Democrat Ernie Ward is challenging Senator Bill Rabon for North Carolina Senate District 8, which encompasses Brunswick, Pender, and Bladen County, along with a small portion of western New Hanover County. Ward, who is a veterinarian and author, moved to North Carolina in 1992. At that time, he says education, job creation, and the environment were prioritized by the legislature, but that’s declined in recent years. He aims to change that by focusing on education, infrastructure, and research.
Last year’s hotly debated puppy mill bill may be back on the table. The North Carolina House has passed a budget amendment that would shift animal welfare oversight from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Public Safety. This would allow law enforcement officials to inspect commercial dog breeders, and charge those operating with ten or more female dogs.
Senator Bill Rabon has represented North Carolina Senate District Eight since 2010--and he’s hoping to carry forth through another term. Rabon, a native of Columbus County and a current Southport veterinarian, recently told WHQR that he doesn’t want to stay in the Senate so long he wears out his welcome. However, the incumbent Republican says he’s proud of what he’s accomplished in terms of transportation and tax reform, and would like to see these matters—as well as initiatives related to job creation and education—through to completion.
A second Brunswick County veterinarian is vying to represent the citizens of North Carolina’s Senate District Eight. In fact, Democratic candidate Dr. Ernie Ward cites -- as a major impetus to run -- a January episode during which his district’s incumbent senator, fellow veterinarian Bill Rabon, rejected legislation to regulate commercial dog breeding. In addition to animal rights, this political newcomer—who is endorsed by the North Carolina Association of Educators and has served on Brunswick County’s Board of Health—champions accessible healthcare and middle-class job creation.