Representative Susi Hamilton, a Democrat, is facing Republican challenger Louis Harmati in the race to represent House District 18. At a Candidate Forum in the WHQR Gallery last night, WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports that it was difficult to find points on which Hamilton and Harmati disagreed.
Cacky Catlett of WWAY asked the two politicians for their views on film incentives – in light of the recent decision of one big production to go to Cleveland.
“Being Hollywood East, we’ve attracted many films over the years. But this year we lost out on ‘Captain America’. What would you do to ensure our area continues to attract film companies?”
“We lost out to ‘Captain America’ because we were too busy.”
That’s Representative Susi Hamilton, the Democratic Incumbent. She says scheduling issues with Screen Gems cropped up after Robert Downey, Jr.’s injury on the set of “Iron Man 3” slowed production.
“The way to keep film in the state of North Carolina going like it’s been going is to continue the tax benefit, the incentive, and investment in the film industry in the state.”
While a number of Republicans in the state legislature talk about doing away with incentives as part of their upcoming work on tax reform, Republican Louis Harmati says it took him a while – but he believes in their value.
"Well, I kind of agree with Susi. I said that during the last debate we had together is that I’m a thousand percent for incentives.”
A closer look at what Harmati calls the dire economic situation in the state changed his opinion.
Then, Harmati took Hamilton to task for not doing enough to bring large companies such as Caterpillar and Continental Tire to the area.
“It really upset me. And I’d like to ask Susi, you know, that question. I know it was not her fault. I’d like to find out why the Governor and the Legislature dropped the ball on this thing when it was so critical to these people and especially to Brunswick County… But if Louis Harmati was in the Legislature during that time, I would've fought... I would have burned a hole in the desks. I would have fought like hell.”