CoastLine Candidate Interviews: Representative Holly Grange (R) of NC's 20th House District

Oct 9, 2016

On this edition of CoastLine Candidate Interviews, we meet North Carolina Representative Holly Grange, a Republican from New Hanover County who was appointed to the seat in August after Rick Catlin announced he was stepping down.  Holly Grange won the March primary in a contest with current New Hanover County School Board member Tammy Covil.  She has no Democratic Challenger in November. 

In North Carolina’s 20th House District, which encompasses the northern half of New Hanover County, 86% of residents are white, 8% are black, and 4.5% are Hispanic.  Nearly 40% of the voters are registered as Republicans, 32% as Democrats, and about 28% are unaffiliated. 

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Rachel Lewis Hilburn: Holly Grange, why don’t we start by having you tell us a little bit about who you are, where you’ve come from, and how you arrived at this place?

Representative Holly Grange: I am what is affectionately known as a military brat. My father was career military, career Army. I went to high school in Fayetteville, graduated from high school in Fayetteville, went from there to West Point, where I was in the third class with women, so people can do the math and figure out how old I am. Then I went back to Fort Bragg for five years, where I met my husband, Dave Grange. We went from there to Korea to Washington, DC, and then two more times back to North Carolina before this time. I left active duty military service in 1990, when my second son was born.

RLH: And what was your focus during your active duty?

Representative Holly Grange: I was an engineer officer in the Army Corp of Engineers. I served in the 20th Engineer Brigade at Fort Bragg and on 18th Airborne Corps staff. I did everything from build bridges, make maps, and build base camps for the 18th Airborne Corps.

RLH: And then once your son came along?

Representative Holly Grange: My second son was born in 1990, and we were going to have difficulty being assigned together in the military, so I decided at that point to resign my commission. I stayed in the Reserves for another seven years after that.

RLH: You’re no longer in the Reserves now.

Representative Holly Grange: I’m no longer in the Reserves. My husband’s last job in the Army was commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division in Germany, and I was a Reserve Major at the time, and I received a letter one day that said, in the event of mobilization, you have two hours to report to Heidelberg, Germany. I had a child in third grade and a child in fourth grade and had responsibilities with our military units, the family support groups, so I decided at that time that probably, you know, I didn’t need to be in the Reserves anymore at that point, so I resigned my commission from the Reserves.  

RLH: And at this point, you and your husband have a company, Osprey Global Solutions and Osprey Armament. Can you tell us about that? You are the director of community relations.

Representative Holly Grange: I am, but that’s not what brought us to Wilmington. My husband and I came to Wilmington in 2009. He was at PPD, and when PPD sold, he started Osprey, which does security, training, and remote aerial logistics and medical support.

RLH: What does that mean in practical terms? Are there parts of the world now—

Representative Holly Grange: Parts of the world, yes, places that you and I would probably not want to go—remote areas of Africa, the Middle East. We do work—it’s not necessarily government work but we do work for private corporations. We do training for private corporations and some governments.

RLH: And you said security and defense—

Representative Holly Grange: Security and training.

RLH: Security and training. So what are you training people in?

Representative Holly Grange: Training them in security matters, physical security. Not mercenary forces or anything like that.

RLH: Is this how to protect—

Representative Holly Grange: How to protect themselves. How to protect their entities, their bases, their regions, things like that.

RLH: And is Osprey Armament a separate company?

Representative Holly Grange: It is. Well, now I believe it’s merged in with Osprey. It’s no longer a separate entity. Osprey Armament develops weaponry for military and law enforcement, as well as ammunition endeavors as well.

RLH: As director of community relations, what are your responsibilities?

Representative Holly Grange: My responsibility is to interface with the community. In the past, most of my duties have been philanthropic, how we’re going to support our local community. We like to have a focus on first responders as well and a focus on military organizations.

RLH: And so, are you talking about resources for—

Representative Holly Grange: I’m talking about resources, donating to certain causes, things like that.

RLH: Holly Grange, you also work on a couple of different boards. You’ve been on the board of Coastal Horizons. Why is that organization important to you, and what do you still want to do with Coastal Horizons?

Representative Holly Grange: I have loved being on the board of Coastal Horizons center. Margaret Weller Stargell is the CEO, and she runs a very tight ship.

RLH: And for folks who aren’t familiar, tell us what Coastal Horizons is.

Representative Holly Grange: Coastal Horizons Center is an organization that provides substance abuse treatment, mental health services. They provide integrated care for their patients, so primary care services for their patients. They have an intensive home component where teams of people will go in and help in the home, everything from, you know, early childhood development type situations in at-risk homes to help reduce the risk in a home. They provide reintegration services for people coming out of incarceration. So it’s got a broad spectrum. We help children whose parents are incarcerated. We also have a youth shelter for children who are at-risk that need a safe place to be. And we also have a rape crisis center for this part of the state.

RLH: Will you be stepping away from your board responsibilities?

Representative Holly Grange: I have to be very careful. Ethically, I can stay on the board, but I would have to recuse myself in Raleigh on any matters that have to do with Coastal Horizons directly.

RLH: Is that because of funding?

Representative Holly Grange: Because of funding. They would like me to stay on the board, and I plan on doing that at least until we go into session in January.

RLH: What is it about the work that that organization does that speaks to you?

Representative Holly Grange: Well, I look at what we’re facing in this part of the state with our opioid problem, the drug issues. This is known as the Heroin Highway, Route 17 coming up the eastern part of North Carolina and South Carolina, heading north. We have some very unique issues here. We’re #1 in the country for opioid abuse, and we face it daily. I had the experience of serving on the grand jury in New Hanover County for a year, and I can say that, easily, 95% of our cases had to do with drug abuse—dealers, mostly. But there’s a demand for that here. Mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment— Drug addiction is a mental health issue. A lot of people don’t look at it as that, but it is, and Coastal Horizon Center is at the forefront in handling some of those issues.

Bill (caller): Several decades ago, the Department of Defense and the U.S. Navy, based on studies of ice melts in the polar areas, said that in the long-run, rising sea level would be a major security threat to the United States because of forced mass migration. The U.S. Navy was declined having funds to prepare for protecting the Norfolk Naval Base because of Republican congressmen who were very skeptical. Given the skepticism by the Republican party in the General Assembly on sea level rise, what is the representative’s position on climate change, sea level rise, and how to protect North Carolina?

Representative Holly Grange: Climate change does exist. Personally, and from my research, I’m not sure that that is all manmade climate change, but climate change definitely does exist. And if scientific studies have determined that sea levels are rising, that’s something that we need to deal with, for whatever reason they may be rising. Especially with our defense and especially with our delicate natural resources that we have here in southeastern North Carolina.

RLH: How does that translate into your responsibility in the legislature in Raleigh? Do you expect to work towards planning for that?

Representative Holly Grange: The first thing I would do is work with our local, coastal delegation because it’s something I alone cannot address. There are people who are just as concerned with it as I am. We would take a concerted effort, a united front from the coastal region to help people in Raleigh understand the concerns that we have.

RLH: Do you realize that might be something of an uphill battle? In 2010, I think it was, there was a moratorium put on doing something with the data from scientists about sea level rise.

Representative Holly Grange: It certainly could be an uphill battle. There are a lot of regional issues that we have that people in Raleigh who encompass the rest of the state don’t realize. Our job, as a delegation from the coastal areas or this part of the state, is to help educate people on those issues and concerns because, look at the tourism that we bring to this part of the state. That brings in a lot of money and publicity for our state. It’s why a lot of people think this is a great place to live.

RLH: You have also served on the board of the North Carolina Ports Authority. Tell us about your work with that.

Representative Holly Grange: I thoroughly enjoyed my work with that, mostly because I could see some of the results of some of the efforts that I took, some of the votes that I made on that board.

RLH: What are some of the results that you’re proud of?

Representative Holly Grange: As a board, we have provided the resources to the director, the CEO, Paul Cozza, to have more of an effect on business development. We were the stepchild of the east cost ports. Now we are able to make a name for ourselves and bring more business to the port and this part of the state.

RLH: There was a bill introduced by Senator Michael Lee during the last session, I believe, that had to do with removing the rocks near Zeke’s Island. I don’t know if this ever was made clear. I came up suddenly, and then there were several beach communities that were very opposed to this idea. They were concerned about unintended consequences, potential impacts that may not be predictable to their coastlines and infrastructure. What can you tell us about that bill, and how is it related to the business of the Ports Authority?

Representative Holly Grange: I am not familiar with that. I had one board meeting with Senator Michael Lee before he left to take over Senator Goolsby’s Senate seat, so I was not in on any of the discussions that had to do with that. I’m not familiar with this bill, so I really can’t have an opinion on it, but I will say that we have to be very careful, whatever we do off our coast because there are repercussions. There are unintended consequences sometimes when we try to alter Mother Nature.

RLH: When you think about the biggest priorities for coastal stakeholders, what are they? What will you bring with you to Raleigh?

Representative Holly Grange: Of course, a big concern for people in our region is beach renourishment. Dredging is always important. Being on the Ports Authority, our port up in Morehead City had a lot of shoaling issues that need to be addressed long-term, not necessarily short-term, we could dredge their continuously and we would still have the same issues. Erosion— You know, we’ve got a storm coming this weekend. Erosion is a big issue that other people in the state don’t— You know, the representatives from other parts of the state, they don’t understand that our focus has to be on that because that’s our livelihood down here.

RLH: So part of your job is to educate other legislators—

Representative Holly Grange: Right, and get them to look at the big picture.

RLH: When you’re talking about the big picture with fellow Raleigh legislators, are we talking about funding for shoreline stabilization?

Representative Holly Grange: It’s always about money, and there has to be a give and take. Of course, I have not actually done anything in Raleigh yet. I was sworn in on August 29th, and we’re not in session now. Everyone is running for reelection right now. And of course, I will be the most junior member of the delegation from our region, so I need to work with everybody else towards our common goals.

RLH: So of course there will be a learning curve. What have you learned so far? You were sworn in August 29th. Since then, what have you learned?

Representative Holly Grange: What I’ve done since August 29th is just try to— There are a lot of conferences going on now, different organizations. There are a lot of opportunities for me to get out and meet with constituents. I’m just trying to do that so I know what concerns them and I can focus on what I need to think about when I go to Raleigh.

RLH: So far, what are you hearing? Beach renourishment is a big one, we know.

Representative Holly Grange: Beach renourishment is always one. I get a lot of emails about current issues that are going on in the state, issues that we all face that we don’t really want to think about like texting and driving. That’s a big problem. Things like that, people will email me.

RLH: Is there anything to be done on that issue? I mean, texting and driving is illegal in North Carolina, is it not?

Representative Holly Grange: I don’t think there’s a law on that. I think that there has been talk of doing something about that, but I don’t think that we actually have anything on the books. We’re doing the research now so that I can focus on that, but I will say that that seems to be one of the things that I’ve heard most about since I got sworn in, from friends of mine and from people just emailing me.

RLH: You have talked about regulatory reform being important to you. That’s a sweeping category. There’s a lot that falls under that umbrella. What specifically are you talking about?

Representative Holly Grange: We need to make sure that the state is attractive for small business to be in business. As we know, most of our jobs come from small business. It’s not our big industries that we have in Wilmington or in the Wilmington area. So we need to make it attractive for small business to be in business. North Carolina tends to be a very regulatory climate. You know, there are a lot of regulations that people need to abide by. That is one of the committees that I’ve asked to be put on, the Regulatory Reform Committee.

RLH: And what are some of the restrictions that you know exist now that you think hamstring a business?

Representative Holly Grange: In the area of licensing, professional licensing, we license just about everything—with education requirements, with fees, with continuing education.

RLH: What’s an example of a profession or a business that requires a license now that you think shouldn’t?

Representative Holly Grange: Well, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t require licenses. I’m saying that we don’t make it easy to get a license. For instance, there’s a lot of effort and time required to get a barber’s license in North Carolina. There’s less time required to get a welder’s license. Some of it just seems a little out of whack. We have to have common sense on some of this stuff.

RLH: There is always criticism of the current and of the prevailing party, the majority. We’ve heard a lot of that this election season. What do you think has gone right in Raleigh recently?

Representative Holly Grange: I think that there are a lot of good things happening in North Carolina now. The fact that we have a surplus now, a rainy day fund, which would have been nice to have after the events of 2008. We have brought a lot of business to the state—I’m talking about Raleigh as a whole, the whole administration. We’ve improved teacher pay. We have a plan to finance more of our transportation endeavors. We have provided more funding for the ports, for instance. One of our big accomplishments this year has been to widen the turning basin so we can get larger ships into the Port of Wilmington, and we would not have been able to do that if we hadn’t received funding from Raleigh. North Carolina is becoming a great place to live. The tax structure, we’ve reduced taxes. There’s probably more to be done on all of those issues, but at least we’re moving in the right direction.

RLH: No doubt, Representative Grange, you’re getting emails about HB2.

Representative Holly Grange: Yes.

RLH: This has, of course, been on the national stage for quite a while, and North Carolina has seen some great losses, millions of dollars worth of losses in terms of events that were scheduled for North Carolina, athletic associations that would have held their championship events here. We’ve seen performers leave. We’ve seen businesses decline to expand. The list goes on. There are states now, I think there might be six, that have said travel to North Carolina cannot be a state-sponsored endeavor. All because of HB2. What do you think about that law?

Representative Holly Grange: I will say, first of all, that the emails that I get are about 50/50, for and against. I will ask people to actually read the law. On its face, it is not discriminatory. That being said, I will say that I have never ever, in any bathroom in my whole life—and that’s been a long time, I’m not a young woman—that I’ve never questioned the gender of anyone in the bathroom with me. Frankly, I don’t often even make eye contact with people I’m in the bathroom with. Also, I think that if someone wants to go in and hurt someone in a bathroom, they’re going to do that regardless of whether there’s a law saying that a man can’t go in a woman’s bathroom and a woman can’t go in a man’s bathroom.

RLH: So you’re saying [Charlotte’s] law was not opening the door for predators. That door was already open.  

Representative Holly Grange: Right. The intent of the law, if it’s privacy issues, that privacy that you feel that you should have in a bathroom, then the law covers that, but I think that the messaging on the law, perhaps the spin, it’s become something much more than it really is.

Sarah (email): Given the negative rhetoric and misinformation used against you during the Republican primary, do you have more empathy for transgender and other LGBT people who face increased harassment due to the passage of HB2?

Representative Holly Grange: I don’t know that they’re going to face increased harassment because of HB2, but I will say that I don’t think anybody should be harassed, whether they’re LGBT or transgender or for any reason whatsoever. People don’t deserve to be harassed. There are court cases pending that will probably address whether or not LGBT communities should have protections afforded by the Constitution, as far as a protected class or discrimination based on that, but that’s all in the courts now. And that will tell us what we need to do.

RLH: And that’s essentially what Governor Pat McCrory has said, is I’m going to step back and let the courts—

Representative Holly Grange: And unfortunately because it’s an election year, it’s become a political issue. So it’s one of those things where there’s no right answer at this point.

Sarah (email): Will you lead the effort to repeal HB2 among House Republicans and replace it with measures that will improve real safety, like providing funding to reduce the seven months’ processing time on rape kits at the state crime lab?

RLH: First of all, there are two parts of that. You’ve been critical of the state crime lab and the backlog there.

Representative Holly Grange: Yes, I have.

RLH: We’ll get to that in a second. Let’s talk first just about repeal. Is that on the table for you? Is that something you would address?

Representative Holly Grange: I would certainly think about it. You have to understand that I’m the low guy on the totem pole in the General Assembly right now. I’m the most junior legislator, but I will certainly work with others. There’s a saying in the military that perception becomes reality, and in this case with HB2, the perception has become the reality. Whether I think it’s discriminatory, which I don’t, it’s perceived as that. So perhaps it needs to be addressed, yes.

RLH: Now let’s talk about the state crime lab. You have been critical of Attorney General Roy Cooper’s handling of evidence in the crime lab. There was a backlog. The Department of Justice says that backlog has been dealt with and there is no longer a backlog.

Representative Holly Grange: There is a backlog. My problem with Attorney General Cooper saying that he took care of everything is that he hasn’t. There were times that the crime lab was telling jurisdictions, “Don’t send us rape kits unless you have a suspect” as opposed to going in and testing them. There was a rape kit in Fayetteville that was found that was seven years old in a refrigerator with everybody’s lunch. There is a backlog. WRAL actually did fact finding on that issue and determined that there are still backlogs up to two years, and it’s not just rape kits. It’s blood alcohol results for DWIs. It’s murder investigations. For any criminal investigation, there is a backlog. My problem with Attorney General Cooper saying he has taken care of it is that, number one, he has not. Number two, you cannot blame it on everybody else when you’ve been in the job for fifteen years.

RLH: I think Noelle Talley who is the spokeperson for the Department of Justice and works in Roy Cooper’s office, said, this so-called backlog is seven and a half months, but it’s everything. It’s an average of murder cases, rape cases, and, as you say, DWI.

Representative Holly Grange: Yes.

RLH: So that’s not reasonable?

Representative Holly Grange: There have been situations in recent years that— Keep in mind this backlog has gone on since before Roy Cooper was there, but he’s the owner now.

John (caller): I’m a former military guy myself. I was a commander of one of the Air Force bases overseas. I’m retired now. I loved her little quip about perception versus reality. My perception is that the infrastructure here in New Hanover County cannot support the increasing load the roads are being put on by the new developments, etc. We all get backed up at rush hour, as we all know. Hopefully it’s just a perception that doesn’t turn into reality, but my question to the representative is, is she concerned? If so, what can she do about it, if anything? What can the citizens of this beautiful place do about it because quite frankly, it really is getting overcrowded. All the new stuff that’s being built, all the apartments, they’re all going to have two cars in those apartments, and it’s just going to increase the traffic here.

Representative Holly Grange: Well, John, I think it is reality already. I live in the northern part of the county and try to avoid Market Street at all costs during certain times of the day. I, unfortunately, am not in charge of any of the permitting that’s done for all of these apartment complexes and housing developments that are being built. However, one of the things that I may have some impact on in Raleigh is perhaps some of the transportation funding. In Wilmington, we do have two of the top ten worst intersections in the state right now that are being addressed, and there are plans on the books to eventually extend Military Cutoff to the bypass, and then extend the bypass north to Hampstead. Those are years down the road. Those projects take years of planning and studies, and they have to purchase land, so nothing is going to be done in the near term, but you need to talk to your county commissioners and the zoning board. They’re the ones giving the permits for all of these developments.

RLH: When you consider the recent protests in Charlotte over the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by a police officer, do you think there have been enough of these events stacked up that there’s an issue and we need to look again at how we’re policing and what the relationship is between law enforcement and members of the community? Is there anything that now is on your plate to take to Raleigh regarding this issue?

Representative Holly Grange: I think that issue— There have been a lot of situations. There have been a lot of events, but they have to all be looked at individually. We have a national movement now. From what I understand, the people who were arrested in Charlotte were not even from North Carolina. They were from other parts of the country.

RLH: You’re talking about the protesters?

Representative Holly Grange: The protesters, the violence that occurred after Mr. [Scott’s] death, they’re from other parts of the country. This has become a national movement. Everything has been generalized, with the wrongdoing on the part of the police. That’s not fair, and it’s not true. But I do think there needs to be efforts for police officers to be able to interact with their community peacefully. There’s obviously a problem or there wouldn’t be so much uproar. So it does need to be addressed.

RLH: Do you think there’s a racial divide in North Carolina?

Representative Holly Grange: There seems to be in Charlotte. There’s probably a racial divide everywhere, unfortunately. That’s too bad. My background, growing up in a military environment, we never looked at race because everyone is thrown into the same bucket. It’s a shame that, yes, that exists, and yes, we need to work on that.

RLH: As we’ve done these CoastLine Candidate Interviews over the last several weeks, we’ve heard a lot from listeners about their concerns regarding offshore drilling, specifically as coastal stakeholders. When we look at the race for North Carolina Senate District 9, which is incumbent Senator Michael Lee versus Democratic challenger Andrew Barnhill. They have pretty polarized positions there. Senator Lee says he supports offshore exploration for natural gas. Andrew Barnhill says he opposes drilling offshore of any kind. Where do you stand on that issue?

Representative Holly Grange: I think we can safely explore offshore. From what I understand, though, there’s a moratorium on any type of progress in that direction off of our coast.

RLH: The mid-Atlantic has been taken out of consideration for the five-year plan, which is 2017-2022. That’s a few years away, and of course, it could be reconsidered. We’ve just been hearing so much from our listeners about this issue in the last several weeks.

Representative Holly Grange: I understand their concern. It’s not anything we need to deal with at this moment, but exploration can be done safely. I’m not saying we need to go beyond that, but we can’t even do that right now.

RLH: So it’s not an issue for the next term for you.

Representative Holly Grange: Yes. We’ll address it when it comes up.

Jim (caller): I’m a commercial truck driver. I also have a military background. Truck drivers see the world from a totally different perspective, riding down the interstates. What are your plans to help better educate motorists and to better ticket motorists who drive dangerously around trucks? Now for me, it is a major concern because I do transfer bulk hazardous materials, and we see people cut us off on a regular basis.  

Representative Holly Grange: Wow, I can only imagine what you see from that cab on the highways. Education is the best way to do it, to educate people at the DMV level and through media on the issues of driving around trucks. I moved to North Carolina from the Midwest where there is a lot of truck traffic on the road and have spent a lot of time on I-95, where things in Virginia get stopped on a dime with truck accidents. It’s awareness. I’m not sure that ticketing will work, but I think it needs to be a broader, public service program to educate people on how to maneuver around trucks.

RLH: As you know, film incentives were a big deal for this area. Since the structure of the incentive has changed from a tax rebate to a grant fund, we’ve watched all kinds of small businesses leave this area. This was one of the rare issues where most of the local delegation was of one mind on. There were a couple of outliers, including your predecessor, Rick Catlin. Where do you stand on film incentives?

Representative Holly Grange: The old system is gone. We have the grant program now. Probably the rest of the delegation would agree with me that we need to try to beef up the pot of grant money. I do agree that it’s more beneficial for us to have long-term projects in our area as opposed to short-term projects.

RLH: Such as TV series.

Representative Holly Grange: Yes, a TV series is going to provide more for our community than Iron Man. And that’s true. TV series that have been here in the past are still providing revenue to this area because of tourism, coming to see where One Tree Hill was filmed and Dawson’s Creek and this, that, and the other. The neat thing that will help our cause is that the grant money is not just focusing on southeastern North Carolina; there are other parts of the state that are getting the grant money now for other projects, and that will help us get more backers, more people in the General Assembly who are for us beefing up that pot of money.  

RLH: Has part of this been a learning curve for members of the General Assembly who are not in areas where there’s a lot of film activity?

Representative Holly Grange: I think lawmakers can be very territorial. If it’s not something that’s not going to benefit their district or their area, they’re not going to support it, especially if it involves money.

RLH: What do you think needs to change in North Carolina where gun laws are concerned? Do we have it right?

Representative Holly Grange: I think we do. We have a permitting process for handguns where people have to go through a background check with their county sheriff. We have training programs that are required if you decide you want to carry a concealed firearm, and that involves actually shooting the firearm. A funny thing is Virginia now won’t give reciprocity to North Carolina and other states now because of training requirements, but I have a Virginia concealed carry permit that I got online.

RLH: You had to demonstrate nothing.

Representative Holly Grange: I had to take an online course and send them a certificate and pay a fee. Here, I’m actually a concealed carry instructor in North Carolina. Not only did I have to go through training, I had to go through other firearm training in order to get that credential. But to get a concealed carry in North Carolina, you have to prove that you can shoot.

RLH: So if I want to get a concealed carry permit then, what do I need to do in North Carolina?

Representative Holly Grange: You would need to take a concealed carry course and then you’d have to go through the process of registering your concealed carry permit with your county sheriff’s office.

RLH: What kind of check will the sheriff’s county do?

Representative Holly Grange: They will require background checks, mental health record checks. It varies by county to county. New Hanover County, though, has a very extensive procedure. It’s six pages of form that you have to fill out and things you need to provide in order to get your concealed carry. And it’s not something you get immediately. It’s something that goes through a process, and it can be some months before you actually receive your permit.

RLH: We hear so much about the polarization of the electorate in this country. We’ve heard so much about the divided state of North Carolina. Part of that, as we’ve heard from a political scientist, is the influx of people from other places who tend to come in with more moderate views. We’ve heard that it’s urban versus rural. But however you slice it, there is something of a polarization here. Do you think that’s an issue? Is that a healthy exchange of ideas or is there a level of vitriol creeping into that?

Representative Holly Grange: I hope there’s not a level of vitriol creeping into that, but there probably is. We are very polarized, and the population moving into North Carolina and particularly this part of the state are from the northeast and their views are more moderate—not necessarily fiscally, but definitely socially more moderate, and that causes polarization. That exists.

RLH: How will your voice in Raleigh contribute to the tone, whatever that is?

Representative Holly Grange: I have to look at what my constituents are telling me. You know, I have a diverse constituency with respect to a lot of issues, and I need to listen to them. I think it’s just listening to people, hearing people out, and looking at both sides of an issue before I choose a side.

RLH: It’s 2018. You are wrapping up your first term in elected office. What’s different in North Carolina? What happened in Raleigh during that two-year term? What are you proud of?

Representative Holly Grange: It depends. It depends on who is elected governor. It depends on whether or not the North Carolina House remains a super majority.

RLH: But what did you do?

Representative Holly Grange: I would like to say that I’ve made positive strides for people of this part of the state. I would also like to hope that people think I’m a team player. I’m a very loyal person, so my constituents hopefully can count on that, that I will be loyal to them, but I am a team player.

RLH: So give us one specific positive stride that you made for this region in that first term.

Representative Holly Grange: Helping to bring business to this area. Anything that I can do to help bring business to this area so we can get jobs on all levels, good paying jobs, making this area attractive to new business. Better education. Transportation issues. Crime. Things like that. 

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Editor's Note: There is a law against texting while driving in North Carolina. The violation is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor.