04/17/06 — Rep. Tucker, Herring face off in District 4

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Rep. Tucker, Herring face off in District 4

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on April 17, 2006 1:45 PM

Duplin County and some Onslow County voters will determine between Rep. Russell Tucker and Martin Herring who will face Richard Kaiser in November for the North Carolina House of Representatives District 4 seat.

Voters will have the opportunity to cast ballots for one-stop early voting in Duplin County through April 29 at the county's Board of Elections office at 160 Mallard St. in Kenansville.

Tucker and Herring, both Democrats, are facing each other in the primary for the second time since 2000.

Tucker, 62, of Pink Hill said the major issues he would like to tackle in the next session include education, the state's economy, unemployment and affordable health care.

"When elected, I will work to keep all lottery profits going only to education. I will continue to work to increase teachers' salaries to keep and attract needed teachers," Tucker said.

Since he was appointed to the House Joint Select Committee on the Educational Lottery, Tucker said he can make sure the lottery benefits education throughout the state.

Tucker also said he would create more legislation to encourage business and industries to locate to Duplin, he said.

During the past year, Tucker served on the alcoholic beverage control, commerce and health committees. He also serves as chairman for the local government committee and as vice chairman of the agriculture committee, and he serves on the appropriations subcommittee on general government.

As a member of the House health care study committee, Tucker said he will work hard to bring safety, accountability and affordability to North Carolina health care.

Tucker previously served two terms as District 10 representative from 1998 to 2002. After district lines were redrawn, Tucker ran for the District 4 seat in 2004 and is running for the position again this year.

"My seniority in the House will help put me on committees and in places to do more for the folks of District 4," Tucker said. "I like being a servant to the people of North Carolina."

Herring, 52, of Rose Hill said he is proud of the people in District 4, whether they are farmers, businessmen or immigrants who want to work in the community. And he said he believes there are changes that need to be made to build a better community for all residents.

Herring said he understands the battle he must face to get to Raleigh, but he hopes that people who want change as much as he does will cast their ballots for him.

"Six years of promises -- it's time for a change. It's real simple. I have no dislike for incumbent Russell Tucker, but I first asked for your vote in the year 2000. It's now 2006. I think, and you should to, that we are the coach of a baseball team for District 4," Herring said.

Much like in a real baseball game, Herring said, sometimes there is a need for a pitching change. He said he believes it is time for that change in District 4. Perhaps with new personnel and a new perspective, he said, more state dollars can be allocated to District 4 instead of going to other parts of the state.

If elected, Herring said he would make improvements to lower the unemployment rate, decrease crime, lower property taxes, improve health care and provide more services for seniors. More industries in Duplin County should also benefit farmers and non-farmers alike, he said.

To assist small businesses, Herring said he wants more small business development programs and global sales and marketing courses in Duplin County's public schools.

"It's nice and satisfying to know that entrepreneurial spirit can create something from scratch in a rural environment like District 4, whereas Ford, Chevy and Toyota motor companies or IBM will not come to District 4 any time soon. But one can still create, develop, market and globally sell a product or service from this district," Herring said.

After receiving a political science degree from Fayetteville State University, Herring said he worked as a sales representative for IBM and Exxon. His other jobs include entrepreneur, music producer and saxophonist. If elected, Herring said he would like to play "Amazing Grace" on his saxophone before the state's General Assembly.

"I'm sorry, but I will not be able to buy your vote. I need your help the old-fashioned way. Do us all a favor -- vote for me and tell somebody else to vote for me," Herring said.