CoastLine: NC House District 20 Candidate Forum

Sep 30, 2014

At a Candidate Forum in WHQR’s M.C. Erny Gallery Monday night, a partnership of HQR News and WWAY Newschannel 3, Republican Incumbent Rick Catlin and Democratic Challenger Betsy Jordan told voters that they both value public education, the environment, and the film industry. 

North Carolina House District 20 encompasses much of the northern portion of New Hanover County.  It represents about 39% of the County population – and it’s about 75% white, 17% African-American, and 8% Hispanic.  It stretches to the northern border with Pender County and includes part of Castle Hayne.  

The candidates in alphabetical order: 

Rick Catlin is the Republican Incumbent.  He’s completing his first term in the State House as Majority Freshman Leader.  He chairs the Environmental Regulatory Reform Committee and is Vice Chair of the Environment Committee.  He’s also a member of a dozen other legislative committees – including Commerce and Job Development, the Commerce subcommittee on Energy and Emerging Markets, Appropriations, Regulatory Reform, and Environment.  He’s the Chairman of the Foreign Trade Promotion Council.  He served on the New Hanover County Commission and is President and Owner of Catlin Engineers and Scientists.  And he’s been married to Janice for 40 years.  They have two children, two grandchildren, and two dogs.  

Betsy Jordan is the Democratic Challenger.  She was born and raised in Mount Gilead, N.C. Her father, Robert Jordan, was a state senator from 1976-1984, and he was Lt. Governor from 1984-1988.  Ms. Jordan says she was heavily influenced by her family’s tradition of public service.  As a young lady, Ms. Jordan received the Girl Scout’s First Class Award, was captain of her high school basketball team, received a Morehead Scholarship nomination, and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BA in Business Administration. She is a director of Jordan Lumber, a life/business coach, a licensed real estate agent, and she has served on the Governor’s Film Council for twelve years.

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Both agree film is an important economic driver for southeastern North Carolina.  But Representative Rick Catlin, who has been vocal in his opposition to incentives in general and proposed a controversial bill last year that would have fundamentally re-structured the film program, says he was hoping for the chance to study the issue further.

"I think most people don’t know I voted to extend the film credits.  I voted for the Davis Amendment so that we would have time to find a sustainable solution.  It is not perceived as a benefit to all representatives and all senators because they live in different parts.  So I understand the importance to our area."

Betsy Jordan, who served on the Governor’s Film Council for twelve years, says when Catlin proposed his bill in 2013, she visited his office – convinced he didn’t understand the benefits of the industry. 

"I obviously believe in economic incentives and I believe that this incentive benefits not just this area – but it benefits all the areas where films are produced and it creates more revenue for the state.  And in that sense, we’re looking for revenue producers.  We’re not looking for, you know, to take money out of the system."

Voter registration ends October 10th.   

This Forum featuring House District 20 will air in its entirety Wednesday, October 1st at noon on CoastLine as part of our Election Series on HQR News 91.3 FM.