After receiving almost 80 percent of votes in the Republican primary, incumbent U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry faces a challenger in Andy Millard, the Democratic candidate for the 10th Congressional District of North Carolina
Cooperation in Congress a focus for Millard
Millard is a financial planning and investment adviser in Tryon and said he decided to run after coming to the conclusion that the idea of government he had grown up loving was not what he thought it was.
“I first kind of fell in love with the American system of government in ninth-grade civics and just learning about it then, I was intrigued,” he said. “It captured my imagination, and now all these years later I realized that I no longer recognize Congress – the Congress I’ve learned about and always revered and admired. It’s not there. It’s not the problem-solving body.”
Millard said the first thing he would hope to accomplish if elected is changing the attitude in Congress. He cited the relationship between former Republican president Ronald Reagan and former Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill, who found ways to work together despite their differing ideologies.
“I will do my part to get us back to that kind of working together,” Millard said.
He said the money in politics has contributed to the state of government today, and he wants to address campaign finance reform, saying on his website that he hopes to overturn the Supreme Court’s CItizens United decision, which ruled that campaign spending restrictions by corporations violated the First Amendment.
Other issues he hopes to tackle if elected include preserving and strengthening Social Security, Medicare and veterans benefits and investing in infrastructure such as roads, bridges, sewer, water and clean energy.
“All of these things if we’re able to do that basically comes back to what’s most important, which is jobs and economic opportunities,” he said. “A quality job is what we need.”
Millard said factors of a quality job include a living wage, paid family and medical leave and retirement security.
He said he also wanted to make sure, if elected, he would focus on issues relevant to the people he represents, citing reliable, affordable, high-speed internet as something he hopes to make more accessible to people in the 10th District.
Millard is hopeful about the election and said he believes people are ready for change and weary of politics.
“Everybody wants to change Congress. Congress is at its lowest approval rating ever,” he said. “Here’s what I say to that, ‘If you really want to change Congress you have to change your congressman.”
Health care, economic growth, international affairs key for McHenry
McHenry has been in office since 2005, and he said he wants another term to continue his work helping the people in the 10th District.
“We need good-paying jobs, a better economy and a health care system that actually works,” McHenry wrote in an email. “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.”
McHenry believes some of the most pressing issues for the country include health care, a lack of wage and economic growth for the middle-class and the country’s place in international affairs.
“Internationally, America’s standing has fallen in recent years,” he wrote. “We aren't respected on the world stage as we once were and that must change. We need to defeat the Islamic State and stop the spread of radical Islamic terrorism.”
McHenry acknowledged the discontent many Americans have expressed this election cycle.
“I certainly understand the disenchantment many feel with our federal government,” he wrote. “For the last eight years, we’ve been assured that everything is getting better. The economy, our health care system, and so on but to so many Americans, including many here in western North Carolina, this just is not the case. Instead they’ve seen lost jobs and stagnant wages. They have seen the cost of health care and everyday goods skyrocket, all while not getting a raise.”
He said he is proud of his role in passing a highway bill that provided funding to improve roads and bridges, repealing Common Core, passing reform to the country’s entitlements and passing legislation to confront the opioid epidemic.
In regard to what he hopes to accomplish if re-elected, McHenry said he would work to create good-paying jobs by decreasing regulations “that limit growth and reduce access to capital.” He said he would work to pass legislation to encourage crowdfunding and angel investing.
McHenry said he is the best candidate because he has remained accountable to his constituents, making a point to hold annual town hall meetings to hear voters’ concerns, and reflects the views of many of those in the district.
“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,” he wrote. “... Further my conservative, pro-life, small government voting record reflects the views of the vast majority of those that call the 10th District home.”