Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 31, 2011

N.C. Rep. Fred Steen will be a busy man in 2012.
Not only is he leading four committees as a state legislator, he is campaigning to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Steen has represented District 76, which includes part of Rowan County, since he was elected to the N.C. House in 2004.
Now, the Landis resident is seeking the Republican nomination in 2012 to challenge U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell, whose district stretches into 11 counties.
“We’ve got to take it one step at a time,” Steen said. “Establishing the party nomination will be our first goal… Then, I hope to go into the general election and take the 8th Congressional District seat.”
Steen will finish his current term as a state representative next year while he campaigns across the new 8th District.
The district previously did not reach Rowan County, but its lines were redrawn by state legislators during 2011 redistricting. It now includes parts of Rowan, Cabarrus, Davidson, Mecklenburg, Randolph and Robeson counties and all of Stanly, Montgomery, Anson, Scotland and Richmond counties.
That’s a lot of ground for Steen to cover while reading bills and working on another tricky budget — even if it is the General Assembly’s short session.
“It’s going to be doubly challenging for me going forward,” Steen said. “With the legislative calendar and those responsibilities, trying to stay on track while on the campaign tour — I think that’s going to be our biggest challenge.”
To win the primary in May, Steen will have to distinguish himself from five other Republican candidates who have the same goal. He says he wants to bring a local voice to the nation’s capital.
“I’m looking forward to 2012 and all the opportunities that may be before us,” Steen said. “I’m going to do the best I can and work hard to get there.”
— By Karissa Minn

Fred Steen
Age: 51
Occupation: Representative in the N.C. House for the 76th District
Favorite book: Currently reading “Decision Points” by George W. Bush
Most surprising song or artist in your music collection: Theme song to “Blazing Saddles” by “Frankie Laine”
Who will you watch in 2012?: “I think we’ll be watching our presidential candidates on the Republican side, to see who’s going to win that nomination.”
Why this person is one to watch in 2012: He will be representing Rowan County in a state office while campaigning for a federal one. If he is elected, both his constituency and his perspective will have to broaden.
Reaction to making the list: “Oh, really? All right. How many folks are going to be watching?”