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Although the names of four candidates will appear on the Republican primary ballot March 3 for the U.S. House District 1 seat, only three — Sandy Smith, Michele Nix and Ethan Baca — are actively running for the seat.
A fourth candidate, Jim Glisson, announced in December he had withdrawn from the race, but his name will still appear on the ballot.
The winner of the Republican primary race will challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-Wilson, who has held that seat since July 2004. Butterfield is unopposed in the Democratic primary.
In an effort to provide readers some background on the primary candidates, The Wilson Times asked each to complete a brief questionnaire and all three responded.
WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL BACKGROUND, INCLUDING YOUR HOMETOWN?
Sandy Smith: “I live in the First Congressional District in Winterville, with my husband, and we share four adult children. My daughter went into the United States Marine Corps straight out of high school, and my youngest is in college. I am the oldest girl in a family of six children, so I had a lot of household responsibilities growing up. Some of my favorite memories are going fishing with my dad and swimming in the summer with my brothers and sisters.”
Michele Nix: “I grew up in a middle-class family with deep military roots in Troy, New York. As a young mother, my values were put to the test. I found myself broke with two kids and living on government assistance. Many people never break the cycle of dependency, but I was determined to make a better life for myself and family. I began waiting tables and working odd jobs to support my family. I got off government assistance and eventually earned a Series 7 investment license. I was elected by the 1st District as a delegate, representing President Trump, at the 2016 Republican National Convention.”
Ethan Baca: “Both my grandfathers and my brother served in the military. I have been married for six years to a wonderful woman, Denise Baca. Together we have two little girls. ”
WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION?
Sandy Smith: “I graduated from East Carolina University with a B.S. in university studies in business and technology with honors. I’m also is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.”
Michele Nix: “I have a Series 7, Series 63, and Series 65 financial licensure.”
Ethan Baca: “I attended the University of New Mexico.”
WHAT IS YOUR OCCUPATION?
Sandy Smith: “I have an extensive business background to include being a chief financial officer, a business entrepreneur and real estate investor. I have also been an international buyer with import and export negotiation experience and started a youth non-profit organization.”
Michele Nix: “I was a Series 7 investment adviser for nearly 20 years at First Citizens Investor Services, a subsidiary of First Citizens Bank.”
Ethan Baca: “I consider myself a blue-collar worker. I have worked many tradesmen-like jobs in my life and have great respect for tradesmen. I own my own business. I own an environmentally efficient mobile oil change company. The business helps to protect Mother Earth by being 100% eco-friendly. I also work a full-time job for a fastener distributor.”
HAVE YOUR EVER RUN FOR OFFICE BEFORE?
Sandy Smith: “No.”
Michele Nix: “I am the immediate past vice chairwomen of the North Carolina Republican Party.”
Ethan Baca: “I have not held office before. This is my first time placing a bid for public office.”
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR CONGRESS?
Sandy Smith: “Our nation is in crisis. These socialists on the Democrat side really want to change our country for the worse. I am a fighter who will fight against it. I’m tired of the ‘do nothing’ politicians like Democrat G.K. Butterfield. He has represented the 1st District for over 15 years and has done nothing. Northeastern North Carolina is forgotten about in this state, and we need someone like me who will stand up and fight for this area. I am in it to fight for our area, bring jobs back, rebuild our infrastructure and roads and bring better broadband connectivity to rural North Carolina.”
Michele Nix: “I am running for Congress to support President Trump and his ‘Keep America Great’ policies. Democrats have held NC-1 since 1883. Their party has done little to improve the lives of those in the district, and the current representative is out of touch with the challenges we face. We need a representative who will support our president and vote to reduce taxes and regulations so we can continue to strengthen the economy and create jobs in the district.”
Ethan Baca: “As your congressional representative, I pledge to work around the clock to help our community, our state and our country, keep the blessings that we inherited from our nation’s founders. I want my children, and my neighbors’ children, to have the best quality of life possible. I want to help our state keep the blessings that Denise and my family found here in North Carolina for generations to come.”
IF YOU ARE ELECTED, WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE?
Sandy Smith: “When elected, I want to work to fully fund the southern border wall, fight to protect the life of the unborn against these radical Democrats that are pushing for these abortions on demand all the way up to the point of birth, fight to protect our 2nd Amendment rights by opposing these unconstitutional “Red Flag” bills, cut taxes and make the current individual tax cuts permanent and focus on balancing the budget and cut wasteful spending to help reduce our $23 trillion dollar deficit.”
Michele Nix: “As an investment adviser, I know the importance of financial literacy and responsibly. When elected to Congress I plan to work on reducing government spending and burdensome regulations so that hardworking Americans are able to keep more of their paycheck. This will also further strengthen the economy and create jobs and opportunities for those in the 1st District.”
Ethan Baca: “My personal mission will be to make it easier for people of average means to start and run a business, just like I was able to do. I will work to support their efforts to enjoy the opportunities and blessings of free enterprise and safeguard the essential right of families for school choice and their prerogative to decide where and how they wish to educate their children and ensure that our local workforce is fully prepared to take advantage of new business opportunities, with the skills to compete for jobs, and attract more business to our communities. I will work relentlessly to keep our communities crime-free and safe. I will fight tooth and nail against so-called ‘sanctuary laws.’”
WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT THE EXPANSION OF MEDICAID?
Sandy Smith: “Expanding Medicaid is not the answer. Open the market so people can make their own health care choices as the government has no business being in health care.”
Michele Nix: “Medicaid expansion is an expansion of government-funded health care. It is being sold to voters as a program that provides much-need health care to the lower income citizens, but, in fact, it is a program that rapidly expands to encompass two to four times the number of predicted participants. States that have expanded Medicare are struggling to fund the expansion. Medicaid expansion will increase health care costs for everyone with taxes on hospital services and prepaid health plans. We have major health care problems, but Medicaid expansion is not the solution.”
Ethan Baca: No response was submitted.
WHAT, IF ANY, CONCERNS DO YOU HAVE ABOUT the BUDGET DEFICIT?
Sandy Smith: “It is a huge concern as it is considered the silent killer of our country. We need to cut the wasteful spending and start living as a country within our means. Sen. Rand Paul and the Trump administration have made some recommendations on how we can reduce spending and balance the budget. When reviewing our budget, there are many areas where we have duplicate spending in multiple government agencies, and these are places where we can cut spending. Bottom line, we need to get serious about making these cuts and stop kicking the can down the road.”
Michele Nix: “Every citizen needs to be concerned about the deficit. It’s continuing to increase to a level that is not sustainable. Thanks to President Trump, our economy is growing at a rate that gives us an opportunity to grow out of the deficit, but our government is too large and will have to curtail spending. The deficit is a serious problem for our country that must be addressed. Growing the economy and reducing spending are the first two steps.”
Ethan Baca: “I am very concerned about our deficit. I am not a big fan of foreign aid. I would like to see American tax dollars going into our deficit rather than being sent overseas.”
WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT TRUMP?
Sandy Smith: “It is a desperate witch hunt that started as soon as he won the GOP nomination before he actually took office. It is completely fake, and is turning out to be a real problem for the Democrats that could send some of them to jail once all the facts come out. I’m very happy all of the Republican senators with the exception of the defector Mitt Romney voted not guilty and acquitted the president on this impeachment sham.”
Michele Nix: “The impeachment of President Trump was a partisan sham that wasted taxpayer dollars and sought to disenfranchise the millions of American who voted him into office. There was no crime, no collusion and no quid pro quo. The Democrats should be ashamed of themselves for putting the country through this distraction from important matters that Congress should be addressing. Representative Butterfield voted in favor of impeachment, and for that reason alone, he should be unseated.”
Ethan Baca: “The attempt to impeach the president was never about a bad phone call to Ukraine president. The fact is that Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the majority in the House body ran a Soviet-style process. This process was partisan and unfair. Schiff did not allow Republicans to bring forward witnesses of their choice. The president’s legal counsel was not allowed into the hearings. Schiff clearly coached witnesses during the hearing. The bottom line is that this impeachment process was never about impeachment. The Democrats claimed this was urgent and time-sensitive. This process was about fulfilling the partisan vendetta the majority had against President Trump.”
Candidate Forum Tonight
All three candidates are scheduled to attend a candidate forum sponsored by the 1st District and Nash County Republican Party. The event is Monday at 7 p.m. at Powers Recital Hall at the Dunn Center, Wesleyan College, 3400 N. Wesleyan Blvd., Rocky Mount. Admission is free to the public.