Fulcher vs. Hanig in NC House District 6

By on October 26, 2020

Tommy Fulcher and Bobby Hanig.

In the race for the District 6 seat in the NC House of Representatives, Republican incumbent Bobby Hanig and Democratic challenger Tommy Fulcher agree that the COVID-19 epidemic has highlighted a crucial issue for residents of that district — health care.

“Obviously, it’s the pandemic,” Hanig told the Voice when asked to identify a top issue. “Health care is without a doubt the number one priority throughout the state, throughout the country. Getting this vaccine is going to be critical in how we move forward in [2021].”

“I think the pandemic that we’re currently still fighting our way through has really magnified issues that were already there,” said Fulcher, citing “access to affordable health care.” He calls the N.C. legislature’s failure to expand Medicaid an “outrage,” adding that such an expansion “would be probably the biggest single act they could take to lift rural North Carolina,” where access to health insurance can be a challenge.

The two candidates offer largely contrasting messages to the district’s voters. Fulcher, a Southern Shores resident and political consultant who is making his first bid for elective office, told the Voice: “I’m an independent thinker…This is where I have lived my whole life. I will work for the people of our district, not the party bosses in Raleigh.”

“I believe what we have now in the General Assembly is not working,” he declared. “One side, the minority party, is completely closed out of the process and a decisions are made by just a handful of top leaders on the House side.” That dynamic, he said, precludes the kind of “moderate, mainstream legislation that appeals to where most people in North Carolina really are.”

Hanig, a Powells Point businessman who was elected as a Currituck County Commissioner in 2015 and defeated incumbent Beverly Boswell in a primary on his way to winning a House seat in 2018, said that for voters, the race “basically comes down to your beliefs — whether you believe in Republican conservative values or Democratic values.”

“I believe in protecting the Second Amendment, I’m a big pro-life advocate,” he added. “I believe in education. I believe in school choice. I believe in less taxes, less government…I’ve proven that I work for our communities and our citizens and that’s my first priority.”

And while both candidates cite education as a very important issue, they come at it from very different perspectives.

Given the restrictions of the COVID pandemic, Hanig emphasized that, “My biggest concern…is getting our youngest kids back in school. They’re not learning the fundamentals of how to learn.” At the same time, he stated, “this pandemic has catapulted us into the digital age of education,” which he sees as potentially offering significant benefits.

“Where we would have concern with overcrowded schools in middle schools and high schools, [that] may not be so much of a concern in the very near future because so much can be done in virtual classrooms.” He explained. “I think it gives kids a little more discipline, because they’re on their own.”

For his part, Fulcher asserts that “public school are under siege…I think the [legislative] leadership has worked to undermine our public schools, in terms of defunding our schools, the explosive growth in charter schools, especially for-profit charter schools.”  While he lauds the intent behind charter schools, Fulcher said that has now “turned into more of a movement to undermine traditional public schools.”

Fulcher also identifies the state’s tax structure as something that needs fixing.

“The General Assembly, under Republican leadership, has really heaped massive tax cuts on the wealthy and corporations,” he stated. “The fine print is the majority of the tax cuts went to upper income [citizens], and the working class is paying more in taxes…When you add in all the fees and sales taxes that are a lot harder to track, it’s been a bait and switch. I would like to see a progressive tax reinstituted.”

Hanig cites “the constant” battle to protect the region’ fishing industry as one of his priorities, suggesting that a more collaborative effort by the parties involved is needed to pave the way toward progress.

“It’s like the same battle for twenty, thirty years,” he added. “Both sides are entrenched…That has to end for anything positive to come out of it.” The solution, he said, is for “commercial fisherman to be honest about what they’re doing and recreational fisherman to be honest about what they’re doing.”

One issue that finds the candidates in agreement is offshore drilling. I am vehemently opposed to that…I support a permanent ban on offshore drilling,” Fulcher said, acknowledging that while Hanig is also opposed, “his party leadership hasn’t walked away from that.”

“We are energy independent,” declared Hanig. “We are a net exporter of fossil fuels and natural gas. When we need [offshore oil], let’s go get it. We do not need it. It’s not worth what could happen…From day one, I’ve been against [offshore drilling] and I’ve caught a lot of flak for it.”

With both candidates identifying health care and the COVID-19 pandemic as a key concern, they were also asked to assess how well the administration of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper had responded to that challenge.

“I would say in the beginning, they handled it very well and took appropriate precautions,” offered Hanig. “After that, it became political. I believe they see an opening to cause trouble at the state level and at the federal level with our current elected officials, and they see this as an avenue to take them out…Quite frankly, the numbers aren’t there to justify shutting down an entire economy.”

“We are in unprecedented times,” Fulcher stated. “There’s no playbook for this…I think Governor Cooper has made good, balanced decisions. I will say some of his decisions have caused economic hardship for business and workers, there’s no doubt about it….But the truth of it is, there is no way to revive our economy without getting control of the virus…He’s had a measured approach here.”


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Comments

  • sandflea

    “Hanig told the Voice when asked to identify a top issue. “Health care is without a doubt the number one priority throughout the state, throughout the country.”

    So why does your party want to take away health care from over 22,000,000 people and pre-existing conditions coverage for over 140,000,000 people?

    Monday, Oct 26 @ 2:40 pm
  • Runnerguy45

    Hanig and the republican party could care less about healthcare for working people.

    Tuesday, Oct 27 @ 5:18 am
  • WBN

    Bobby Hanig is a straight forward, honest guy with true concerns for the district he represents. I have known him for years and he is a practical, no nonsense person. He will do what’s best for our area. He is not a bought and paid for politician.

    Tuesday, Oct 27 @ 9:13 am
  • Bobby Hanig

    Both of these statements are untrue and you both know it. It’s a shame neither of you are adult enough to use your real name! Let me guess? You are not voting for me.Feel free to contact me if you want to have a real discussion about healthcare and my concerns for the community that I live in!

    Tuesday, Oct 27 @ 9:35 am
  • Wombatnc

    The US should not be an energy exporter. We should be conserving our reserves for future generations while we transition to renewable energies. The only thing that exporting energy accomplishes is to line the pockets of the fossil fuel industry’s millionaires & billionaires. I’m glad that both candidates oppose off-shore drilling off our coast.
    And as far a school choice – this is movement within the GOP that is designed to strip money away from public schools and set up elitist and many times race dominated schools; all in the name of choice. You know the same philosophy of whether to wear a mask (my body, not yours), but when it comes to a woman’s choice what to do with her body, well, that’s a whole different story.
    When it comes to healthcare, the GOP controlled General Assembly likes to talk as though they actually care about the citizens, meanwhile rural hospitals have had to close because of a lack of funding and their bowing to the wishes of the insurance industry is clear as day.
    Taxes – as a middle income person, I never paid income taxes to the state before the GOP took over in 2010; since then, every year! Fulcher has it right – in addition to the massive tax breaks to the wealthy, the hard working blue collar class has to absorb more fees for vehicle maintenance/fees, fishing licenses, boat registration, etc. A clever disguise, but one that many of of us notice and feel in our wallets.
    It’s time for a change in Washington (Drain the Cesspool) and in Raleigh!

    Tuesday, Oct 27 @ 10:10 am
  • sandflea

    Bobby, please post your/republican “plan” here or somewhere where we can actually read it. The only thing I’ve heard about the republican “plan” is that its been coming out in two weeks; for the last 10 years. Thanks!

    Tuesday, Oct 27 @ 10:41 am
  • Runnerguy45

    Bobby, post your healthcare plan or
    post the republican parties healthcare plan.

    Oh thats right, you don’t have one !

    Wednesday, Oct 28 @ 6:24 am
  • Travis

    Well thanks for the morning chuckle. Both Hanig and Steinburg invite you to engage with them but they are the least responsive individuals you could ever hope to meet. A reasonably presented argument or position is shut down with insults and ad hominem attacks. There are pages and pages of exchanges between these men and the pubic available online that demonstrate their narrow minded approach to representation.

    All that said, it’s a conservative district and the likelihood of any new blood is remote even with the dramatic changes unfolding on a national level. Hopefully other parts of the state continue to trend more progressive and these two will be reduced to crybabies on the sidelines.

    Wednesday, Oct 28 @ 10:20 am
  • anotherobxman

    The names of posters are not important Bobby Hanig. Unlike yourself, they are not running for public office. They are however your employer and we would like see you post your healthcare plan that would replace the Affordable Care Act that you detest so much. Healthcare is the number one issue and your employers would like to know what your plan is.

    Wednesday, Oct 28 @ 2:22 pm
  • Heiko Sunkler

    I Have Known Bobby Hanig a long time and know that he is not only a hard worker but also one of the most genuine , honest and dependable persons I know. I can’t imagine getting a better individual to represent our needs in Raleigh and am grateful for his service so far.

    Wednesday, Oct 28 @ 4:45 pm
  • Runnerguy45

    Hanig and Steinburg’s idea of health insurance for working people is a GoFundMe account where sick people beg for money because of republican policies.

    Wednesday, Oct 28 @ 7:15 pm
  • anotherobxman

    I feel confident that any day now Bobby is going to post that big, beautiful healthcare plan I keep hearing about from republicans. It’s probably going to be the best healthcare plan ever. Healthcare like you never saw before.

    Thursday, Oct 29 @ 10:26 pm