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U.S. Congress | N.C. 7th district candidiate information

Mike McIntyre

Party | Democrat

Age | 54

Address | P.O. Box 1, Lumberton, N.C.

Occupation | U.S. Congressman 1997-present; attorney

Education | Juris Doctorate and undergraduate degree, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Political experience | U.S. Congress, 13 years

Civic involvement | legislative co-chairman and board of directors, Lumberton Area Chamber of Commerce; president, Lumberton Economic Advancement for Downtown, Inc.; charter member, N.C. Commission on Children and Youth; charter member, N.C. Commission on the Family; school volunteer of the year; Governor's Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service; Rotary Club; PTA; coach 3 All-American Drug-Free youth sports team

Military | No

E-mail/website | www.mikeworksforme.com

Ilario Pantano

Party | Republican

Age | 39

Address | Wilmington, N.C.

Occupation | former U.S. Marine; book author

Education | BA in economics, New York University; graduate fellow, Institute of World Politics; studies at Cape Fear and Coastal Carolina community colleges

Political experience | none

Civic involvement | Grace Baptist Church, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Step-Up for Soldiers, Wounded Warriors and Red Cross.

Military | U.S. Marine

E-mail/website | www.pantanoforcongress.com

The candidates answer our questions

Q. | Why are you a Democrat?

McIntyre | I support values that will keep Social Security and Medicare solvent and improve our education and health care system. Fighting for our families and our future has always been my commitment in Congress, so that our values are reflected in practical ways that positively affect our quality of life in Southeastern North Carolina. I am also focused on protecting our great nation, honoring our veterans, helping our farm families and preserving our precious coast. Additionally, helping senior citizens and our children and strengthening our fire, rescue and law enforcement with the resources they need are priorities. And, most importantly, economic development and jobs have always been at the forefront of my work.

Q. | Why are you a Republican?

Pantano | I am a Republican because I feel like the platform of the Republican Party is closely aligned with my conservative beliefs. I believe in the Republican principles of a small government with lower taxes, free markets, a strong national defense and the preservation of traditional values. I am a strong Constitutional conservative who believes that our country needs to return to a limited federal government based on the principles and ideals outlined by our founding fathers in our Constitution.

Q. | If you are elected, what will be your No. 1 priority for the district and what's the chance you can achieve it?

McIntyre | Jobs. From a short-term perspective, I am working to stimulate the economy by saving current jobs, assisting our small businesses, establishing retraining initiatives and increasing access to funding opportunities. Specifically, I established the Southeast Crescent Regional Economic Development Commission which will put a federal focus on job training, entrepreneurship, infrastructure, health care and education and the Microenterprise & Rural Entrepreneur Program that I helped enact so small business can obtain incentives to save and create jobs. My long-term outlook puts a focus on the "jobs of tomorrow" while supporting "Make it in America" initiatives that will get our manufacturing base back to work. In addition, I support repealing NAFTA and paying down our debt.

Pantano | My No. 1 priority will be jump-starting the economy. Currently, there are 48,000 people unemployed in the district, and our area has been recognized by Moody's as one of the areas in our nation most likely to face a double-dip recession. The stimulus that my opponent voted for and still supports has failed us and only been a waste of $787 billion. It has done nothing to create real private-sector jobs in the 7th District. The first step is to recognize that it is the private sector, not the government, that creates jobs. Increased government spending and overregulation kills jobs. Then we need to prevent the looming tax hike, by making the existing tax cuts permanent. According to economists, permanently repealing the Death Tax, alone, could create over 1.5 million jobs nationwide.

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