State and national legislators gathered Wednesday at the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce’s annual “Legislators Luncheon,” giving those in attendance a chance to hear about the issues straight from the source.
U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, N.C. Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, and outgoing N.C. Sen. Chris Carney were all present at the event, which took place at the Lincoln Cultural Center in downtown Lincolnton.
Organized by the Chamber’s Governmental Affairs Committee, the luncheon is designed to allow legislators the chance to update Chamber members on current issues affecting the region.
McHenry used his time to stress the importance of reforming the nation’s tax system and regulations, saying he believed they have had a negative impact on small businesses and banks and emphasizing the need to “remove the loopholes that litter tax codes.”
He encouraged the crowd to demand that the U.S. Congress vote on economically significant policies. As such, he said he’s in favor of Congress rewriting the corporate and personal-income tax schedules — which he noted would be a year-long process — while extending the current rates for one full year.
Carney meanwhile told the crowd that it had “been a great year.”
He highlighted issues such as energy, saying “cheap energy is a big deal.” In talking about education reform, he said he was glad the N.C. General Assembly was able to have an “honest dialogue about education.”
“Accountability always brings contention,” he noted of these and other divisive topics.
Carney also emphasized that it’s not always what you pass, but what you don’t let pass in the Legislature, that matters.
Saine wrapped up the addresses, saying that the year had been a learning process. He described himself and Carney as the “freshest of freshmen” when they began their terms, while also touting some of their successes, such as not raising taxes and having the “opportunity to kill some legislation.”
During a brief question-and-answer session, topics ranged from home lending to the Affordable Care Act, with McHenry providing most of the responses.
This was just one of many stops for McHenry throughout the county on Wednesday as he prepares for November’s election. He will face off with Democratic nominee Patsy Keever for the U.S. House seat from North Carolina’s 10th Congressional District.
Saine is unopposed in November after winning a primary battle this spring and is set to begin his first full term in January.
Following redistricting that placed Carney in a differently numbered and significantly redrawn district and a first-place finish in the three-way May Republican primary, the Mooresville legislator lost a runoff primary to Denver’s Dr. David Curtis, who will face Democrat Ross Bulla of Denver in the November election. Carney’s term will end in January when the new legislators are sworn in.