The May 8 Primary Election is just around the corner and candidates for the U.S. congressional race to represent District 8, which includes Richmond County, are gearing up their campaigns.
The Daily Journal sent out a candidate survey to all candidates who will appear on the May ballot, and asked that three questions be answered and the survey returned by April 25. Not all candidates responded to the questionnaire by the due date.
The congressional candidates that will appear on the May 8 ballot are Republican Richard Hudson, Republican Scott Keadle, Democrat Larry Kissell, Republican Vernon Robinson, Republican Fred Steen, Republican John Whitley and Democrat Marcus Williams.
The following are the questions and the candidate responses:
If elected, what issues are your top priority and how will you address them?
Republican Richard Hudson said his top priorities are jobs, spending and health care.
“The federal government cannot create jobs, but government policies can destroy jobs,” said Hudson. “To create jobs in Richmond County, the federal government needs to cut taxes, roll back job-destroying regulations and create an environment of certainty so people will invest money to expand existing businesses and to start new ones. Washington spending is out of control … We need a Congressman who understands the need to dramatically reduce spending, balance our budget and get this country back on the right track. If the Supreme Court does not throw out Obamacare, then I will fight for repeal as your Congressman in 2013.”
Republican Scott Keadle said his top priorities also include jobs, the budget and health care.
“I will fight to reduce regulations and Washington interference with our ability to create private sector jobs here in North Carolina,” said Keadle. “We must balance the federal budget immediately and permanently, and pass a Taxpayer Protection Amendment to make sure we cut spending instead of raising taxes. I will vote to repeal and defund Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered reform that lowers costs and increases access to care.”
Democrat Larry Kissell said increasing job opportunities is one of his top priorities.
“Bad trade deals like CAFTA and NAFTA ravaged manufacturing in our part of the world,” said Kissell. “We need to stop putting our working families and businesses at a constant disadvantage. We need to get our economy on track by bringing good jobs back home. I’ll continue my fight to repeal NAFTA and block other harmful trade deals. We also must continue to invest in education, as a vehicle to give our youth and adults the tools they need to find work and be successful. Protecting Social Security and Medicare has been a top priority of mine, and I’ll continue to fight against the privatization and gambling of our seniors hard-earned money. A promise made should be a promise kept.”
Republican Vernon Robinson did not return a candidate survey to the Daily Journal. Robinson is a former U.S. Air Force Officer and educator who lives in Concord.
Republican Fred Steen said his top priorities are debt, jobs and energy.
“We need a Balance Budget Amendment,” said Steen. “I helped to pass the state budget that cut spending, reduced debt and balanced the state budget. We can do the same thing in Washington, D.C. The 8th District needs jobs. I have a proven track record of working to bring jobs into the community. The top priorities should be agribusiness, manufacturing, healthcare and research and development. The United States needs a comprehensive energy plan; we can compete to bring back manufacturing jobs to the 8th District by having a low cost, reliable energy source, such as Natural Gas.”
Republican John Whitley did not return a candidate survey to the Daily Journal. Whitley owns and operates a farm in Robeson County.
Democrat Marcus Williams said, “The three most pressing priorities confronting the citizens of the 8th District are: 1. The robust generation of jobs (through recruitment of emerging industries and expansion of pre-existing businesses) and the fostering of an environment to develop and sustain a myriad of small business development strategies; 2. The compelling need to maintain world class educational opportunities here at home; and 3. The indispensable availability of affordable health insurance and high quality health care for each citizen.”
With a tight budget, how will you go about securing funds and maintaining services and programs?
Republican Hudson said, “We have to dramatically reduce federal spending and we have to reform entitlements so we can save the programs. The federal government, just like every family and business, has to balance its budget. It is morally irresponsible to continue to spend money we do not have, leaving the tab for our children and grandchildren.”
Republican Keadle said, “Every dollar spent in the federal budget is a dollar taken away from the budget of an American household or an American business … My focus will not be on maintaining or growing the federal budget, but on growing the U.S. economy and the household budget of every American family. We can do this by reducing the size and scope of the federal government, including rolling back job-killing regulations, lifting restrictions on extracting and using our domestic energy supplies, and repealing Obamacare in its entirety.”
Democrat Kissell said, “I’ve fought every step of the way to try to bring every single penny of our tax dollars back home, to be spent right here in our community. We’ve got an office here in Rockingham that has worked with folks at all levels of government to help ensure funding for education, transportation and programs that have helped keep our police and firefighters employed and protected. I’ll continue to battle the gridlock of partisan politics and work only for the people of our district.”
Republican Steen said, “I believe that the Federal Government needs to uphold its promises to those on, or expected to be on, Social Security and Medicare. I do not believe we should reduce or cut the benefits promised to our seniors; but we also need to find a solution for future generations. If we are going to save Social Security, we need to be open and honest that Social Security needs to be completely re-engineered for future generations … We have to put politics aside and do the hard work and create a new solvent system that will not burden those already on Social Security. The best way to create a short term fix for Social Security is by economic recovery with high employment. This is the best solution for solvency for both Medicare and Social Security.”
Democrat Williams said, “By nature and proven experience, I am a fiscal tightwad. My first legislation which I will co-sponsor is to reduce Congressional salaries by $25,000.00. This will immediately underscore the point of shared sacrifice and the need to proactively attack our federal debt problem and gain control of undisciplined spending.”
Why should voters choose you instead of your opponents?
Republican Hudson said, “I have Richmond County roots, and I have a record as a problem solver in Richmond County. Two of my opponents are perennial candidates who have run for Congress three times in three different districts around the state. Another spent his entire adult life in another state and actually ran for Congress in 2010 in Tennessee. My mother lived in Hamlet as a little girl and I still have family living in Richmond County. I have worked for years on economic development in Richmond County. I have worked on rural healthcare issues in the county. I have relationships with farmers, businesspeople and community leaders here. I was instrumental in cleaning up the old chicken plant site in Hamlet and moving the train station. If you elect me, you will have a Congressman who knows and cares about Richmond County, and will work hard for the people of this county every day.”
Republican Keadle said, “The Obama Administration policies have nearly bankrupted our country and must be reversed immediately. As a dentist and small business owner for 22 years, I understand both the problem and the solution. As a County Commissioner, I cut spending and taxes by 12 percent. I will fight to cut federal spending, shrink the government, grow the economy, and allow the private sector (to) create jobs. I am the only consistent conservative in this race, and the only candidate with a Plan for America to get our country back on track.”
Democrat Kissell said, “I’m from this district, have lived here my entire life, and have refused to allow partisan games or politics to get in the way of doing what the people want. I understand hard work, and my only commitment is to the people of this district. I’ve started important work to restore American manufacturing and I want to finish it. I don’t think anyone will work harder than I have to bring jobs back home from overseas.”
Republican Steen said, “I am the most conservative, most experienced and most local. I believe it is essential that we have conservative representation from someone who has lived here, worked here, and raised a family here. I have represented many citizens in the District; I am qualified to represent us in our nation’s Capital. When I go to Congress, my primary goal is to serve the residents. We need someone who will provide solutions, while standing up for Conservative principles. A Congressman should always be stately and dignified, even when disagreeing with the opposite party. Being a Congressman is an honor and a privilege, and it is a position I will not hold lightly.”
Democrat Williams said, “Respectfully, I ask for your vote because after more than 32 years of practicing law, I am the best trained and prepared to meet the needs of the people and work out solutions for the problems endemic to the new District. My proven record as an Executive Director/CEO of 17 years of balanced budgets, supervising staffs which provided high quality legal services - constituent services, and spearheading successful community economic development initiatives will enable us to produce tangible results. This will rekindle hope and optimism. We will teach the politicians in Washington how to do more with less, balance the federal budget with fiscal integrity, and return back to our District available funding to enhance and uplift the lives of our citizens in our rural communities.”
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.