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N.C. House Speaker mingles in Newport

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Posted: Saturday, April 5, 2014 5:40 pm

NEWPORT — This year the Newport Pig Cookin’ Contest had a high-profile visitor on Friday. 

State Speaker of the House and candidate for the U.S. Senate Thom Tillis came to visit the contest. Rep. Tillis is the Republican candidate seeking his party’s nomination next month to run against the Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan in the fall.

Rep. Tillis said he likes coming to events like the Newport Pig Cookin’ because he gets to meet a lot of great people. 

“Every part of the state is important (to his campaign),” he said. “My family comes to Carteret County frequently; we come to Emerald Isle for our beach vacation. A lot of people in the mountain and coastal areas need their voices heard (in Congress).”

When it comes to issues facing coastal counties like Carteret County, Rep. Tillis said flood insurance can be a problem. 

“We need to be sure that the people out here can afford it,” he said. “The East Coast is growing; if we get the insurance policy wrong, it’s going to be bad.” 

Mr. Tillis said North Carolina also has a reputation as the most military-friendly state; a reputation he wants to maintain. 

“We want to see the military presence here expand, not contract,” he said. 

When it comes to protecting the coastal environment, Rep. Tillis said he thinks there are ways to strike a balance on issues like using terminal groins and beach nourishment to prevent beach erosion. 

“As we do regulatory reform, we’re trying to come up with regulations that won’t threaten businesses, but will protect the environment,” he said. 

Finally, on the subject of offshore energy – both for exploratory drilling and renewable energy like wind turbines – Rep. Tillis said he thinks the country is in a position to create a comprehensive energy portfolio and become an energy exporter. 

“I think we do need to do some exploratory drilling,” he said. “Not only does it give us an opportunity to have less of a carbon footprint, it’ll be of benefit to the economy.” As to wind energy, Rep. Tillis said he’s in favor of developing it as long as it doesn’t require a government subsidy.    

Contact Mike Shutak at 252-726-7081 ext. 206, email mike@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt. 

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