GOP hopefuls stump at forum


Republican candidates running for federal and state offices assembled at the New Hanover County Northeast Regional Library April 15 to explain their platforms and answer questions.

The Lower Cape Fear Republican Women’s Club hosted the forum.

U.S. Senate

Republican Contenders for U.S. Senate Ted Alexander, Dr. Greg Brannon, Rev. Mark Harris and Dr. Edward Kryn outlined debt control and foreign affairs positions.

Alexander said he would push for a balanced budget amendment and line item veto to the federal budget. Alexander and Harris both support the Connie Mack Penny Plan, which would cut a penny from every federal dollar spent for five years.

Brannon pledged to restore the value of the dollar and supported the Fair Tax Act of 2013, which would eliminate the IRS and audit the federal government.

Kryn said he would focus on growing middle-class jobs.

Alexander and Harris referenced the peace by strength approach to foreign affairs. Harris said national defense is the biggest issue. Alexander condemned propositions to shrink the military.

Kryn recalled recent missteps with Ukraine and pressed for more cooperation when determining foreign policy.

Brannon called for meek foreign policy that is quietly powerful.

Candidates explained what experiences led them to the campaign trail during closing statements.

Alexander said it was his success as mayor of Shelby, N.C., where he fulfilled promises to cut crime and create economic opportunity.

“I want to repeal Obamacare, pass a balanced budget amendment, get a line item veto, introduce the penny plan, protect the lives of the unborn. … That’s what I will do,” Alexander said.

Brannon said his biggest strength was his constitutional expertise, which has received nods from national Tea Party notables.

“I’m the only candidate in the country backed by Sen. Paul and Sen. Lee,” Brannon said.

Harris explained how the hard work and sacrifices of his parents motivated him politically.

“A lot of leaders say they love America. … That’s the America I grew up in. That’s the America I love,” Harris said.

Kryn said he had to step up during a critical moment to address issues like education and taxes.

“There are areas where common sense has been sidelined,” Kryn said.

U.S. Congress

Chris Andrade, David Rouzer and Woody White, 7th Congressional District Republican candidates, promised to uphold the constitutional role of government and provided positions on illegal immigration.

Andrade and White called for secure borders. Andrade described legislation he has already written, including fingerprint scans for guest worker programs.

Rouzer pledged to never vote for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants and suggested a work requirement for immigrants.

The candidates were also asked what they could accomplish as freshmen representatives and what made them best qualified.

“There are no freshmen, only leaders and followers,” Andrade said, adding he would be a leader.

Rouzer said he would use existing connections and experience in Washington, which coupled with his average experiences early in life make him uniquely qualified.

White predicted many freshmen representatives would join him because voters know average Americans with passion and energy are needed in Washington.

N.C. Senate

Michael Burns, Justin LaNasa and Michael Lee, Republican candidates for N.C. Senate District 9, explained their main mission in the N.C. General Assembly, stands on illegal immigration and whether they agree with the N.C. Republican Party’s incentives platform.

Burns and Lee cited economic development as a chief concern. Lee also mentioned education as a priority, calling for better teacher compensation.

LaNasa said he would tackle coastal insurance rates.

“We’ve been duped for a long time, a good 10 or 15 years, and we need good representation up in Raleigh,” LaNasa said.

Burns suggested proactive versus reactive immigration reform. Strict enforcement of rule of law was Lee’s answer. LaNasa called for more accountability for elected officials to stop illegal immigration at the source.

All three candidates recognized the Republican Party’s opposition to incentives. LaNasa and Lee suggested film incentives could be an exception.

Fifth Judicial District

Two candidates for the 5th judicial district bench noted their qualifications. Both Kent Harrell and Lindsey Luther are practicing attorneys. Harrell owns a firm in Burgaw, and Luther is an assistant district attorney in Pender County.

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