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NC Agribusiness Council Hosts Candidates Forum

The North Carolina Agribusiness Council hosted a two-part candidate forum on Monday in Durham. The first part of the forum featured candidates for the US House of Representatives from districts 2, 4, 7, 8 & 13. The candidates presented opening and closing remarks, plus answered to four questions concerning government over-regulation, tobacco’s exclusion in trade deals, energy, and transportation. With the questions submitted to the candidates ahead of time, answers were somewhat predictable at times, but with a few surprises as well. Republican candidate for district 7, and current NC State Senator David Rouzer:

“The issue that is very important to me is rules and regulations. At the federal level we have even more work to do and that is something I plan to work on vigorously.”

Regarding the question of transportation infrastructure, upgrading ports, and a possible toll on I-95 to finance upgrades to the state’s highways, Democratic candidate for District 2, Steve Wilkins:

“I drive up I-95 quite a bit and see a lot of out of state license plates. Most of those people are used to paying for the roads in their homes. I also traveled a lot in Texas where they have a very modern infrastructure and roads that have tolls. With technology you can collect or defer tolls, we can really do it both ways if we can just meet in the middle and try. We can charge tolls to whomever we decide to charge tolls to using the road.”

District 2 Republican Congresswoman Renee Elmers had these thoughts regarding the exclusion of tobacco and tobacco products from any future trade deals:

“We were able to meet with (United States Trade Representative) Shapiro and I had some pretty hard questions for her both with the textile industry and the tobacco industry. We felt that once again, that tobacco was now going to be the target for TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and left behind. She walked away pretty unhappy with me, because of my hard line of questioning having to do with the transparency of the process and why was tobacco being left behind. Why would the administration again go picking winners and losers.”

And George Holding, Republican vying for the District 13 seat had this in his closing remarks:

“I will leave you with a paraphrase of Ronald Regan: ‘Government will not solve the problem because Government is the problem.’ At that time in 1981, the regulatory burden on American was costing $108 billion. It is now almost 17 times that amount. The problem is getting bigger and now is our opportunity to turn around the challenges that we face.” is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.