Sunday, September 15, 2013

Thom and Susan Tillis discuss their hope to bring traditional conservative values to the seat now held by Kay Hagan

By Verne Strickland


John Dismukes talks to crowd during the "Proud to Be Republican"
event at Snow's Cut Park. Looking on are Thom Tillis and David Rouzer,
part of enthusiastic crowd of GOP faithful who turned out.

*Photos by Pamela Lynn Collins

Thom Tillis and his wife Susan hosted a week-end event underneath a canopy of spreading trees, and brilliant white clouds floating in a deep blue autumn sky. It was a perfect setting for a cook-out and picnic attended by Republican faithful from many communities in the Cape Fear Region and beyond.

Thom has been very successful as Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, and is now campaigning for the U.S. Senate.

He was in Wilmington for a fund-raiser -- one of many that will be held throughout the State. I asked him how his Wilmington event had gone:


Went very well. We are doing three or four fundraisers a week, most of it in North Carolina. But we’re already receiving support from friends and family of mine, and allies in my professional network across the nation. So we’re getting great reception, we’re optimistic about the Sept. 30 results. Being in a legislative session the week before last was a little bit of a challenge, so we’re very optimistic, and have built strong momentum with a number of  events, but the first quarter is fact. 

Hagan really has just failed to distinguish herself. Except where she can call “run-on” bills, where she can say she filed something, there has just been no evidence at all that she has tried to get out there and work hard on anything in particular to get  a vote and move something forward. Her objective seems to be going out to various areas where she can say “I proposed this or that” but nothing meaningful.

Among guests of honor at "Proud to be Republican" were John Dismukes,
Thom Tillis and Davis Rouzer.

Tillis (cont'd.)

We are going to contrast that with what we’ve done in North Carolina where we’ve balanced the budget, where we’ve cut more than two and a half billion dollars in taxes, where we’ve gotten regulations out of the way of business. We’ve compiled a great record there. Incidentally, what we’re cutting or eliminating are things  that Kay Hagan voted for when she was in the State Senate. So there is a dramatic difference between us there, and I don’t think that will bode well for the Senator.

Verne: Her tenure there comes at a critical, or even awkward time for America, and raises the stakes in the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina. I’m sure you feel that this gives added emphasis to this battle which is shaping up for you. 


We certainly do. It’s unfortunate that Senator Hagan didn’t go to Washington and represent North Carolina. If you take a look at her positions, you would think that she’s a senator from California or a senator from New York. You wouldn’t think that she’s  a senator from the State of North Carolina. She’s not in touch with the citizens here, and we need to put a leader in there who represent the thinking and values of our people here in North Carolina.

I think we need to work to re-establish the United States as the leader in terms of national security. We seem to have taken a step backward as Russia has been able under Obama to take the lead in getting our stature back where it needs to be, because a strong America means a stable world, and we’ve got real problems there. We have got to take a seventeen-trillion-dollar deficit to prove to citizens and businesses that we have a credible way to pay it down, to look at entitlements. Everything has to be on the table so that we can balance our budget, because this is the single greatest emergency we face right now. We have to defund  Obamacare. But then Republicans must come up with alternatives that don’t have the cost and complexity that Obamacare has. 

Verne: Thom also spoke to an enthusiastic audience gathered around one of the covered picnic sites, where he offered additional comments about the vital importance of the pending GOP primary, the general election, and why a victory in his bid will be a key to putting U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, and President Obama, out to pasture before they can continue to take America down the road to a tenuous future under a possible ultra-liberal U.S. government:

Before I get to the U.S. Senate race, I want recognize Ted Davis. His hard work in the Legislature has been just amazing. We’ve got a lot of freshmen who have come in. Ted is one and he’s first among them in my book. 

Also went to recognize one of my favorite people ever in the Legislature, and that’s Carolyn Justice. She was just a wonderful person to serve with during my first time as Speaker, and two terms prior to that as a freshman and a sophomore. She has just been a wonderful influence, and I hope we can continue to have her influence and wisdom in state government and beyond
I also have one other person I want to recognize because she’s the only reason I’m serving in the House and now running for the U.S. Senate, and that’s my lovely wife Susan. 

We’re going to have a primary and I personally believe primaries are good. I came into the North Carolina  House after running against a two-term Republican incumbent because we just had a different way of doing business. And I believe that, if you do it in a respectful way that you never lose sight of the fact that what we’re ultimately trying to do is beat one of the most liberal senators in the Senate. So we’ll dispense with the primary and get together after that to beat Kay Hagan. 

The reason we have to beat Kay hagan is that she acts more like a senator from California or New York than from North Carolina. She votes with President Obama 96 percent of the time. 

When you take a look at what we’ve done in North Carolina over the past three years, we’ve cut taxes over two and a half billion, we’ve  cut regulations, respecting property rights, promoting gun rights and second amendment rights, promoting the right of the people to have some say over the amount of money in their wallets, promoting life, promoting traditional family values – those are the kinds of things in which Kay Hagan cannot be more far afield from the traditional beliefs of the people of North Carolina. 

We have to get on board, we have to  work hard. This is going to be one of the most expensive Senate races in  the United States. With a good primary we will come out with a good candidate. That is first and foremost. So we’ve got to work together for a victory in the primary, and move on to the general election because North Carolina is considered vital to our interests and the path to a Republican majority. If we can’t defund Obamacare before then, you can be darn sure that by January 15, 2015, we will put Obama into a lame duck session. The importance of avoiding that should be obvious and can’t be over-emphasized.

I was also able to with Thom's lovely wife, Susan, who took a moment for an interview as she talked with some of the many guests and supporters who were on hand at the cook-out in Snow's Cut Park.

Susan with Claire Ledford, daughter of Carmen Cox Ledford.
Her mom says she is Thom Tillis' number one fan!

Susan Tillis (cont'd.)

I resigned from my management position at the end of May to help Thom in his campaign, so I am 120% behind him to help with his duties and assist in any way I can. I often accompany him on his trips to speak to audiences wherever his schedule takes him. 

Verne: The State needs Thom and so does the country. What qualities and experience does he bring to the task?


Well, for me, having been married to him for 26 years, what I want our message to accomplish is to show everyone who he really is. He’s someone with a big heart and integrity who cares deeply about this country, and deeply about North Carolina. After seeing what he has been able to accomplish in North Carolina, I want people to really understand the vision he successfully presented in North Carolina and bring that same vision to Washington.


*** This is one of a series of stories from the "Proud to Be Republican" event held at Wilmington this week-end. It will accompanies by additional photos from the occasion.