Incumbent Burr Faces Pharmacist Sasser in House 67 GOP Primary | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's note: The author of this post is Leslee Kulba, who is a contributor for the Carolina Journal, John Hood Publisher.

    Republican primary, House District 67: Cabarrus and Stanly counties.

  • Justin Burr (incumbent, five terms). Education: Stanly Community College, Campbell University (no degree). Occupation: Bail agent; licensed real estate broker. Career highlights: Vice-chairman, House Appropriations Committee. GOPAC Emerging Leader (2013): Defender of Liberty, American Conservative Union.
  • Wayne Sasser. Education: UNC-Chapel Hill School of Pharmacy. Occupation: Pharmacist (semi-retired); cattle farmer. Career highlights: Member, Stanly County Economic Development Commission; member, N.C. Association of Pharmacists, policy and advocacy committee; various local civic organizations.

    Incumbent Justin Burr, who is 32, is running for his sixth term as a state representative in House District 67. In the 2016 primary, he narrowly defeated contender Lane Burris in a two-way race with 51 percent of the vote.

    This time, cattle farmer and pharmacist Wayne Sasser is challenging Burr in the primary. The N.C. FreeEnterprise Foundation rates the district "strong Republican."

    Burr has been named a most-effective member of the House more than once. He has served on and chaired several powerful committees. For example, he was a key budget writer for 2011-12 and 2013-14, during the period legislative tax reforms moved the state from 44th to 12th in the Tax Foundation 's State Business Tax Climate Index.

    Based on Burr's website, he wants to continue cutting pork and focusing on what he considers government's core functions: education, public safety, and transportation. He believes the state should promote economic development with lower taxes and less regulation.

    Burr is generally aligned with mainline Republican goals including requiring voter ID at the polls, supporting the Second Amendment, enforcing immigration laws, and returning control of schools to the local level.

    Pro-life, he championed legislation to require a waiting period and explanation of options for women seeking abortions; prevent the sale of fetal body part; and stop taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood.

    When Gov. Roy Cooper announced the operators of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would be contributing $57.8 million for environmental and economic development purposes, Burr publicly blasted the governor for "taking very large sums of money outside the normal course of business in the state." Burr then voted for House Bill 90, which redirects the funds to schools along the pipeline's route.

    Burr failed to respond to the Carolina Journal survey after six emails, four phone calls, and one social media contact.

    Sasser said he is running "to serve the families, businesses, industries, interests, and values of Stanly and Cabarrus counties. Our current representative has not met this simple threshold."

    If elected, Sasser would support economic development in the state's rural communities. "Our current representative has resisted efforts countless times to bring broadband internet access to Stanly County. Instead, he has chosen to represent the corporate special interests that have a monopoly in our state."

    In an email, Sasser said, "The Atlantic Coast Pipeline project will bring jobs, economic development, and other benefits and opportunities to rural communities across North Carolina. I do not support the $57.8 million slush fund Gov. Roy Cooper secretly negotiated in this state project. It is clear Governor Cooper was negotiating a political benefit for himself and not the citizens of North Carolina. I fully support the decision by the N.C. General Assembly re-appropriating those funds to local schools."

    Sasser would also work to combat opioid abuse. "The opioid crisis is hitting rural communities across N.C. hard," he said, "Our current representative has not engaged or contributed to finding a solution." Sasser, in his role as a policy advocate for the state association of pharmacists, worked with state Sen. Tom McInnis, R-Richmond, in drafting the STOP Act.

    In the general election, Democrat Karen Webster and Libertarian Michael Finn will face the winner of the GOP primary.
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