Two seek area Senate seat

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Albert Pacer.jpg

Staff Writer

Monday, October 22, 2018

Two candidates are running to become the next person to represent Nash County in the newly-aligned state Senate District 11.

State Sen. Rick Horner, R-Nash, faces Albert Pacer, a Democrat from Johnston County. District 11 now covers all of Nash County and a portion of Johnston County.

Horner said Nash County residents should vote for him because he understands the issues affecting the county — particularly in education, since he served 14 years on the Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education.

“We worked together to build about $120 million-plus in new schools facilities without a tax increase — that’s a big deal,” Horner said. “I think I have a pretty good working relationship with county leadership and have always tried to be responsive to their needs. I’ve always put my heart into working for our county and I hope Nash County voters will continue to have confidence in me.”

Most of Pacer's employment has been as a public servant including service in the U.S. Army, as a legislative aide in the New York State Assembly and a budget director for Albany County in New York, among other positions.

Horner worked in the securities industry as a financial advisor for 20 years. The past nine years of his career have been spent in commercial insurance, specializing in agri-business and education.

Pacer said he will bring honesty, integrity and ethical behavior to the office.

“The greater than necessary devastation brought about by Hurricanes Mathew and Florence demonstrated how out of touch the current leadership is in the General Assembly,” Pacer said. “I will be responsive to the citizens of the district, not an ideologically driven leadership in the Senate catering to the rich and powerful. I will make representative government a reality, not just rhetoric, for Nash County.”

Horner said he supports low taxes and focusing on making government more efficient.

“I'm pro-family, pro-life and pro-Second Amendment,” he said.

Horner said it's been a long time since Nash County has had the representation in Raleigh with the same level of understanding of Nash County's needs as he does.

“More importantly, I have always tried to listen to both sides of the issues,” Horner said. “I don’t know of anyone here who doesn’t feel free to reach out to me with their concerns.”

Pacer holds a bachelor's degree in American history and two master's degrees in political science and public administration.

Horner, a graduate of Southern Nash High School, received a bachelor's degree in business administration from East Carolina University. He said most of his college was paid for by employment in Wilson's tobacco warehouses.

Pacer said the most important issue facing North Carolina today is the lack of honesty in Senate leadership.

“Policies are imposed from the top down rather than coming from the actual needs of constituents,” Pacer said. “I have spent a lifetime studying and working for the public interest. I can help by electing a leadership that restores the legislative process to what it is supposed to be in North Carolina — representing the people.”

Horner said he doesn’t believe North Carolina has one “most important” issue.

“Our state is doing a lot of things right,” Horner said. “We have a number of issues that are very important to the folks they affect but overall, this state is headed in the right direction — despite the naysayers.”

Horner said the proof is that the state is always ranked somewhere between No. 4 and No. 8 on the list of fastest-growing states in the country.

“Apparently, compared to other states North Carolina is where people want to live,” Horner said. “Of course, we have some regional challenges like rural internet access and pockets of educational under-performance — but I believe if we can work together, North Carolina can eventually fix these things. I want to be a part of those solutions.”

Pacer was an elected member of the Personnel Advisory Board of Broward County, Fla.

Horner's political experience includes serving as a state senator for the past two years and serving on the Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education for 14 years, four terms as chairman.

Pacer said one of the major underlying issues in North Carolina politics is the sheer cost of running for office, which is out of proportion to the salaries provided.

“That cuts just about everybody out of running for office except the well-heeled, who are out of touch with the daily struggles of ordinary citizens and makes the system susceptible to the corruption of big money and control by outside influences,” Pacer said.

Horner is married with three adult children. Pacer has siblings and cousins in his hometown of Wilmington.