Revised on: 10.12.2018 at 10:49 a.m.
Posted on: 10.12.2018 at 10:25 a.m.
Three candidates are seeking to serve North Carolina’s 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. They include the two-term incumbent, Republican David Rouzer of Johnston County, Democrat Kyle Horton, a physician from New Hanover County, and the new Constitution Party candidate, David Fallin of Pender County, who is self-employed.
The candidates provided the following answers to questions submitted to them by The News Reporter. We present their answers in alphabetical order, rotating the order with each question.
1. Why are you running for Congress?
FALLIN: I am running for Congress to add honesty, integrity, and common sense to the decision process for the common good of North Carolina. We need to reign in an out of control government.
HORTON: I’m running because for too long career politicians have put the wants of Washington elites and lobbyists over the needs of everyday North Carolinians. As a doctor from blue-collar roots, I’ve seen the struggle of hardworking families to afford their medications, pay their bills, and get their kids a good education. And now even drinking water is contaminated. While the current Congress is playing partisan politics, I’m committed to finding practical, bipartisan solutions to our toughest problems, from skyrocketing healthcare premiums and delays in Veteran care, to the opioid crisis. I’ll stay on call for the people of NC07 by protecting vital programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. I’m committed to making critical investments in infrastructure to create good-paying jobs and ensure roads and bridges can weather storms. My priorities are to strengthen public education, save our healthcare, clean our water, and defend our Veterans.
ROUZER: The Founding principles that made America great deserve to survive. As such, I’m a strong advocate for Constitutional policies that limit the bureaucratic powers of the federal government, making us more prosperous at home and stronger abroad – policies that protect our farm families, support the infrastructure needs of our coastal communities, provide the funding that our Armed Services need, and enhance the care of our veterans.
I will continue to work to bring awareness and counter the stigma associated with opioid addiction, work to deliver a stronger farm safety net through the rewrite of the Farm Bill, work to protect our farm families from frivolous nuisance lawsuits, and continue to fight for the resources necessary to enhance the infrastructure needs of this district – including, water and sewer needs for our small rural towns, and reliable high speed internet access in our rural areas.
2. What would you do to speed recovery from Hurricane Florence?
HORTON: Following Florence, I traveled the district to hear from residents who lost everything. The heroic efforts of first responders saved lives, but our infrastructure is crumbling, which had devastating impacts after the storm. While our politicians insulated themselves and county seats were often primary distribution centers, folks were without help and means to travel 40 miles to reach food, shelter, and supplies. Neighbor helping neighbor—it’s our character as North Carolinians, but there should be more support from above. We need to invest in infrastructure, make resources available at multiple sites in each county, and empower FEMA to respond in a timely fashion where there is the most need. Congressman Rouzer is on infrastructure committees, yet a majority of roads and bridges are still rated as structurally deficient and many collapsed in the storm—this needs to change. He even voted against Hurricane Maria and Harvey Relief—that’s not leadership.
ROUZER: Hundreds of thousands suffered severe damage to their homes, businesses, crops, livestock operations, and property as a result of Hurricane Florence, not to mention the emotional duress caused by the storm. All nine counties in the 7th Congressional District have received the designation of disaster triggering individual and public assistance from the federal government — eight of which experienced significant flooding.
When Matthew hit, Congress appropriated more than $200 million for North Carolina – most of which has still yet to be dispersed by the state. This past August, I arranged for the deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development and the director of NC Emergency Management to visit Columbus County which resulted in a second meeting between the two to clear the holdups, which will result in a much faster response by the state in distributing the initial $1.14 billion Congress just appropriated for Florence.
FALLIN: To expedite storm recovery, we need to eliminate the red tape as much as possible. Overall the state and local utilities along with DOT have done well getting roads and power back up and running in a timely manner.
3. Should Congress continue efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act? If so, what would you replace it with? What would you do to ensure that pre-existing conditions are unconditionally covered?
ROUZER: In 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a repeal and replace bill of the Affordable Care Act (which has been anything but “affordable” for the vast majority who had health insurance) that put in place market-based reforms that would have led to the creation of more insurance products tailored to the needs of the patient. Those with chronic or pre-existing conditions would have had the opportunity to get affordable coverage through the establishment of taxpayer-funded policies administered by the respective states. These changes would have driven down the cost of premiums and deductibles while still requiring that pre-existing conditions be covered. Additionally, Medicaid would have been block-granted to the states providing more money for those who need it.
The bill failed in the U.S. Senate and the effort died. It is my hope that we will continue to work to repeal and replace the ACA in the next Congress.
FALLIN: Yes Congress should repeal the ACA and replace it with nothing. Government has no authority to force insurance or health care on you.
HORTON: As a doctor, I understand every American should have quality healthcare. After years of Congress planning to repeal the Affordable Care Act, we learned that pre-existing conditions could be denied, and there was actually no plan to replace coverage for the millions who would lose lifesaving healthcare. It’s scary that Medicare and Medicaid are being threatened, which risks closing our rural hospitals, and the lives of seniors, kids, the disabled, and those struggling with opioid addiction. We should improve the ACA by lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 50 and setting up regional Medicaid marketplaces to cover states like NC where politicians put partisan politics over people’s lives. With public options, we’d create more choices and stabilize private insurance markets. I support guaranteed coverage of pre-existing conditions and creating a universal healthcare safety net with a system that works for people and not just the biggest insurance and pharmaceutical companies.
4. What is your position on immigration, particularly your position on the DREAM Act, where children under the age of 18 who were brought here are granted a path to citizenship? How can we ensure that our farmers and other labor-intensive businesses have adequate labor?
FALLIN: We should enforce the current immigration laws. We should continue to provide work visa and keep it legal.
HORTON: I believe in strong borders, but also accept the reality that illegal immigration has been at a 40-year low recently. The DREAM Act was about protecting kids who’ve known no other country than this one, who are patriots and Americans in every way except on paper. I don’t believe in blaming kids for the sins of the father. Dreamers pay fees, serve in the Armed Forces, and even have higher educational achievement on average—I support them having a path to citizenship. When it comes to protecting our farmers, I also understand that they depend on migrant workers and immigrant labor. At the height of the recession, there were over 400,000 unemployed North Carolinians and 6,500 available jobs in agriculture, but only 7 Americans completed the growing season. Our economy would not survive without common sense immigration policies that ensure we have adequate labor—I’m committed to our farmers.
ROUZER: The complexity of our immigration laws make it easier to come to this country illegally than to come here legally. Consequently, I support the following immigration reforms: strong provisions to protect our border (including building a wall where necessary); terminate family chain migration and the visa lottery and replace them with a merit-based policy; make our agricultural guest worker program easier and less costly to use so our farm families can get the labor they need in a timely manner; enhance other visa programs so that American workers are never disadvantaged while enabling employers to get the labor they need easily; and put in place a strong e-verify program to ensure that those who are in our country have come here through the proper, legal channels.
I support a pathway to legal status for Dreamers who are contributing to our society, but do not support a special pathway to citizenship.
5. Are President Trump’s tax cuts helpful or hurtful to Columbus County’s economy and why?
HORTON: Unfortunately, the tax cuts are going to harm Columbus County’s economy, because hardworking Americans were left behind. Instead of putting money in the pockets of middle and working-class Americans, they made cuts to the wealthiest corporations permanent, and everyday North Carolinians will pick up the tab for these wealthy companies while many are making record profits. In a Fed Survey, workers were estimated to get only 12 cents on the dollar in comparison to 22 cents and 14 cents to stock buybacks and dividends. This means that the tax cuts are going to benefit the wealthiest shareholders at the expense of the rest of us. This will be devastating to our economy, because politicians have created a debt crisis that’s being used to justify cuts to Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare. This will hurt some of our largest employers—our rural hospitals that will be at risk of closing.
ROUZER: During the August district work period, I traveled the entire 7th District to meet with citizens and small business owners of all types. Each and every business said the same thing: the cuts in red tape with regulatory reform and extra incentives provided to businesses to invest and expand by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are creating an environment of optimism and incredible economic growth as well as more benefits for workers. For example, Atlantic Packaging, which has a facility in Tabor City, announced it would provide their employees with a $1,000 bonus.
With these reforms, our economy is growing at 4% GDP, small business optimism is soaring, investment is up, and wage growth is increasing for the first time in years. How the local towns, county commissions, and the state choose to take advantage of this new and positive economic environment is up to them.
FALLIN: Tax cuts are helpful to the local economy.
6. Is there a policy area in which you diverge from your party? If so, what is it and why?
ROUZER: The Republican Party has many members with varying views. Therefore, the position of the Republican House Conference with regard to tax reform, healthcare reform, immigration reform or any other issue is actually a compromise position since every member represents different constituencies. For example, a Republican representing Miami has a very different constituency than a Republican representing west Texas. Given that every bill produced by House Republican Conference is inherently a compromise, it strikes me that the best answer to the question would be that all of the things the House Democrat Conference stand for, I do not. I do not support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker; I do not support abolishing Immigration Customs & Enforcement; I do not support higher taxes and more regulation; I do not support Socialism or Socialized medicine; and, I do not support welfare for those who do not wish to work but are perfectly able.
FALLIN: At this time, there are no policies to diverge from the party. We must maintain our Constitutional values.
HORTON: There are policy areas where I diverge from my party—I believe that we need a new generation of leaders in Washington, including a new Speaker of the House. Unlike my opponent, I believe in putting country over party. I’ve diverged with Democrats on trade policy and with many on the need to rein in Wall Street and the biggest pharmaceutical and insurance companies. While many supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership, I was deeply concerned by the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) which would allow big multinational corporations to circumvent the rule of law. We need trade policies that protect American workers, our environment, and also the rule of law. When it comes to Wall Street, I want an economy that works for Main Street Americans. We cannot forget that big banks risky speculation tanked our whole economy and hardworking Americans picked up the tab for crooked bankers—that’s not right.