In the Republican primary race for reconstituted NC House 79, Edwin Hege challenges incumbent Keith Kidwell for a seat that now represents the southern part of Dare County, where the dividing line runs through the Kill Devil Hills.
Kidwell, who resides in Chocowenity, is a businessman and former Beaufort County Republican Party and Third Congressional District Treasurer. He was elected to a seat in the North Carolina House of Representatives in 2018, and has one child and four grandchildren.
Haig, from New Bern, spent 30 years with the Lexington, NC Fire Department before retiring. He has been married to his current wife since 1997, and his family includes four sons, seven grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren.
In order to help voters better assess their options, The Voice has emailed a set of questions to local candidates facing primary contests that will be decided on May 17. Candidates answered in this race and those responses are included below. (Some answers may be edited for length).
The Voice asked candidates to identify the issues they believed the voters in their area to care about most.
Edwin Haig: “The issues of most concern to the counties in the region are rapid inflation, specifically fuel, food, fertilizer and seed. Food affects everyone, and fuel, fertilizer and seed affect our farmers, who make up more than half of the region’s total income. Then it is followed by consideration of timber No. 2 and commercial fishing No. 3, Both require large amounts of fuel.
“Other major issues are excessive regulations or outright attempts to eliminate fishing as a commercial enterprise. Another big issue that I feel is going to get worse based on the county commissioner meetings I’ve attended is property taxes. With inflation and a demanded rise in services, most counties will see a rise in taxes or a cut in services. This area already has some of the highest taxes in the state.”
Keith Kidwell: “Integrity and security of elections. Transcend the government in their lives and business. Crime is out of control. We need to send more funding, not less, to law enforcement [to] Get criminals off the streets.”
The candidates were also asked to discuss the main differences between them and their opponent.
Keith Kidwell: “I am in Raleigh doing what I have been sent to do. My record has been to deal with and execute difficult problems. I have been called the ‘Conservative Conscience of North Carolina’ by Representative Dean Arp. Awarded by the American Conservative Union every year I have served. Scored 100 % with Civitas for all three years, winning the NC Freedom Award every year. I am the only GA member to have three consecutive 100% scores.”
Edwin Haig: “My background is probably the biggest difference in myself and my opponent. I have lived my entire life in North Carolina. My career choice as a public service life began with the Lexington Fire Department in 1978 and I retired as a captain in 2008 for 30 years of continuous service. During Also this time, I was a member/volunteer of the North Lexington Triangle Fire Department and served as the department’s chief-elect for 14 years.
“I have always considered myself very close to the working class. Often times, besides my career in the fire service, I have had many other part-time jobs including house painter, mechanic, machinist, heating and air installers, agriculture, grading contractor, And the welding factory.The life experiences I have gained through…interacting when people face most life-changing events (from losing a home, and sometimes, losing loved ones) have given me a compassionate sense of understanding their situations.
Additionally, my campaign was mostly funded by myself, my wife, and a few other small donors. This mode allows me to be more “for the layman” of the area because I’m not committed to any major donor. I am not owned by anyone.”
Candidates were asked if they wanted to include any endorsements they received during the election campaign.
Edwin Haig:The only endorsement came from individuals who say, “I will vote for you.” She has endorsed Billie Crich, a former state representative, and a huge supporter of my campaign. I’ve also been endorsed by Sam Watford, District 80 State Assembly Representative. Grassroots NC gave me a 4 star rating of 100%, just like my opponent, but gave him the endorsement because he’s the incumbent.”
Keith Kidwell: “Endorsed by the NRA and Grass Roots NC.“
Candidates were asked to share something about themselves that voters might not know, but should know.
Keith Kidwell: “I met the girl who became my wife when I was four years old. She married the girl next door. We love hiking, camping and fishing. He traveled across the United States three times. Once in 1976 in a puppy tent, then in 1999 with my kids, then in 2018 with my wife, son, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren. All in a 24-foot travel trailer and 8-passenger expedition. What a wonderful adventure.”
Edwin Haig: “I became widowed in early 1996, leaving me two very young children. Thanks to God, with the help of family, grandparents and friends, my children and I recovered and made it through. I got married again a year later and created a loving mixed family. With the help of my beautiful wife, all my children grew up in a Christian home. , and they have gone on to build a successful life and give me wonderful grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I have been really fortunate.”