After years in legislature, Howard aims for U.S. House seat

Published 12:10 am Thursday, April 14, 2016

MOCKSVILLE — As she runs for North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District seat, State Rep. Julia Howard is touting her conservative record in the General Assembly and small things she’s done to help constituents.

Howard, 71, is a 14-term Republican state representative from Mocksville and one of 17 people running in the Republican primary for the 13th Congressional District. She owns and operates a realty business in Davie County and also served on the Mocksville Town Board for several years in the 1980s.

When asked about her candidacy for Congress, Howard said she’s proud of her conservative record in the General Assembly. However, “the small things” often matter the most to constituents, she said.

“The most rewarding thing is the small things that you can do for the constituents,” she said. “When a person has a problem, it’s so important that you help them if you can.”

She mentioned helping a person get a driver’s license address changed as an example.

“Really, government is a big ugly thing that people can have trouble getting through,” she said.

In the General Assembly, Howard has served in a Republican minority and majority. Howard said she’s also been the architect of important pieces of legislation. She cited the controversial House Bill 2 as a recent example. She was a primary sponsor of the measure, which struck down a Charlotte ordinance that provided protections for transgender people. The bill’s other provisions prevent people from suing in state courts for discrimination and ensure that municipalities can’t raise the minimum wage.

She said people would be more supportive of House Bill 2 if they read its contents. It’s a “common-sense approach,” she said.

“The Charlotte City Council did something that, in my opinion, they did not have the authority to do,” Howard said. “Nobody wanted to go to Raleigh for a day and fix something we didn’t break.”

Howard sad the massive field of 17 Republicans running for the 13th District seat includes “some fine candidates.” When asked about her reason for running, she mentioned her conservative record and said “I just thought that maybe I can make a difference … if I’m supposed to wake up and be in Washington, I will.”

She said Republican reforms in Raleigh would be beneficial if also applied at a federal level — in Congress. Specifically, she said North Carolina has grown economically. State legislators have also strengthened “rights and freedoms” of North Carolinians.

If elected, Howard said she would “act the same way I act today.”

“I will wear the same suit and will do the same things,” she said. “The thing is, I will not be an empty suit.”

She said some politicians go to Washington for the prestige. Howard said wants to “go to work”

She said regulations in Washington, D.C. have harmed small business. She said federal regulations are “stifling our national economic recovery.”

Howard said it’s also important for federal elected officials to stand against terrorism.

“Our people deserve to get up in the morning and feel safe,” she said. “That safety factor is beginning to erode away.”

On immigration issues, Howard said she wasn’t sure if a border wall, proposed by presidential candidate Donald Trump, would remedy concerns. It’s important, however, to screen all immigrants coming into the country, she said.

When asked about specific policy proposals, Howard said guarantees by congressional candidates might be be based on unrealistic expectations.

“I have my own ideas and my own thoughts,” she said. “I can stand up and as a candidate say ‘I’m going to go to Washington and fight for this,’ but you’ve got to be realistic about what you’re going to do.”

It’s important to work with the hundreds of other representatives in Congress, she said.

Voters will pick a 13th District representative from each party on June 7. The 13th District was recently moved to the Piedmont after a court decision by federal judges. The district includes parts of Rowan, Iredell and Guilford counties. It includes all of Davidson and Davie counties. It also includes the entirety of the city of Salisbury.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.