For U.S. House — Ellmers, Wilkins
Moore County voters, who now find themselves in the newly reconfigured 2nd U.S. House District, have clear-cut choices on both Republican and Democratic ballots.
On the GOP side, we hope the electorate will keep the incumbent, Rep. Renee Ellmers, on the ballot this time around. And among Democratic candidates, we enthusiastically endorse the candidacy of Steve Wilkins.
Though they represent parties that seem never to have anything in common in the woefully polarized world of national politics, the two candidates might be not quite as far apart on at least some issues as one might assume. Both are unusually hard-working and conscientious, and we believe both honestly want what they think is best for the nation and for this congressional district.
Republican Ellmers, a nurse by training, campaigned two years ago as a conservative firebrand dead-set against “Obamacare.” She managed to beat longtime Democratic Rep. Bob Etheridge by a razor-thin margin, helped along by Etheridge’s ugly confrontation with some provocative videographers. (Etheridge is now seeking the governorship.)
Early on, Ellmers gained a reputation as something of an extremist. She won an enthusiastic endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and her 2008 TV ad against the Park51 community center in Manhattan was criticized by Salon as “the mostly baldly anti-Muslim ad of the year.”
Some say she has moderated a bit in her views since taking office, though she denies it. In any case, she has publicly opposed the anti-gay-marriage Amendment One proposal that appears on the May 8 North Carolina ballot. That prompted far-right Republican primary opponent Richard Speer to say she “doesn’t sound very conservative to me,” though she says she worries about unforeseen discrimination that could flow from the phraseology in the second half of the amendment’s text.
The two other Republicans seeking the nomination are Clement F. Munno, of Aberdeen, and Sonya Holmes, of Broadway in Lee County.
As for Steve Wilkins, he stands head and shoulders above his two opponents, especially from a Moore County standpoint. His only serious opponent is Toni Morris, who hails from Fayetteville. The third person on the ballot, Jim Bibbs, has never really campaigned since his filing.
Even if he weren’t the only one of the three who lives in our county (his home is in Whispering Pines), we would still be impressed with Wilkins’ energy, intelligence and dedication.
As the son of a political science teacher, Wilkins grew up with the principles of good government in his blood. After 22 years as an Army officer, including tours in war zones, the still-youthful-seeming Wilkins has heavily involved himself in various activities aimed at community betterment. He says he wants to help “bring statesmanship back to our Congress” and to reflect North Carolina’s “history of moderation and common sense.”
That moderation reflects itself in his stands on key issues. He generally supports President Obama’s health care law, though he expects it will “need adjustments as we go along.” He says the gap between “the wealthy and everybody else” has grown too wide, but he emphasizes that he’s “not talking about a redistribution of wealth.” Wilkins, too, has taken a stand against Amendment One.
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