On Nov. 6, Pitt County voters will cast ballots in this year’s general election. Today, The Daily Reflector offers its editorial board recommendation in two Council of State races.
Despite tremendous economic growth in education and health care in Pitt County, many families continue the centuries-old tradition of farming, preserving this community’s agriculture history for generations to come. Therefore, the oversight of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has an immediate impact on the lives of hundreds here and thousands throughout the region.
Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, a Republican, takes on Democrat Walter Smith in his bid for a third term in office.
Smith, 58, is a poultry farmer from Yadkin County who also worked as a USDA Farm Service Agency official. He desires better infrastructure for rural communities that will help North Carolina sell its products to markets around the world. Smith also desires a larger investment in agriculture programs through community colleges and cultivating a greater appreciation for farming among the state’s youth.
Troxler, 60, is a tobacco farmer originally from Browns Summit. In his eight years at the helm, the department has grown significantly and its emphasis on food safety is laudable. Troxler contends that on his watch the department has increased markets for North Carolina products and expanded the state’s $70 billion agriculture industry.
The record bears that out and should compel voters to award Troxler another term.
Insurance rates may be something that few people spend considerable time contemplating, but they are critical given the frequency of tropical weather and the impact on homeowners along the coast. Insurance commissioner is not an elected position in many states, but in North Carolina, the position holds significant influence.
Goodwin, 45, is the Democratic incumbent who was elected four years ago after serving eight years in the N.C. House. He has successfully sparred with insurance companies in an effort to keep rates low for the state’s motorists, though housing rates may increase along the coast due to legislation passed by the General Assembly.
Causey, 62, is the Republican challenger who worked as an insurance agent for 30 years. He contends that the state needs greater competition among insurers to provide more competitive rates for state residents, claiming Goodwin is the latest member of a “good old boy” network controlling the department.
That charge may be true of his predecessors, but Goodwin has proven to be the type of dedicated, thoughtful public servant North Carolina should appreciate. Voters should lend him their support.