.)
Phone: 252-638-1111
Email: jwwilley@embarqmail.com
Address: 507 Pollock Street,Suite # 5, New Bern, NC
Educational Background:
BA in history from Wake Forest University, 1974
Law degree (JD) from Wake Forest University, 1977
Experience:
I’ve practiced law in this district since 1977. It began as a general practice, an office and trial practice. For the last 20 years, it has been primarily a trial practice for both criminal and civil litigation in state and federal court.
Demonstrations of Leadership:
The State Bar regulates the practice of law in North Carolina.
I was elected by members of the District Bar and served as State Bar Counselor in this judicial district from 2000 to 2010.
I’ve also served on the State Bar Executive Committee and chaired the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee.
Locally, I’ve served as a Board member and President of the New Bern Historical Society.
Memberships and Associations:
* NC Bar Association
* 3rd District Bar Association
* NC State Bar
* Inn of Court for the Eastern District of NC (honorary association of lawyers to promote professionalism, membership by invitation only)
* New Bern Historic Society
* First Presbyterian Church of New Bern
Why are you running for this office?
I believe the practice of law is not just a profession, but a means of public service. As a practicing lawyer, I can have an effect on several hundred clients a year. As a judge, I can have a positive influence on several thousand people a year.
We are said to be a country of laws, not of men. For that to remain true, we need judges who respect law and the Constitution.
As to timing, this is the first time a seat has come open since 2002.
What is the organizational structure of your campaign, fund raising capability, etc.?
Since I have never run for public office before, I employed a campaign consultant to help me decide how to run, what types of advertising to use, and give me pointers. I’ve done fundraising primarily myself, and friends have helped.
Which of the Founding Fathers do you most admire?
James Madison.
Why?
He was as instrumental as anyone in getting the Constitution drafted and ratified. He wrote many of the Federalist Papers, and worked on the Bill of Rights which was needed in order to get the Constitution ratified. Without the Constitution, we wouldn’t be the country we are today.
Margaret Thatcher once said, “Consensus is a lack of leadership.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
I don’t know that I agree. Good leadership gets citizens behind you and leads to consensus. A good leader will set the agenda and persuade folks that this is the correct course of action.
Which President do you most admire? Why?
Maybe George Washington.
Washington set the right tone for a President. At the time he took office, he could have made the Presidency almost a monarchy. Also, he thought public service should be for a relatively short period of time, not a lifetime.
Do you believe the Founding Fathers intended the Constitution to be:
            a. An evolving document whose meaning changes with time, or
            b. A permanent set of rules to limit the power of the federal government?
They intended it to be a permanent set of rules.
They’d had a lengthy revolution to escape government tyranny, and they wanted to avoid ever-expanding government power.
Discuss an ethical dilemma you faced. What happened? How did you resolve it?
It’s tough to think of one that I’ve personally faced.
As a judge, your obligation is to follow the law and the Constitution regardless of what your beliefs are. Ethically, you do what you believe to be right within the confines of the law.
Where do individual rights come from?
The Creator.
That’s what the Declaration of Independence says.
What do you know about Common Core? What is your position on it and why?
I’m not sure I can properly answer that as a candidate because issues involving Common Core could come before us.
What is your opinion on gun ownership, registration, and gun free zones?
That’s also something I don’t think the code of judicial conduct permits me to comment on.  I do see that the Constitution says gun ownership shall not be infringed.
What does the phrase “Separation of Church and State” mean to you?
That the government shall not establish a state religion.
If elected, what would be your number one priority item during your term in office?
To apply the law and the Constitution’s protections equally to everyone who comes before me in court. If I do that, everything else kinda’ takes care of itself.

This interview was conducted by Kathryn Blankley, Hal James, and Raynor James.

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1 thought on “Candidate Vetting Interview-Josh Willey, Superior Court Judge, District 3B

  1. I have known Josh since 1977 and we would be fortunate to have him serve as Judge. He is a stand up guy and would be fair and equitable to all that appear before him. He has walked the walk and deserves to be placed in this important position.

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