Editor’s note: The questionnaires are printed in the candidate’s words as submitted. Candidates for the 3rd Congressional District seat include 17 Republicans, six Democrats, two Libertarians and one with the Constitution Party. Primary elections will be held on April 30.
Name: Richard Bew
City of birth: Atlantic City, NJ
Current city of residence: Newport, NC
Political party: Democratic
Current title and/or job: Colonel, USMC, Retired
Best way for voters to contact you: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why are you running?
I’ve watched Washington abandon our leadership in the world. They've suddenly become afraid of the most vulnerable, leaving them behind. They're favoring the mega-wealthy over average Americans, handing them tax breaks, increasing the deficit, making healthcare less accessible and affordable, and passing the bill to our grandchildren. My own grandson was born with cerebral palsy, but because of our access to strong military healthcare, he is a healthy happy 4 year old kid today. I’ll fight to make sure other families have the same opportunity.
I’ve spent my entire adult life serving in the Marines, and I've never been a politician. But I simply cannot walk away while our nation is in such turmoil.
If elected, what would you do to stay transparent as an elected official?
I pledged on day one of my campaign that I would not accept corporate PAC money to fund my campaign. Eastern Carolina needs to know that their congressman can’t be bought off by special interests. If I am lucky enough to continue to serve, I will write a weekly summary – from me, not my staff – to constituents. I’d post it on my site. I will be honest about the successes and challenges we face in advancing their priorities. But most importantly, I will come, in person, to every county, multiple times per year. There is nothing like personally speaking with people and hearing about their concerns and what they need to prosper.
How would you help address budget constraints on Eastern North Carolina counties following the devastation of Hurricane Florence?
Like many Eastern Carolinians, I’m still renovating and dealing with storm damage from Hurricane Florence today. Federal disaster assistance tends to be inadequate and often lacks follow-through. It often appears to be designed more for political top-cover rather than for substantive healing and repair. We deserve sustained assessment and continued resources to heal our communities. But most importantly, we can’t just keep on focusing on repair. As a Marine Corps veteran of 29 years, I know the military has already accepted the fact that the climate is changing. It is having a real impact. We need meaningful action on climate change and federal mitigation efforts for those areas most affected.
How would your legislative agenda reconcile with President Donald J. Trump and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi?
Simple. If a proposal is in the interest of Eastern NC, then I am all-in. If it is not, I will oppose it as forcefully as possible and am willing to bear the political consequences. I will work with anyone to advance the interests of Eastern Carolinians, just like I worked with both Republicans and Democrats on behalf of our Military while working for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
While in office, how will you demonstrate your commitment to supporting the military?
I’m a 29 year veteran of the US Marine Corps. I’ve done 8 combat tours and finished my final tour at the most senior levels of military working as the Senior Legislative Aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I was the first (and only) candidate to oppose the President (see attached op-ed) taking billions from military construction, Camp Lejeune, and Cherry Point. With my experience in the military, particularly in my legislative roll with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and three Commandants, I have already advanced more legislative issues for the military than every one of the 25 other candidates on the ballot put together.
Is reducing the national deficit important to you? How would you balance the budget?
We must reduce the deficit – it is a carried risk that passes the bill to our children and grandchildren. However, it will be a long-term effort, and requires several steps. First, we need to get big money out of politics: it incentivizes wasteful and deficit spending. We have to take back the handouts given to the mega-rich. And we must dramatically increase incentives to recruit, retain, and professionally develop the highest quality congressional staff in order to reduce the influence of lobbyists and corporations.
What is your top legislative priority if elected?
If there’s one thing I learned in my seven years working with congress, and three serving under the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, you must advance your interests on multiple fronts, not just a singular issue. One sure way to fail is to develop only one way to succeed. My priority will always be to look out for the variety of interests that impact Eastern Carolina. That’s why I’m running to protect our seniors and Medicare, to expand healthcare access and make it more affordable, fight for better education funding and before and after school programs, and oppose offshore drilling and seismic blasting.
What is your vision for comprehensive immigration reform?
We are a nation of immigrants, it's our greatest strength. My grandfather was the first in my family to immigrate here. He made his living as a butcher, I still have his butcher block in my kitchen today. However, Washington has failed us on this issue, our current immigration system is broken. We need a strong legal immigration system, improved paths to legal citizenship (particularly for those serving in our military), and we need to stop the immoral process of family separation at the border.