By Kevin Frey | Spectrum News Charlotte
WILMINGTON, N.C. — With less than a week to go before election day, three candidates are asking for your vote in North Carolina’s 7th congressional district.
The 7th district includes Wilmington and much of southeast North Carolina.
Top of mind for many voters and the candidates is the issue of offshore drilling. On that, the three candidates have different game plans.
The incumbent, Republican David Rouzer, supports opening up the coast, saying it could be good for the economy.
“Where there is energy, there is prosperity. You would not see anything off the coast, be more than 50, 60 miles off the coast,” Rouzer said. He believes a cost-sharing arrangement could be set up so some of the proceeds could be used to take care of the beaches.
Rouzer’s challengers are Democrat Kyle Horton, an internal medicine doctor, and Constitution Party candidate David Fallin, a small business owner.
Horton opposes offshore drilling and says she fears one accident on a rig could spell disaster for coastal businesses in the district. That is a concern that Fallin echoed.
“My opponent is just plain wrong when he says we can safely drill — it’s a dirty and dangerous practice,” Horton said.
“We definitely need to protect the environment and what’s going, there are enough natural resources on land to check into,” Fallin said.
A month and a half after Hurricane Florence pounded the state, the candidates are split on the status of recovery in the district.
“This administration, FEMA, SBA, and all the right federal agencies that are involved are doing the best they can,” Rouzer said.
“There are substantial unmet needs for temporary assisted housing, and FEMA has been slow because the bureaucracy,” Horton said.
Then there’s what to do about healthcare. Horton says she wants to drop Medicare eligibility to age 50 and create a public insurance option.
“Healthcare should be a right in this country. I’m an internal medicine doctor and I can tell you in any given year, a third of my patients will not have fulfilled a subscription because they cannot afford it,” she said.
Rouzer and Fallin object to that plan.
“Medicare and Medicaid – I don’t know one doctor that wants to expand those programs, quite honestly because they get paid very little,” Rouzer said.
“The government shouldn’t be responsible for your healthcare, that should be your choice, that needs to stay on the private sector,” Fallin said.
Horton and Fallin face an uphill fight in this district. Rouzer has won the last two elections handedly with roughly 60 percent of the vote.
Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. Early voting runs through Saturday in North Carolina.