FOREST CITY — Incumbent US Congressman Republican Patrick McHenry faces opposition from Democrat Andy Millard for the 10th Congressional District of North Carolina on Nov. 8. Early voting in three Rutherford County locations are ongoing until Saturday, Nov. 5.

North Carolina’s 10th Congressional District includes all of Polk, Rutherford, Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties and portions of Buncombe and Catawba counties.

The candidates were asked the following questions.

Why are you seeking office?

McHenry: I’m running so I can continue my work helping the people of western North Carolina. We need good-paying jobs, a better economy, and a healthcare system that actually works. I’ve worked tirelessly to reduce regulations that slow economic growth while also pursuing legislative solutions that increase access to capital that allows for the establishment of new businesses that create jobs. I’m running to build on those efforts in the next Congress. 

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Millard: People tell me they no longer recognize Congress; neither do I. Representatives seem to listen only to party bosses, special interests, and big donors. I want to change that by reforming our campaign finance and transparency laws. That way, politicians can be more accountable to their constituents.

What experience/qualifications do you have for this position?

McHenry: I have a proven record of working on behalf of the people of western North Carolina to improve their lives and ensure the federal government is actually working for them. Since coming to Congress I’ve always remained open and accountable to my constituents holding annual town hall meetings in each county of the district and listening directly to their concerns. 

Millard: If you want your representative to understand you and your needs, he or she should have real-life experience. I am a former public schoolteacher and principal. For the last 22 years I owned my own financial planning and investment management firm, and I hold the Certified Financial Planner® professional designation. During 10 years of that time, I co-owned Main Street Financial Group (now Main Street Insurance Group) in Forest City. My work with clients took me up close and personal with the struggles that everyday citizens face here in western North Carolina. I have also volunteered extensively in my community.

What are the greatest concerns facing our district, our state?

McHenry: We need more jobs in our area. While our economy has improved, job growth is still lagging and our labor force participation remains at 1970s levels. This must change.

  We must also address Obamacare. The President’s healthcare law is broken and in desperate need of repair. Here in Rutherford County, citizens are facing almost 25% premium increases and are down to only one choice for insurance on the exchange. This is not sustainable and we must act to repeal and replace Obamacare before the situation gets worse.

Millard: I want to strengthen our workforce and businesses by investing in the right infrastructure. This means high speed internet access for rural areas, expanding opportunities in vocational training, and tax credits for small businesses. Most importantly, I want our district to once again feel their Representative speaks for them. 

What are your goals?

McHenry: We must continue our work to create more good-paying jobs for the people of western North Carolina. This can be accomplished by reducing regulatory burdens that limit growth and reduce access to capital that small businesses and entrepreneurs need to grow and create jobs. I’ve introduced legislation to encourage the use of crowdfunding and angel investing, two forms of capital formation that can help make this possible. In the next Congress I will continue to lead this effort. 

In the next Congress, we must also seriously address Obamacare. The President’s healthcare plan is crumbling and we need a replacement. In many counties, North Carolinians are only served by ONE insurance provider and have faced premium increases totaling nearly 50% over the last two years. This is not sustainable. Obamacare must be replaced and House Republicans have a plan that will actually reduce costs and improve the quality of care for Americans across the economic spectrum. 

Millard: Like most North Carolinians, I am deeply dismayed by the the state of our politics. Money, a lack of transparency, and hyper-partisanship have hijacked our system of government. My number one goal as your representative will be to bridge the gap with my colleagues in Congress in order to finally begin to get some things done for the American people.

What changes would you like to see happen if you are elected?

McHenry: We must repeal and replace Obamacare to provide western North Carolinians with affordable, patient-centered healthcare. As I’ve stated above, the President’s healthcare law is broken and must be replaced. I’d also work to tear up the President’s dangerous nuclear deal with Iran. This ill-conceived deal endangers our allies and has done nothing to change the Iranian regime’s behavior as President Obama claimed it would. 

Millard: We Need to reform our tax code, fix a broken immigration system, and address the debt. Republicans and Democrats tried to accomplish those goals, but Patrick McHenry and the House leadership scuttled the efforts. We cannot keep kicking urgent problems down the road, waiting for another election. Progress demands we put partisan differences aside and work together.Rep. McHenry attended 135 political fundraisers all over the country (source: politico.com), in places like Boca Raton and Beverly Hills. I’ve spent 19 months traveling the district, getting to know citizens across the political spectrum. When I’m not in Washington, I’ll be here in North Carolina—listening to my constituents.