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Hege challenges Kidwell in Republican primary for NC House District 79 seat

Edwin Hege (left) and Keith Kidwell.

In the Republican primary race for a reconfigured NC House District 79, Edwin Hege challenges incumbent Keith Kidwell for a seat that now represents the southern part of Dare County, with the boundary line running through Kill Devil Hills.

Kidwell, who resides in Chocowinity, is a businessman and former Beaufort County GOP Chairman and Treasurer of the Third Congressional District. Elected to his seat at NC House in 2018, he has one child and four grandchildren.

Hege, of New Bern, spent 30 years with the City of Lexington (NC) Fire Department before retiring. Married to his current wife since 1997, his family includes four children, seven grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

To help voters better gauge their choices, The Voice has emailed a series of questions to local candidates facing primary contests to be decided on May 17. Candidates in this race have responded and those responses are included below. (Some answers may be edited for length.)

The Voice asked candidates to identify the issues that they believe are of most concern to voters in their constituency.

Edwin Hege: “The issues of most concern for counties in the district are rapid inflation, especially fuel, food, fertilizer and seeds. Food affects everyone, fuel, fertilizer and seeds affect our farmers who make up more than half of the district’s gross income. This is followed by timber in second place and commercial fishing in third place, each requiring large amounts of fuel.

Other major problems are excessive regulations or outright attempts to eliminate fishing as a commercial enterprise. Another big problem, and one that I think will only get worse from the county commissioners meetings I have attended, is property taxes. With inflation and the necessary increase in services, most counties will see an increase in taxes or a reduction in services. This district already has some of the highest taxes in the state.

Keith Kidwell:Election integrity and security. The government interferes in their lives and businesses. Crime is out of control. We need to send more funds, not less, to law enforcement [to] keep criminals off the streets.

The contestants were also asked to discuss the main differences between them and their opponent.

Keith Kidwell“I’m in Raleigh doing what I was sent to do. My track record has been taking on the tough challenges and solving them. I have been called “the conservative conscience of NC House” by Rep. Dean Arp. Awarded by the American Conservative Union each year I served. Scored 100% with Civitas for all three years, winning the NC Freedom Award each year. I am the only member of the General Assembly to have obtained three successive marks of 100%.”

Edwin Hege: “My background is probably the biggest difference between me and my opponent. I’ve lived my entire life in NC. My chosen career started as a life of public service with the Lexington City Fire Department in 1978 and I retired as a Captain in 2008 for 30 years of continuous service.Also during this same period I was a member/volunteer of the North Lexington Triangle Fire Department and was the elected Chief service for 14 years.

“I have always considered myself very close to the working class. Often, alongside my career in the fire service, I have had many other part-time jobs, including house painter, mechanic, machinist, heating and air installer, farmer, grading contractor, and fabricator. welding. The life experiences I have gained through… interaction when people go through perhaps the most upsetting events (from loss of home and sometimes loss of loved ones) have given me a feeling compassion to understand their situation.

“Furthermore, my campaign was financed mainly by myself and my wife, and a few other small donors. This situation allows me to be a ‘plus for the common man’ in the neighborhood because I am not indebted to any big Donor I am not “owned” by anyone.

Candidates were asked if they wanted to list any endorsements they had received during the campaign.

Edwin Hege:The only endorsements came from individuals saying, “I’ll vote for you.” I was supported by Billie Creech, a former state representative and big supporter of my campaign. I was also endorsed by Sam Watford, State House District 80 rep. Grassroots NC gave me a 100% 4 star rating, as did my opponent, but gave him the endorsement because he is the incumbent.

Keith Kidwell:Approved by the NRA and Grass Roots NC.

Candidates were asked to share something about themselves that voters probably don’t know, but should know.

Keith Kidwell:I met the girl who would become my wife when I was four years old. I married the girl next door. We love hiking, camping and fishing. I have traveled three times across the United States. Once in 1976 in a mini-tent, then in 1999 with my children, then in 2018 with my wife, my son, my daughter-in-law and my four grandchildren. All in a 24 foot travel trailer and 8 passenger expedition. What a great adventure.”

Edwin Hege: “I became a widower at the beginning of 1996, leaving me with two very young children. By the grace of God, with the help of family, grandparents and friends, my children and I recovered and did well. I remarried a year later and created a loving blended family. With the help of my beautiful wife, all of my children grew up in a Christian home, went on to build successful lives, and gave me wonderful grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I have truly been blessed.

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