Site Meter Ogre's Politics & Views: North Carolina House District 95 Debate

Ah, those who didn't make it to the show, you did miss a good time.

Tonight was the debate between two Republicans who are facing off in the primary for North Carolina House District 95. There is no Democrat registered, so the winner of the primary on May 2nd will be elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives.

As I figured, I could not get any internet at the actual restaurant. So I took notes and pictures and here's the report. It was good food, and you could have met Ogre in person, so you really missed out!

Dateline: March 16, 2006, Fat Boy’s Restaurant, Mooresville, NC.

Event: Iredell County Men’s Club sponsoring debate between two Republican candidates for North Carolina House, District 95: Karen Ray (Incumbent) and Robert Brawley.

There were about 50-60 people in attendance. There appeared be about 4 or 5 members of press there including representatives from the Statesville Record and Landmark (Danny Goldberg) and a free-lance writer. I arrived early and got a chance to speak with Mr. Brawley before the meeting got under way.

The food was good, old-style country cooking on a buffet. The room was plenty large enough, but there was a children’s birthday party being held in the other half of the room (separated by a retractable wall), so it was extremely loud the entire night. As we were talking and eating, people were asking for Karen Ray. No one had seen her yet, but I was told she had been sent a letter, emails, and Bear had personally called her. She said she would call him back twice, but he never received a call from her.

The meeting started with a blessing and a prayer for our military, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. All current politicians were invited to introduce themselves – the following were in attendance: Mooresville Commissioners Johnson, Norman, Williams, and Robertson; Kelly from the Iredell School Board; and Senator Jim Forrester. Anyone who was a candidate was then introduced – Brad Howard for the County Commission, Frank Mitchell, running for the House in district 79, and Robert Brawley.

After the introductions, a woman over in the corner stood up and said angrily, “Excuse ME” a number of times. When the emcee could hear her (remember the noise level?), he asked who she was. She introduced herself as Kristine Wood, here on behalf of Karen Ray. No one seemed to know she was coming instead of Representative Ray.

David Boone, of the Boone Report, stood up to introduce the candidates. He said that each candidate would have 6 minutes to make a statement, then the floor would be opened for questions for both or either candidate. Upon agreement of both candidates, Mr. Brawley would go first.

Robert Brawley said that his focus would be on roads, schools, and jobs. He talked a lot about setting priorities, and setting them together with people and other levels of government. He said that he supported setting priorities on where new roads would be built and where new schools would be built.

He also mentioned that although a separation of church and state was needed, you had to get your values from somewhere. If you didn’t have Christian values, you still have to have a source for your own personal values that guide your decisions in the political arena. He said clearly that he had Christian values.

He wanted to focus on a positive future of cooperation between Republicans in all levels of government. He mentioned that the current Republicans in the House were spending most of their time fighting one another – leaving them no time to effectively work together and get things done.

He mentioned that he would vote against $5 million as a gift to the North Carolina Racing Hall of Fame – which Karen Ray voted for. He said that he would vote against giving racing executives a rebate on their gas tax – meaning that racing executives in North Carolina get to pay zero gas tax while everyone else is forced to pay more – while Karen Ray voted for that. He said that he would vote against giving criminal aliens free tax money for school; and that Karen Ray initially supported that law.

His slogan for his campaign is the same as it was when he ran in 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, and 1998 – “Together We Can.”

Next up was Kristine Wood. She introduced herself as a representative of Karen Ray. She said that Representative Ray could not attend because of her schedule. She complained that no alternative date was provided to her, and her schedule would not allow her to attend. The next words out of her mouth were that Karen Ray was disappointed in Republicans who “Cast this race in a bad light.” She then thanked the Iredell County Republican Men’s Club. She then stormed off and out the door, not responding to requests to stay for questions.

The floor was then opened for questions. Again, it was rather difficult to hear in the room with all the noise from the kid’s party next door.

Mr. Brawley was specifically asked about Richard Morgan, the Republican who actively works with and supports the Democrats so he can get extra cash and perks – basically a traitor to Republicans – so much so that the North Carolina Republican Party voted to censure him and literally want nothing to do with him. Mr. Brawley focused his answer on getting all Republicans to work together with a united front – he also noted that Karen Ray actively campaigned for Richard Morgan during the last election.

Robert Brawley also said that he thought the light rail boondoggle in Charlotte was a complete and total waste of time – much more benefit for EVERYONE could be had if that same money was spent on roads instead of light rail that would benefit a very small number of people. He also noted that taking such a tiny number of cars off the road (for the people who would use light rail) would have no effect on traffic or pollution.

He was also asked about the lottery – here he showed he really knows what’s going on – he mentioned that he was absolutely opposed to the lottery because every single state that has implemented a lottery has used it to replace general funds – effectively having a zero increase in actual education spending – as North Carolina will certainly do as well.

He was most interested in individual freedom first, then benefits for society. However, he was not openly opposed to toll roads.

In conclusion, there was really no competition here. Robert Brawley came in and was very friendly, nice, and just a good person. He stated his positions clearly and showed the difference between his positions and those of Karen Ray.

Karen Ray sent an angry person to represent her who would not talk about anything other than read her prepared script that complained about Republicans.

Count this “debate” as a big win for Robert Brawley. Karen Ray shouldn’t count on a lot of support from the Republican base in Iredell county after this performance.

Here's Robert Brawley (on the right) afterwards, talking with potential voters:


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