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7th Congressional District

Former state legislator and current Congressional incumbent Rouzer opposes Obamacare. Newcomer Ward admits it’s not perfect, “but neither is having 20 million Americans uninsured.”

By Greg Barnes

David Rouzer, Republican from Four Oaks

Age: 48

Political experience: Rouzer served in the state Senate from 2009 to 2013. He then ran for Congress and narrowly lost before being elected to the U.S. House in 2015. He served as a senior staffer for former U.S. Sens. Jesse Helms and Elizabeth Dole.

Education/Personal: Rouzer attended N.C. State University, where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business management, agricultural economics and chemistry. Rouzer owns the Rouzer Co. and the Warehouse Distribution. He has worked at N.C. State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Campaign contributions: As of June 30, Rouzer had raised $1,193,489 for his campaign, spent $660,688 and had $1,371,726 on hand, according to OpenSecrets.org.

Chris Ward, Democrat from Tabor City

Age: 47

Political experience: None

Education/Personal: Ward graduated from N.C. State University, where he studied nuclear engineering. He then went to work for the pharmaceutical industry before returning to school and earning a master’s from Pfeiffer University. He now works to bring new drug products to market in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries and owns a small real estate business.

Campaign contributions: As of June 30, Ward had raised $16,260 for his campaign, spent $4,119 and had $7,249 on hand, according to OpenSecrets.org.

Affordable Care Act

Rouzer believes the nation’s health care system must be reformed.

“Even before Obamacare, we had too much government intervention and control — the very reason why health care costs continue to increase at exponential rates,” Rouzer said on his website. “This is one of the primary threats to long-term economic growth in this country.”

In 2017, Rouzer co-sponsored a bill that would do away with the Affordable Care Act.

Ward supports the Affordable Care Act.

“The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but neither is having 20 million Americans uninsured,” Ward told NC Health News in an email. “The ACA provides protections for preexisting conditions and young people up to age 26 can stay on their parents’ plan. The Trump administration has offered no alternative. I support the ACA. I think one day we will look upon it like we now do Social Security and Medicare.”

Reproductive health

Last year, Rouzer supported a bill that would establish a new criminal offense for performing or attempting to perform an abortion if the fetus is 20 weeks old or more.

In 2015, Rouzer voted on a bill to defund Planned Parenthood.

“It’s wrong for taxpayers, many of whom are opposed to killing unborn babies, to be forced to provide their tax dollars to help fund these horrific practices,” Rouzer said on his website.

Ward is pro-choice.

“I am for a woman’s right to choose,” he told NC Health News.

Medicaid expansion

In 2017, Rouzer was among the state’s Republican congressmen who signed a letter urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to reject Gov. Roy Cooper’s stated intent to expand Medicare, which would provide coverage to an estimated 500,000 residents who do not qualify for the coverage or the federal Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. The expansion has never taken place.

Ward supports Medicaid expansion.

“NC is one of 12 states that has decided not to expand Medicaid while 39 others have. This expansion will provide much needed coverage to over half a million North Carolinians,” Ward said in his email to NC Health News said.

Mask/no mask

On his website, Rouzer said it is inevitable that, as the coronavirus moves through the population, more infections and spikes will occur. The key, he said, is to keep the spread at a manageable rate.

“We must do our part though to keep the inevitable spikes as low as possible by wearing a mask when around other people, washing our hands frequently, and being conscientious about social distancing while we go about our daily lives,” Rouzer said on his website.

Ward also believes wearing a face mask is important during the pandemic.

“I know that a lot of people feel like their rights are being trampled upon, but mask wearing is for the greater good and the protection of other people,” Ward said. “Wear a mask, prevent the spread of COVID.”

Opioid crisis

In 2018, Rouzer voted for the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act.

“Opioid addiction is a horrific problem for North Carolina and the rest of the country.  Unfortunately, no community is immune to this epidemic,” Rouzer said on his website.

“This legislation, which was approved by the House, seeks to combat the opioid crisis by advancing treatment and recovery initiatives, improving prevention, protecting our communities, and bolstering our efforts to fight deadly illicit synthetic drugs, like Fentanyl, which is responsible for countless overdoses and deaths in the 7th District.”

Ward said more needs to be done to combat the opioid epidemic.

“Over 100 people die each day from opioid overdoses. This has to stop. These are highly addictive drugs and we have to curb this addiction,” he told NC Health News.