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January 21, 2016 12:00 pm
This week, in part one of a two-part series, NC Family president John Rustin talks with Representative Paul “Skip” Stam, who represents the southern portion of Wake County in the N.C. House, about his career as a pro-life attorney and his work in the General Assembly.
This is family policy matter program is produced by the North Carolina family policy Council of profamily research and education organization dedicated to strengthening and preserving the family and up from the studio here is John Rustin, Pres. North Carolina family policy Council, thank you for joining us this week for family policy matters. It is an honor to have representative Paul Stamm with us on the program. Stamm is an attorney based in Apex, North Carolina, who is currently serving in his eighth term in the North Carolina House of Representatives, representing the southern portion of White County including Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay Merino, Willow Springs and other communities over the years representative Stamm has held a variety of leadership positions in the statehouse, most recently as speaker pro tem that he recently announced that he will not be seeking reelection to the house in 2016. He has been a stalwart defender of the unborn of biblical marriage. Parental rights choice in education and responsible government, just to name a few. L. Personal note. It is been my great privilege and honor to work with representative Stamm for years and I can personally testify that he is one of the most intelligent, compassionate and well respected members to serve in the North Carolina House in the past several decades, and it is not only those who agree with him on policy is to use you share this sentiment but also those who often do not agree with him because he is a true gentleman and a great example of a humble public servant were thrilled to have representative Stamm on family policy matters to talk about his career as an attorney is Tom in the North Carolina Gen. assembly and what's next. Following the conclusion of the 2016 legislative session representative Stamm welcome to family policy matters. Like John well it's great to have you with this book we talk about your time in the general assembly.
I wonder if you would share with us a little bit about your background.
I know you've been in Apex for close to 40 years. But where did you grow up and what brought you to North Carolina until I was 17 I followed the textile industry.
Born in Princeton New Jersey lived in Danville, Virginia, Greensboro, northern New Jersey, but what brought me to North Carolina was the Marine Corps application.
Tell us a little bit about your family representative Stamm. How long have you been married to your wonderful wife Dottie and talk about your children and I know you deftly want talk about your grandchildren that we been married 42 years lived here in Apex so almost all that we have two grown children and their families, including a grandchildren. They all live around Apex sodium all the time. Well, that's wonderful.
I know family is extremely important to you, and I've seen you out and about town with your grandchildren.
And I know you're extremely proud of both your children and your grandchildren, children and my two oldest grandchildren have been participants in quite a few of our public policy matters. My daughter even though lobbied a little bit for the parental consent bill long time ago $50 to lobby on a Monday night. One time she got to Senate votes for $30. I was going to quite a good investment horizon. She was 16 more residents then you been involved in the pro-life movement for many many years serving as legal counsel for North Carolina right to life and you have been directly involved in a number of key lawsuits. All life related issues. I want talk about a few of those cases in just a minute, but first you tell our listeners what really sparked your interest in the law and also in working so hard as you have, to defend the sanctity of human life interesting. When I grew up in the 50s and 60s. It really was not much of a issue that if I talked about a very much but I remember two things before Roe V Wade first that one of my favorite books growing up was a Dr. Seuss book, Horton hears a who, about how person-to-person no matter how small, then what I was after the military I was in college and one semester I was taking three courses at the same time logic biology, human anatomy and prelaw and prelaw.
We are discussing the American Bar Association's proposals on abortion and I noticed how completely illogical and unscientific. They were, and wrote beliefs of letters to the editor of my college Michigan State on that subject that was enacted. It was an academic curiosity. It was not a personal involvement with any particular situation. The pro-choice argument just does not add up. You know, any logic or any bout what drew you into the law because you have been an active attorney for years and have really made a name for yourself in the legal arena not only as a legislator, my grandfather was a lawyer for about 50 years and he was probably the greatest influence there is represented the many omissions organizations. It was actually the attorney for the Billy Graham evangelistic Association for quite a while in the showed me the noise of a of a small private practice and all the things you could do as part of their practice will grade and I know you do a lot of variety of different types of longer practice as I understand you concentrate a good deal on real estate law. All other areas of business law would clearly have been involved in a wide variety of different areas of the law throughout the years of legal practice, but mostly real estate, but in a small town practice. You do a lot of a lot of things. No doubt about it now.
I will ask you specifically about some of those life related cases and she worked on over the years. I know in the 1980s.
You represented a group of pro-life citizens who were protesting abortion clinics around Jacksonville, North Carolina tell us about that working how you got involved with that took about 10 years.
Not any one case, but the series of cases there was a group of about six protesters who were sued by Hakki Chris to volume abortionists in Jacksonville but doing it for 40 years about 2000 year and I gather usual protest signs and he took quite a bit of umbrage at the fact that they referred to children and killing things like that so he sued and in the 10 years they were never enjoined by the judge from anything they did and when they would bring criminal charges.
Occasionally, no criminal charge ever stuck. That's how I got involved in it. We were taken the deposition of Dr. Hakki, Chris, and he also fancied himself as a normal OB/GYN as well notes he did not think of himself as always, abortion clinic, even though he's done, probably more than anybody in the state.
So he had a fertility practices will he publish a halfpage advertisement in the Raleigh news and Observer that went all over Eastern North Carolina for his fertility practice and get a picture with ultrasound with about an eight week old embryo unborn child in the title of this advertisement is Mr. and Mrs. Johnson meet their son for the first time so I asked him how he could be so offended by these protesters you are talking about children and sons and killing if in his own advertisement for which you pay thousands of dollars she was talking about the same thing as being sons and his answer was yes. He says I never really liked that I had the. The ladies in my clinic put it together but I didn't like that that is not what that really does defy logic now lives in the same unit represented North Carolina right to life in several key cases over the years. I know there are variety of cases there but tell us briefly about some of those cases, your role in those lawsuits. And while the outcome of these cases was particularly important to the status of pro-life policies and North Carolina. There were three types of cases.
I'll address them individually.
Once there is a series of cases on free speech that is the ability of the right to life, and other similar groups to get their message out when for. About 10 years, the left was always trying to put campaign-finance restrictions so you couldn't say certain things as an organization that was one series.
It went all the way up to the US Supreme Court and we pretty much one of second one involved abortion funding and this involved more than one case, but the we started in 1978, trying to stop North Carolina from being the only state in the sale that had a state abortion fund when the federal government had cut off Medicaid abortions and so took almost 17 years for Northside to stop doing that as a statutory matter of what we did win one small victory in that case and that was even though we couldn't stop the state from doing it legally. We were able to stop the counties so that 17 years later when the state stop doing it.
We already had in place.
The legal precedent that the counties couldn't take up the slack that the stated growing and we also did a court brief the Supreme Court to uphold that decision on stopping state funding, then we also work for another 17, 18 years old parental consent and that of Bill took 17 years to get past but then the abortion clinics you have filed suit in federal court to try to throw it out and we did.
Friends of the court briefs to TPN and we actually were able to win that case along with the Atty. Gen. and that in my opinion while reduced abortions by about 2000 per year and then more recently we've had a lot of legislation passed.
That's reduce it even more. Most of that is not involved litigation. Although there's been some very, very involved in the amount legislation in those efforts and were very very grateful for that. You also been involved in education related cases and I will ask you about a lawsuit that was important to North Carolina's homeschool community County versus North Carolina tell us about that case and what the North Carolina Supreme Court ultimately decided right in my role was of local counsel for one of the friend of the court briefs. I believe it was for Rutherford Institute, and we also collaborated on the friend of the court brief by the Christian legal Society back in the late 70s early 80s Jim Hunt governor tried to get control over private schools through various mechanisms in litigation and some people some people didn't like that the Dell can't taste were from New York. I believe in and come down here and were teaching their kids at home and we were able to convince the state Supreme Court that our statutes allow that and for five years after that. In the late 80s. It was codified in statute about what homeschooling was an what how it could be regulated is not regulated as the content or credentials of teachers or how many things but it is regulated as the health safety they have to give an actually normal test once a year that's open to inspection by the Gov.'s office. There been a few other changes over the years, but the end result has been that North Carolina is considered one of the most favorable states for homeschooling and we have about 110,000 homeschool students mail in North Carolina out of one half million total students. That's great.
And I know that the homeschool community is very tightknit and very active when issues come up relating to homeschooling. They show up at the legislature and that's a great thing.
They are very active in that helpless get a bill passed about four years ago that provided scholarships for children with special needs who wanted to get their instruction at home, but also needed money for therapy or medical expenses or things like that in that program is been a great success. Unfortunately, representative sample just about out of town for this week to continue our discussion with you next week on family policy matters before we go I just want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your story with us and we look forward to talking with you more next week about your work in the North Carolina Gen. assembly and what's next for you after you conclude your Tom in the state legislature later this year before we close.
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