Griffin wants to bring same ideas to U.S. House race

Published 12:10 am Saturday, April 9, 2016

After receiving positive feedback about his U.S. Senate run this year, Durham businessman Kevin Griffin decided to bring the same ideas to the 13th Congressional District race.

Griffin, the 44-year-old president and CEO of a staffing company, said he plans to continue conversations and talk about issues he first brought up during the 2016 Senate primary race. He finished third overall in the race and second in counties contained within the 13th District — one of the reasons he mentioned as a motivating factor to run for elected office twice in the same year. Griffin said he’s also worked in the 13th and has friends in the district.

“People responded positively to the ideas I put forward, and I believe we were able to have good, quality conversations,” Griffin said. “And, part of why I agreed to jump into this is because I thought the 13th was the best place.”

When asked, Griffin described himself as a problem solver.

“I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in government,” he said. “I want to make a difference and then clear the way from someone else to make a difference.”

Griffin has two bachelor’s degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. One is in management. The other degree is in information systems and operations management. His entire career has been in the staffing industry.

He said the local economy ranks as the most significant issue for the 13th District. The region’s jobs problem dates back to the North American Free Trade Agreement, Griffin said. Critics of the agreement say jobs left North Carolina as a result of its passage. Griffin said the 13th District needs to “reconstitute the workforce.” He cited the creation of Fibrant — Salisbury’s city-owned internet system — as an example of an innovative step forward in improving the local business climate.

The best way for a member of Congress to improve an economic situation is by making small policy changes that may “snowball into larger activities,” he said. Griffin specifically said America should expand loans to small businesses granted through the Small Business Administration. The loans would help start-up businesses that are unable to secure other types of financing, he said.

Setting a minimum wage for all Title IX schools is another idea Griffin mentioned.

At the college level, Griffin said there needs to be student loan reform. In his proposal, interest rates on loans would drop notably after a college graduate secures a full-time job. The interest rate drop would be a reward for students who are successful in securing a job, he said.

He is also in favor of raising the minimum wage.

Aside from his own policy proposals, Griffin said he wants to make sure constituents are heard — that voters’ opinions are seriously considered.

“I think that’s a part that’s sorely missing in government today,” he said.

Griffin described himself as progressive on social issues and conservative when it comes to government spending.

One drag on Griffin’s campaign may be that he doesn’t currently live in the 13th District, which includes parts of Rowan, Iredell and Guilford counties. It includes all of Davidson and Davie counties.

Griffin said he grew up in the Winston-Salem area and lived in Greensboro in college. He lived in High Point, located in the 13th, for a time. Later, he moved back to Winston-Salem and worked in Greensboro. For years, he went to a dentist in Lexington. Griffin also said he’s considering moving back to the 13th District.

However, the residence of candidates shouldn’t be the most significant concern for voters, he said.

“If you’re active and engaged, involved and aware, you can still be a very good representative,” he said.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.