Patrick McHenry (I)
City of residence: Denver, N.C.
Occupation: Previously worked in real estate
Political experience: Six terms in U.S. House of Representatives, one term in N.C. House
Do you believe having three primary contenders is representative of your performance and/or a fractured Republican Party?
PM: I am encouraged the 10th District has multiple individuals willing to step up and serve our community. I know for me, it was that desire to make a difference for my neighbors in Western North Carolina that led me to run for State House and then later the U.S. House in the first place. Since being elected I’ve made it my goal to shape public policy and affect outcomes in a positive way for those at home in North Carolina. Furthermore I have remained committed to working with 10th District constituents to ensure that they are properly served by their federal government, whether it’s an issue with obtaining Social Security benefits or assisting someone in obtaining a passport before a family vacation.
Are you unhappy with the state of the Republican Party?
PM: Throughout the primary season we’ve seen record turnout in Republican races up and down the ballot. It is clear that members of the Republican Party are excited and engaged in the electoral process, and I believe that will continue into the fall.
As a six-term incumbent, you’ve accrued political clout. How can you parlay that influence to benefit the people of the 10th District?
PM: During my time in Congress I’ve been able to use my experiences and relationships to ensure that the individuals and businesses that call the 10th District home have their voices heard in Washington. A recent example was the negotiations regarding the Pacific Trade Agreement the administration recently signed. I worked closely with the United States’ negotiators to ensure that Western North Carolina’s textile industry and the thousands of jobs that come with it are protected.
How do you feel you can represent the 10th District’s various ideologies and people in a way that champions compromise and bipartisan efforts? Or do you have other beliefs on representing a varied constituency?
PM: Throughout my time in Congress I have always worked with leaders across the political spectrum to ensure the 10th District and its residents’ voices are heard in Washington. This Congress, I joined with my colleague Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a Democrat from eastern North Carolina, to introduce H.R. 2949, a bill that excludes compensation payments to victims of North Carolina’s eugenics program from being counted when determining their eligibility for federal benefit programs like Medicaid. Additionally I worked with Democratic Rep. Grace Meng of New York to introduce legislation making it easier for North Carolina families to save tax-free for dependent care expenses.
Which 2016 Republican presidential candidate (including those who have dropped out) do you most identify with?
PM: The Republican Party’s presidential candidates in the 2016 cycle were an accomplished group with diverse backgrounds and experiences. I agreed with many of the candidates on the need to strengthen our military, reduce the tax burden on all Americans, create good-paying jobs and increase our security both at home and abroad.
What’s the most important issue facing 10th District residents? How have/will you address it?
PM: One of my top priorities in Washington is lifting up America’s middle class. While the focus is typically on those at the very top and bottom of the income ladder, those in the middle are the ones that have been left behind over the past decade. They haven’t seen a raise in years and have faced rising prices on everything from milk to health care. Median household incomes have either stagnated or fallen in recent years, and our focus must be on turning that around. Growing up, I watched as my dad started a lawn care business that made it possible for my five siblings and me to attend college. That experience drove my interest in crowdfunding and angel investing, two important resources that can help small businesses — America’s true job creators — raise the capital they need to reinvest in their businesses so they can hire more Americans and lift middle-class wages.
Job creation and cost of living affect many 10th District residents. What have you done/would you do to create living wage jobs?
PM: In 2012 I authored a significant portion of the Jobs Act, one of the few bipartisan jobs bills to pass in recent years. This legislation opened up new forms of capital formation that can be utilized by small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the 10th District. Beyond that I’ve worked in a bipartisan fashion to help reduce unnecessary regulations that make it harder for Americans to do business and create jobs. Most recently I introduced the RPM Act, to roll back a needless regulation that would have crippled the after-market car parts industry which employs many here in Western North Carolina.
What makes you more qualified than the other candidates?
PM: I have a proven record of working on behalf of the people of Western North Carolina to ensure their voice is heard in Washington. I’ve always been receptive and open with my constituents and made clear it is an honor to work for them. My voting record reflects the values of the majority of Western North Carolinians, and I look forward to continuing to keep up that work in the future.