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WATCH: Candidates for NC House & Senate from Brunswick County

Candidates running for seats in Raleigh representing Brunswick County answer questions in a forum at BCC Candidates running for seats in Raleigh representing Brunswick County answer questions in a forum at BCC

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Candidates looking to represent this county in Raleigh told voters where they stand at a candidates' forum at the Odell Williamson Auditorium on the campus of Brunswick Community College. The forum for local and state candidates was sponsored by the Alliance of Brunswick County property Owners Associations.

Taking part in the debate were candidates running for seats in the 17th & 18th districts in the NC House of Representatives, along with candidates in the NC Senate District 8 campaign. Dan Forest, a candidate running for Lieutenant Governor, also joined in the forum. His opponent, Linda Coleman, did not attend.

The House 17th District has changed slightly from when Frank Iler won his first full term in 2010. Redistricting put several precincts formerly represented by Dewey Hill (NC20) into this district. Iler, a retired businessman, is running for re-election, and touts what Republicans accomplished as the majority party in Raleigh. "After 140 years of one party rule, we made great strides in 2011-2012," Iler said during the forum. "We had to balance a budget with a three billion dollar shortfall. We accomplished a lot in regulation reform as well as tax reform, but there is a lot more that needs to be done."

Lundia Washington is running against Iler for the seat.  A retired educator and business owner, Washington is currently a member of the county Board of Adjustment running for office for the first time. Education is one of her most important issues. "I believe there must be some reform," Washington said when asked about spending on public schools. "Our education system is based on a society built on raising people for work in factories and things that are somewhat outdated for today's economy."

The 18th District in the NC House now stretches from downtown Wilmington across the Cape Fear River into northeastern Brunswick County, incorporating areas such as Leland, Belville and Navassa. Susi Hamilton, a small-business owner from Wilmington, is running for re-election against Louis Harmati, a business owner and retired veteran from Leland.

The General Assembly's redistricting plan switched counties in the 8th District of the NC Senate. All of Brunswick and Pender counties are still included in the map. But, instead of Columbus County, the district now represents all of Bladen County and a small area of downtown Wilmington.

Bill Rabon, a veterinarian from Southport, is running for a second term. During the ABCPOA forum, Rabon addressed the need to make sure funding designated for transportation needs across the state is spent that way.  "The first thing I'd like to address is to stop the cannibalizing of the highway fund and the highway trust fund by the general fund," Rabon said. "I'd also like to ensure we have a constant revenue stream, and when we tell people money will be used for transportation, it won't be used for anything else."

Rabon's challenger is Danny Hefner, a retired member of the U.S. Marine Corps  from Ocean Isle Beach who works as a truck driver.  "The first thing we need to do is to bring our highways in NC up to 21st century standards," Hefner said regarding addressing the state's billion dollars worth of transportation needs.  "As a truck driver, I can tell you personally that the Eisenhower interstate system was built to 1940s or 1950s codes, and they are not meant to withstand eighty thousand pound loads coming down the road on a continual basis."

Click here to see other forums for candidates running for seats in the General Assembly.

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