Carteret County News-Times
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 12:00 pm
NEWPORT — Republicans plan on keeping their state political monopoly and pushing those efforts to the federal level next year, according to key North Carolina Republican players.
A number of Republican politicians made it out to Saturday’s Rally for America, hosted by the Crystal Coast Republican Men’s Club, including Congressman Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., representative of the state’s 3rd District, which includes Carteret.
“I will continue to represent the values of this area,” Mr. Jones told event attendees. “Because those are the values of this country and those are the values we need back in the Senate.”
The event, held at Fort Benjamin Park, aimed to make local representatives available to their supporters here in Carteret County, said Men’s Club President Ken Lang.
Mr. Jones was joined by a slew of Republican representatives including N.C. GOP Chairman Claude Pope, state representatives Pat McElraft and Michael Speciale, and N.C. Supreme Court candidate Bob Hunter.
House Republicans face three critical issues at the federal level, Mr. Jones said, reforming the budget to cut the deficit and not raise the debt ceiling, fight the immigration reform bill coming out of the Senate and address the “waste of life and money in Afghanistan.”
“There were six Americans killed in the last two weeks, but here it’s like it doesn’t exist,” Mr. Jones said. “I don’t know where the outrage is in the American people.”
Congress needs to address the issue, as borrowing to fund the war piles on top of America’s already-record debt, Mr. Jones said.
The congressman said he would continue to stand with Republican opposition to raising the debt ceiling to pay America’s bills.
“I will not vote to continue to bankrupt our children,” he said.
Mr. Jones said addressing other top priorities included defunding President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform, which was signed to law in 2010 and opened for public coverage this month, and pushing against Senate efforts to reform immigration policy in the U.S.
“That bill will never get out of the committee to the floor of the House,” Mr. Jones told supporters.
Close to home, Mr. Jones addressed issues dear to Carteret County, including the rising prices of flood insurance, set to drastically raise the cost of living in coastal communities.
State legislatures need to get the governors of affected states engaged, Mr. Jones said. Federal legislators will serve as allies to address flood insurance costs and critical habitat measures that could have crippling financial impacts on those regions, he continued.
Mr. Jones said that while U.S. Sen. Richard Burr has assisted in efforts to halt critical habitat designations, Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, has failed her state.
“We’ve got to win that Senate seat,” Mr. Jones said. “We’ve got to win it and take back the Senate like we did under Bill (Clinton).”
Other Republican representatives agreed, including U.S. Senate hopeful Greg Brannon, who spoke Saturday to the crowd at Ft. Benjamin Park. He plans to run for the GOP nomination to out Sen. Hagan.
“We need to ensure that our principal leaders keep their oaths,” he said.
Mr. Brannon, a tea party candidate and practicing OB-GYN out of Raleigh, is one of four declared candidates for the Republican Party bid on Sen. Hagan’s seat. He faces challenges from Mark Harris, a pastor out of Charlotte, Heather Grant, a Wilkes County nurse practitioner and Thom Tillis, N.C. House speaker.
The Crystal Coast Republican Men’s Club will not sponsor a candidate through the primaries, but will rally support for the victor prior to the 2014 elections, said member Steve Malay.
“We don’t get involved in picking and choosing people in primaries,” Mr. Malay said. “But we decided to have some visibility, even though it’s an off year.”
Next year, the club will have more meetings, host a number of Republican speakers and contribute to state and federal party campaigns, said Mr. Lang.
Attendee Fern Wright said the opportunity to see and hear from candidates was welcomed and hopes to see Republican politicians addressing topics salient to their constituents here in Carteret.
“For me, I want Obamacare gone and welfare properly dealt with,” said Ms. Wright. “I want to see that money going to the people who need it.”
Around 75 people came out Saturday to hear from Republican representatives and hopefuls, surpassing the club’s expectations, Mr. Lang said.
“I was real pleased with the turnout, especially with our guests,” he said. “In my 11 years in the county we’ve never had that many candidates turn up to an event.”
Funds raised at the rally raffle will go to small expenditures during the upcoming campaign season, Mr. Lang said.
The Men’s Club hopes to make the rally an annual event, he said, and plans to hold next year’s rally a bit earlier in light of election season.