RUTHERFORD COUNTY, NC — While there has been no public sighting of Ralph Hise recently, incumbent in the Senate 47 race, in Rutherford County, his opponent David Wheeler fielded questions from the public Tuesday night. The audience asked real questions, even tough ones, unlike the vetted Chamber of Commerce questions soft-pedaled at each of the local meetings.
Wheeler introduced himself as a successful businessman from Spruce Pine, NC. He immediately addressed the Word of Faith Fellowship trespassing charges and vowed to take it to the Supreme Court along with the others charged if he had to. Wheeler questioned why only 3 people out of the group were charged and why they were singled out. Wheeler expressed his dismay that he may have been set up- possibly by his opponent. The WoFF trespassing charges will be held Sept. 28, 2018 in Rutherford County.
DeWitt Prince and Butch Malta, both associated with WoFF, were singled out in the audience. Prince spoke up about the treatment centers in Black Mountain where he personally transports addicts for treatment when the subject of opioid and other substance addiction was brought up. Jerry Wease, a mental health professional and substance abuse counselor, discussed the issues with finding available Medicaid beds at midnight when some addicts need it.
“The way to treat addicts is not jail.” said Wheeler. “We need to squash the war on the poor.” Wheeler called for treatment centers in our own county.
Education and the status of the Education Lottery Funds were brought up by Mark Brown. According to Brown, the Lottery was passed as a construction fund for schools and has since been robbed for other uses. Wheeler supported Lottery use for education as it was originally intended.
Wheeler responded he was not in favor of arming teachers in our schools. However, he supported the presence of School Resource Officers there.
Connie Newton, who had been watching the Town Hall forum on Facebook live, came down to the Cool Springs auditorium to clarify the question she had asked online. Newton asked if there could be a determined ration between CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants) and their patients. Newton has experienced a shortage of help in nursing homes. Wheeler promised to look at what could be done.
A big supporter of community colleges, Wheeler proposed an entrepreneurial center, an incubator, for new businesses. In the rural areas, it is small business that brings jobs to the counties.
When WoFF was brought up again by a young lady questioning the openness of the church, Wheeler offered to dialogue. DeWitt Prince in the conversation offered to set up another meeting if it could be arranged.
Wheeler said if he was elected he would seek bi-partisan solutions and be a true representative for the people. He pointed out he would work for the people and not for self interest. Using Ralph Hise as an example, Hise sponsored a special bill that allows the school superintendent to hire family.
In closing, Wheeler asked for the people’s vote to elect him to the Senate District 47 seat.