By Tim Buckland | StarNews
WILMINGTON — Kure Beach physician Kyle Horton announced last week she is mounting a challenge to U.S. Rep. David Rouzer, R-N.C.
Horton, a Democrat, recently sat down with the StarNews to answer a few questions.
Question: “Why are you running for Congress?”
Answer: ”I am running to be a voice for the hardworking families of Eastern North Carolina. I come from blue-collar roots. I’ve been a fighter for veterans, patients, the American way of life and now I want to fight for the individuals in the 7th Congressional District.”
Q: ”Well, there’s the official answer. Now, really, why are you running for Congress? Why make that leap to Washington? Why get stuck in the quagmire?
A: ”Yeah, that’s the million-dollar question, how do you decide when you want to make the leap to run yourself?” Horton, who has worked as a physician in the Veterans Affairs Department, said she was among those working on a veterans suicide prevention bill and was frustrated when it was blocked in a parliamentary move. “So I’ve seen the worst of what Washington gridlock and obstruction can mean for patients, what it can mean for veterans. In the case of veterans, they wrote a blank check to this country and then we’re going to penny pinch them?”
Q: “So why so early? It’s 18 months until the election. You’re risking early saturation and people not remembering who you are in a year.”
A: “We deliberated a lot about that.” Horton said she understands that Rouzer has a significant campaign war chest — $839,830 in cash on hand as of the most recent campaign filings — and that she needed to get fundraising efforts started as soon as possible. And Rouzer spokeswoman Danielle Adams said the two-term congressman plans to run for a third term.
Also, being in the race early might discourage a Democratic Party primary election, Horton said.
Horton said she is primarily concerned about Rouzer’s support of efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and replace it.
Q: Rouzer “would argue that he is giving people what they want — repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. So how is it that the two of you believe that your polar-opposite messages are what people want?”
A: “I think the difference is in what you say and what you actually do and deliver on. While the vast majority of voters might favor his notion of what he says repeal and replace Obamacare means, they don’t understand the nuts and bolts. There are also quite a few people who don’t understand that Obamacare is the same thing as the Affordable Care Act, which is what they are signed up for currently and which is what they like.”
Horton has planned a kickoff event for her campaign at 5 p.m. Friday at Battleship Park. She said it’s the beginning of a “listening tour” she plans to embark on in all parts of the congressional district, which stretches across all or parts of nine counties from New Hanover County in the south to the suburbs of Raleigh in the north.