Carolina Journal News Reports
RALEIGH — Republicans Jack Wall and Brian Brown will compete in the May 8 primary for the North Carolina House District 9 seat currently held by six-term Democrat Marian McLawhorn.
The winner of the primary will face McLawhorn in the fall general election, as no other Democrats have filed to run against the Grifton legislator.
N.C. House District 9 leans Democratic, with 46 percent of the region's 50,665 voters registered Democrat, although Republicans made a strong enough showing in the last two election cycles for the pro-business N.C. FreeEnterprise Foundation to rank it a “swing” district.
GOP Sen. John McCain handily defeated Democratic Sen. Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election in the district, with nearly 54 percent of voters casting their ballots for the Republican. Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr also enjoyed a strong majority in District 9 during the 2010 midterm elections, receiving 61 percent of the votes cast.
Both Wall and Brown hope to advance to the fall general election with platforms that stress limited government and lower taxes for businesses.
Brown, a political newcomer, lives in Greenville and holds a bachelor's degree in history and pre-law from Ohio Northern University. He is chief executive officer and president of Rep Express Catering in Greenville.
Brown told Carolina Journal that, as a small business owner, he understands the demands of meeting payroll, retaining valuable employees, executing a growth strategy, and being a good corporate citizen to the region. “I understand the need to balance these goals with sound fiscal management,” he said.
Economic development is the most important issue leaders in eastern North Carolina, and District 9, face right now, Brown said. “Economic development in our state can be spurred in several ways,” he said. “First, North Carolina must create a much more friendly regulatory environment relative to other states in the southeast. North Carolina must reform our current tax code starting with the drastic reduction or elimination of the corporate income tax."
Brown told CJ that, if elected, he would work toward further reductions in state spending, streamlining state agencies, capping the gas tax, and reforming public education through the expansion of charter schools and vouchers that would provide school choice for all parents and students.
Wall, who served four terms on the Greenville City Council and four on the board of education, holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from East Carolina University. A retired salesman, Wall successfully lobbied last year for a state Senate bill reducing the Pitt County Board of Education from 12 members to seven, according to a June 2011 report in Greenville's Daily Reflector. The law, schedulfed to go into effect in 2014, also shortens school board members' terms from six years to four.
Wall identified limiting government as the best means by which to grow the state's economy and create jobs, according to a March survey by the NCFEF. He said the current level of taxes paid by North Carolina businesses is too high, and that reducing the corporate tax rate would stimulate economic activity and job creation without causing substantial harm to government services.
Both men say they support the proposed amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage in North Carolina.
Kristy Bailey is a contributor to Carolina Journal.