Patrick McHenry (I), Republican
Place of residence: Denver
Occupation: Worked in real estate prior to congressional service
Political experience: Six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and one term in the N.C. House of Representatives
Endorsements: National Federation of Independent Business; National Right to Life Committee; National Rifle Association; U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Asheville Citizen-Times
Amount of money raised: DNA
Top three donors: DNA
Why are you running?
I’m running so I can continue my work helping the people of Western North Carolina. We need good-paying jobs, a better economy and a health care system that actually works. I’ve worked tirelessly to reduce regulations that slow economic growth while also pursuing legislative solutions that increase access to capital that allows for the establishment of new businesses that create jobs. I’m running to build on those efforts in the next Congress.
Both major party presidential candidates have, to a degree, divided their party; do you support your party’s presidential candidate? Why or why not?
Yes, I do. I believe Hillary Clinton would be nothing more than an extension of the last eight years of failed leadership that has divided Americans at home and weakened our standing abroad. We need a new direction.
The congressional primaries were delayed this year because the Supreme Court mandated the state redraw its congressional districts. How would you propose congressional districts be drawn so that they are fair?
Since the founding of our nation, the manner in which congressional districts are drawn has been a state issue, decided by each state, individually. I strongly believe in state’s rights, and thus I defer to the N.C. state legislature on this matter. It should be noted that for over a century, until 2010, the Democratic Party controlled the process in this state. I believe the system worked then and it does now as well.
Should Western North Carolina be open to accepting refugees from war-torn nations? Why or why not?
I understand the plight of refugees from war-torn countries, but we live in a dangerous world and we must not do anything that threatens the safety of our area or the homeland at large. We must take a careful look, with full government vetting of anyone coming into our country.
As Western North Carolina becomes a more popular destination for Latinos, how would you address our immigration laws?
First and foremost, we must secure our southern border. Until it is assured that we have full security of our southern border, I don’t believe there should be any further conversations about immigration laws or immigration reform. Further, should immigration reform be pursued, I believe it should be done on a piece-by-piece basis, not as a comprehensive bill like Obamacare that is hundreds of pages long and is difficult for most citizens to read or understand.
Many people in Western North Carolina struggle to find high-paying jobs; what can you do to help create employment opportunities that match the cost of living?
Job creation and new business formation have been my driving goals since I was first elected to Congress. I’ve led the effort to democratize capital formation by introducing and passing legislation on investment crowdfunding and angel investing. Both of these are tremendous tools that allow for small businesses and entrepreneurs to solicit funds from their neighbors to grow their businesses. Additionally, I’ve worked to reduce the web of federal regulations that strangle job and business growth, both in our area and nationwide.
What federal-run service needs the most improvement, and how would you address it?
Obamacare has proven to be a complete disaster for the vast majority of people here in Western North Carolina. It has driven up costs and reduced the quality of care and number of choices. I believe that it should be replaced with a plan that actually works. House Republicans, as part of our Better Way policy agenda, have unveiled an Obamacare replacement plan that will improve care, reduce costs and increase options for all Americans.
How do you represent a constituency with varied political ideologies?
As the 10th District’s representative in the U.S. House, I have nearly 750,000 bosses, and I am accountable to each one of them regardless of whether they are a Republican or a Democrat. I host town hall meetings in each county of the district yearly and am always responsive to the questions and concerns of my constituents. While we might not always agree, I will always maintain an open line of communication with each and every person I have the duty of representing.
What makes you the most qualified candidate for this position?
I’ve been a responsive, hard-working congressman throughout my time in office. Further, my values best represent those of the people of Western North Carolina.