02/17/08 — Russell Tucker seeks fourth term in state House

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Russell Tucker seeks fourth term in state House

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on February 17, 2008 2:01 AM

With four terms in office behind him, state Rep. Russell Tucker is hoping to continue to serve Duplin and Onslow counties as he announced plans last week to file once again for the District 4 Democratic primary in May.

Tucker, who spent 28 years as the Duplin County finance director and county manager, said that he is running basically on three issues -- the economy, education and health care.

"With the national economy slowing, we must work to protect North Carolina's economy by making health insurance affordable, assisting small businesses and maintaining access to quality public education," he said.

Because education is the base of the economy, he explained that the state needs to continue to not only support academic programs, but also to find ways to help counties keep up with the ever-increasing demand for facilities -- without raising property taxes.

"We've made progress, such as raising teacher pay, making community colleges more affordable and providing funding for dropout prevention. But there is a lot more work yet to be done to keep our communities strong," he said. "That's why I supported increased scholarships to help families meet the costs of higher education ... and why I favor investing in technical education and workforce retraining programs."

Then, once the workforce is trained the state needs to keep offering incentives to bring employers to North Carolina -- as long as they return the funds if the promised jobs aren't created and sustained, he said.

But even with jobs and education, Tucker added, there is still a growing health care crisis throughout the state.

"With the slowing economy, even more families are finding it harder to get health care. That's why I supported giving families a tax credit for purchasing long-term care insurance," he said. "I also voted to help over 260,000 uninsured children have access to health care.

"Making health care more affordable for working families, small businesses and seniors is a top priority."

For him, it's all about keeping North Carolina strong.

"We can't turn our backs on North Carolinians who work hard every day at their jobs, but can't make ends meet to afford health care for their families," Tucker said. "And we have an obligation to our children to make sure they get a good education from qualified teachers that we work to keep in the state.

"Providing our children with a great education and keeping our state financially secure will ensure their futures here in North Carolina."

And, he added, it's because of his experience and the fact that he simply has the time, that he feels he is the most qualified to continue serving.

"I'd like to continue some of the things we started. I think it's going to be long hard road, but I'm willing and able to devote the time to this. I just have an inward desire to serve people," he said.

Tucker, 64, lives with his wife, Geraldine, in their home in Pink Hill.