Elect 2012: Education reform, economy key for District 25 Republican candidates

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 20, 2012

By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY — Republican candidates Jack Benoy and Gene McIntyre believe they can better District 25 through education reform and increased economic growth.
But they have different ways of getting there.
Benoy, a businessman from Albemarle, has never held a public office. McIntyre, a 33-year educator, is in his fourth term as county commissioner.
Benoy and McIntyre want to represent the Republican Party after the May 8 primary. The Senate seat is available after incumbent Sen. Bill Purcell decided not to run for reelection.
Last year’s redistricting brought southeastern Rowan County into the new District 25. Its boundaries also will include Scotland, Richmond, Anson and Stanly counties.
“I’ve been a commissioner for 13 years,” McIntyre said, “and with my 33 years in education, I feel like I’ve got something to take to Raleigh and help jump start our economy.”
McIntyre said jobs and education will be priorities, but working with private business is key to job growth.
“Government does not create jobs,” he said. “We create an environment that’s conducive for the private sector for them to create jobs.”
McIntyre said since he hasn’t raised taxes as a commissioner, he believes he can help entice businesses by lowering taxes.
His history in the education system will also help “fix” schools, McIntyre said.
“I believe in funding education, but we have an education system that’s not working,” he said.
McIntyre said he will also work to return the lottery’s education funding to its original “formula.”
“It’s not an education lottery anymore,” he said.
McIntyre and Benoy said they plan to support the community colleges and vocational tracks.
“We have to be competitive,” Jack Benoy said. “We have to have a work force that can meet the demands of the jobs that are available. We need to work on our vocational training.”
Benoy, owner of Eastside Motor, said social issues are important, but he emphasized the need for a restricted government.
Benoy said he doesn’t believe anyone should be a “career politician.”
“I wish it was a volunteer basis,” he said. “I believe in a common sense approach to most of the things we’re dealing with. We’re spending way too much money.”
One approach he hopes to change is the education budget.
“I don’t believe the quality of education and the amount of money is directly related,” he said.
Benoy said increased funding won’t necessarily increase learning.
First, he said, they need to look at the cracks.
“We have to require accountability for our teachers,” he said. “And if we raise money for education, it ought to be spent on education.”

The Rowan County precincts included in Senate District 25 are:
Barnhardt Mill
Bostian Crossroads
China Grove
Rock Grove
Morgan I
Morgan II
Gold Knob
Bostian School