Veteran Sen. Hartsell Faces Fellow Attorney In Senate District 36 | Beaufort County Now | A primary opponent is something to be expected even if you are a veteran legislator in the majority party, says state Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, R-Cabarrus. After sailing through the 2012 election cycle with no opposition, Hartsell, an attorney, has drawn an opponent in the May 6 Republican primary.

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    Publisher's note: The author of this post is Joe Johnson, who is a contributor to the Carolina Journal, John Hood Publisher.

Fred Biggers says district needs a more conservative voice in Raleigh

    RALEIGH     A primary opponent is something to be expected even if you are a veteran legislator in the majority party, says state Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, R-Cabarrus. After sailing through the 2012 election cycle with no opposition, Hartsell, an attorney, has drawn an opponent in the May 6 Republican primary.

    Fred Biggers of Concord, also an attorney, is challenging Hartsell for District 36, which covers all of Cabarrus and part of Union counties, and is listed as a strong Republican district by the North Carolina FreeEnterprise Foundation.

    The primary winner would capture the seat outright, barring a write-in or unaffiliated candidate in the general election. No Democrats filed to run in the district, in which they account for 32.5 percent of registered voters, compared with 39.6 percent Republicans. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory received 68.8 percent of the vote in 2012; GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney won 60.2 percent of the vote.

    Hartsell, who has served in the Senate since 1990, said he has seen a lot of change during his time in office.

    "This state is different than it was 20 years ago," Hartsell said. "I want to see things work for the benefit of the people."

    Hartsell considers himself a policy wonk and said he loves diving into the details to find better ways for government to work. He said he would like to continue to find ways to streamline government, and to improve the tax code.

    "I'd like to see us complete the job we started," Hartsell said.

    Hartsell was one of the architects of the charter school movement in the 1990s, when he worked with Democrats to bring the new education option to the state. He said he was glad to see the cap on the number of charter schools finally lifted in 2011.

    "We have enough funds in education," Hartsell said. "We need to look at how we spend it, and make sure we are getting the appropriate results. Charter schools are one way to bring more choice and competition."

    Biggers, who has 15 years of experience as an attorney and was clerk of Superior Court in Cabarrus County from 2006-10, is staking himself as the more conservative choice for voters.

    "I see a need for change," Biggers said. "I'm fiscally conservative, and on most issues I am conservative. We need someone there who is more conservative."

    Biggers said he favors legislative term limits and finding ways to limit government expansion.

    "I'm not a career politician, but I have a passion for public service," Biggers said. "I enjoyed helping government run efficiently. I'm opposed to government expansion by using debt."

    Changing the laws regarding eminent domain is one of Biggers' interests. He said property owners need more protection from governments using eminent domain for questionable economic development purposes.

    He also said the state needs to take a step back from the Common Core education requirements established by the federal government.

    "I think North Carolina can best decide the standards for our schools," Biggers said. "We need policies that make sense.

    "Whatever we do," he said, "we need to be consistent."

    Hartsell had $4,258 campaign cash on hand at the end of 2013. Biggers' campaign cash amount was not available.
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