03/12/06 — Wayne Republicans gather for county convention

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Wayne Republicans gather for county convention

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on March 12, 2006 2:10 AM

Congressman Walter B. Jones Jr. said the United States must balance its budget, stop illegal aliens and the flow of jobs overseas, equalize import and export tariffs and support military chaplains.

Jones, and other candidates, spoke Saturday before about 60 people during the annual Wayne County Republican Party Convention at the Wayne Center.

"Our party's future depends on its being true to its principles," Jones said.

When he was elected first in 1994, the 3rd District representative said the nation was $4 trillion in debt, and now it is $8.2 trillion in debt. A quarter of the debt, he said, is owed to foreign countries.

Jones said he will vote against an increase of the national debt ceiling because "we owe it to our children and grandchildren that 60 cents of every dollar won't go for taxes."

Jones said he opposes amnesty for illegal aliens, but welcomes immigrants who became citizens.

"No one who comes here illegally should be rewarded," he said, drawing applause. "... Amnesty is not the right signal to send to the world."

Then the congressman emphasized that "I'm tired of seeing American jobs go overseas. I'm sick of it."

Jones said he opposed CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, because it took jobs from the middle class. He said North Carolina has lost 200,000 jobs. The reason so many Hispanic workers are coming to this country illegally, Jones said, is because workers in Central America are being paid 60 to 80 cents an hour under CAFTA.

Jones also wrote a bill to equalize tariffs. He said China places a 28 percent tariff on imported American vehicles, but the United States will charge only 2 percent on Chinese cars that will start coming here in 2008.

"We need to send a message that we will stop giving away our jobs," he said.

Jones also said he supports a bill that will allow Christian military chaplains to pray outside of their church.

The other speakers included Sheriff Carey Winders, state Rep. Louis Pate, state Senate candidate Todd Siebel, clerk of courts candidates and representatives of judicial candidates.

Winders, seeking his fourth four-year term, noted improvements in his office, including having twice as many deputies on the road, a strong drug enforcement, good cooperation with other law agencies and use of grants and drug seizure money to buy such equipment as 30 vehicles and a helicopter.

The sheriff said he has taken a proactive, not a reactive, stance in solving crimes.

"The proof is in the jail," he said. "It's overcrowded."

"I'm running on the accomplishments we've made and will continue to make," Winders concluded. "We'll fight hard, and we won't wallow in the mud."

Pate said Republicans have "a wonderful opportunity" to get control of the state House." He noted the problems of House Speaker Jim Black and other Democrat representatives. He also urged support for President Bush and the military in the war against terror.

Pate, who represents the 11th District, also said the state must develop Morehead City as a port because of its natural channel and rail terminal.

Neither 10th District Rep. Steven LaRoque of Kinston nor challenger Willie Ray Starling, who was sick, attended the convention. But party Chairman Ed Wharton said Starling "won't go up there and be bought out." He said LaRoque voted with the Democrats on most key issues.

Todd Siebel, a Greenville insurance executive, said he believes he could unseat veteran Democrat John Kerr for the 5th state Senate seat. Siebel said he is a Christian fiscal conservative.

Amy Scott said she is running for clerk of courts because she wants to contribute to the community. Randy Winders, the sheriff's cousin, said he has the management skills to operate the office. The winner on May 2 will face the Democrat nominee on Nov. 7.

Others spoke for incumbent Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin, Supreme Court candidate Beecher Gray and Court of Appeals nominee Donna Stroud.

Wharton announced that the number of registered Republican voters in the county has more than doubled in the last few years to 21,339. Democrats totaled 32,294, and there were 9,350 unaffiliated voters, he said.

Wharton also said that the county party headquarters might be relocated from South Center Street because Goldsboro might buy the present building, adjacent to the burned-out Paramount Theater.

A joint 3rd and 1st District Republican Convention will be April 29 in Washington, and the State Convention will be June 2-4 in New Bern, Wharton said.