N.C. House of Representatives District 35: Duane Cutlip

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Name: Duane Cutlip
Party: Republican
Occupation: Self-employed, Insurance Sales
Years in District: Since redistricting. I was in a different district prior to redistricting. I have lived in this area since ’04.
Endorsements: Claude Pope, Phil Matthews, Rep. Marilyn Avila, Knightdale and Rolesville mayors
Amendment 1: For. Amendment 1 doesn’t do anything to infringe upon personal contracts.

What do you think is the central issue for this election?

I think the central issue for North Carolinians is jobs and economy… I think you will find the issues that dovetail into that such as illegal immigration. [It’s] not necessarily something you see in the paper everyday, but certainly factors into jobs. The last credible survey that I saw regarding illegal immigration assumed there were about 400 or 500 thousand or more just in North Carolina. As part of our economic situation, they collect a lot of the public services. We are constantly having debate about their education… There are both a lot of jobs and a lot of economic impact from illegals. We are the highest tax state in the southeast. You can go to any of our neighbors and buy gas cheaper. We have higher marginal rates when it comes to personal corporate income taxes.

What do you think is the central issue for your district?

Again, I think jobs and the economy and such the elephant in the room. I think there are also issues in regards to education and opportunity. I think our government has betrayed the trust of the people in many ways. People are looking for a government that will be responsible. We are as a state spending our children into debt, just as much as it is being done on the federal level. Because our government has a smattering of all different walks of life, from agriculture as you go east, to business oriented and entrepreneurial, as you get closer into the areas of Raleigh and Wake Forest and so forth. I think people are concerned that the opportunities that their children will have are not the same opportunities that they had.

Why do you think you constituents should elect you?

I’ve got another Republican in the race who is a fine individual and who has served us on the school board. He has served in the Wake Forest town council. He obviously has political experience. I don’t think people are necessarily looking to political experience to be the answer. I think sort of the gorilla in the room here is that my opponent would be giving up a school board seat. Of course this is a Republican primary, so Republicans are concerned about having representation across the board. If we give up the school board seat, Democrats are in the majority and would get to appoint a replacement. But I think probably the broader issue is the way in which we may represent the people of District 35. My opponent does have political experience. Some times that is an advantage, but many times that lends itself to a feeling of political entitlement. People get pulled into the system. They feel that they are owed this seat or that seat. I’m not necessarily saying this about my opponent. It’s just the way things happen when people are pulled into the political system. They become political opportunists. It’s the next rung on the ladder. ‘Can I get re-elected?’ ‘Can I get the next best seat?’ I have not been elected to public office. I do not want to make the political realm my career… This is an opportunity for me to serve.

What do you think are the biggest accomplishments and the biggest failures in the N.C. House of Representatives during the past two years?

A lot of the time these things take a long time to manifest themselves. It’s difficult to come out and say this has been a success, because a lot of the things that they have done have not necessarily had a chance to come out and be proven a success yet. And other things that they may have done wrong have not had a chance to be proven a failure.

One of the things I appreciate the most about the current legislature is they campaigned with certain promises—now you may or may not agree with the things they set out to do—but I think they worked very hard to do the things they set out to do. And that’s a refreshing change in politics to simply have politicians do what they say they are going to do. I have a lot more respect for somebody if I don’t believe in what they’re doing but they say, ‘look, here are the things I’m going to go out and do,’ and they do them. At least you know what you’re getting, as opposed to somebody whose going to put their fingers in the wind and you don’t really know what it is they are trying to accomplish and they’ll pander to you one minute to the next and you just don’t know. As far as individual issues, I think the regulatory reform and some of the things they did in dealing with the budget, dealing with the short fall—I think those are all good things for North Carolina that will manifest themselves in a positive way.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I’m self-employed so I work a great deal. When I’m not working of late, I spend my time talking to people about politics, [which is] a very disdainful thing to do. Before I was married 15 years ago, I used to golf a couple of times a week, but I haven’t touched a club more than three times since I’ve been married. I try to be involved in community and church and work and that takes most of my time. [Golf] is the one I miss.

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