In House District 10 race in NC, candidates disagree on guns, immigration

Congressman Patrick McHenry
Congressman Patrick McHenry Courtesy of Patrick McHenry

A professional financial planner who's battling the vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee for North Carolina’s District 10 seat disagrees with the incumbent on a wide range of issues, including gun control and national security.

Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry and his Democratic challenger, Andy Millard, both want to represent the district.

The two are wary of the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which would broaden trade between the United States and a dozen countries on the Pacific Rim.

But they disagree on other major issues, such as gun-control measures, immigration and the threat that the Islamic State poses to the United States.

McHenry has represented District 10 for almost 12 years and has been a member of the House Financial Services Committee since 2005. Millard has worked as a financial planner for more than two decades.

Although both men are skeptical of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, they have different views on the multinational trade agreement. McHenry said experience had taught him that international trade negotiations could hurt the state’s economy. He said he would need to review the plan carefully before deciding whether to support it.

Western North Carolina has been harmed by past trade agreements, he said.

“One of my first votes in Congress was against CAFTA,” he said, referring to the Central America Free Trade Agreement. “While it ultimately passed, I’m proud that I stood up to my party and opposed what I thought and still think was a bad trade deal.”

Meanwhile, Millard raises concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership allowing a foreign company to sue United States entities without having to go through American courts.

“It essentially gives away much of our national sovereignty to be able to manage our own affairs through our own courts,” he said.

On national security issues, McHenry believes that people want to feel safe and secure, and the first way to do that, he said, is to “acknowledge the threat for what it is.”

“We have to do everything in our power to prevent the spread of this radical ideology here in our homeland and around the globe,” he said. “And as a result of this president’s failed foreign policy, we have a refugee crisis in the world that is posing severe challenges for Europe and now for the United States.”

McHenry supported the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015, which was drawn up by House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas. The bill requires refugees from Iraq and Syria to be subjected to strenuous government background checks prior to being granted entry into the United States. It passed the House of Representatives late last year.

People want to be safe and secure in our homeland and we want to make sure that we do what is responsible globally, to make sure that we’re safe and secure here at home.

Rep. Patrick McHenry

Millard said most District 10 residents weren’t focused on Islamic State terror threats. They are more concerned about living their day-to-day lives and know that the Islamic State is not going to be able to take over the country, Millard said.

“We’re a nation of immigrants,” he said. “We cannot turn against each other, and the people that come into this country right now are already heavily vetted, so I think we just need to keep doing that, maybe strengthen that.”

McHenry said he viewed illegal immigration as a threat to national and economic security.

“Until our borders are actually fully secure, there’s no need for any further conversation on the immigration issues,” he said.

Millard thinks immigration needs to be addressed, just not with a costly wall or a lengthy deportation process.

I do think we need to look at comprehensive immigration reform and my opponent, Patrick McHenry, he’s very proud that he has opposed any consideration of comprehensive immigration reform. That’s another one of the problems, is if that we don’t deal with serious problems in a comprehensive way nothing is ever going to get better.

Andy Millard

“I am in favor, and will push for, comprehensive immigration reform because that would boost our economic growth,” he said.

Gun-control measures are also an area of contention.

“I’ve always been a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and all Americans have a right to keep and bear arms. . . . And while I’m disturbed by gun violence in our nation, I do believe that further restriction of constitutional rights is not the proper response,” McHenry said. “I think we should instead focus on better enforcement of the laws . . . currently on the books.”

Millard also said he valued the Second Amendment but supports closing loopholes.

“We have a proud tradition of hunting in our part of the country, and I have no problem with people keeping weapons for hunting, for personal protection,” Millard said. “I think it makes sense to impose a ‘no fly, no buy’ rule and I think that limiting the availability of military assault weapons – and particularly high capacity magazines – is something that most people can agree on.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the candidates’ disagreements aren’t over financial issues. Andy Millard has made his disagreements with Patrick McHenry on financial issues a part of his campaign.

Patrick McHenry

Age: 40.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in history from Belmont Abbey College.

Professional experience: Former national coalition director for George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign. Special assistant to the U.S. secretary of labor in 2001. He has also worked in real estate.

Political résumé: McHenry was elected to state legislature in 2002 and became a member of Congress in early 2005.

Family: Married to wife Giulia since 2010. The couple have a 2-year-old daughter.

Website: https://mchenry.house.gov/

Andy Millard

Age: 59.

Education: Presbyterian College (B.A.), Wake Forest University (M.A.), UNC-Charlotte (post-master’s), College for Financial Planning (CFP® certification work).

Professional experience: Former drama teacher at Grier Junior High. Former assistant principal of Holbrook Junior High, assistant principal of Hunter Huss High, principal of Polk County High and principal of Tryon Middle. Financial planner and founder of Millard & Co.

Political résumé: None.

Family: He and his wife, Sharon, have an adult son.

Website: http://www.millardforcongress.com/