Bob Steinburg challenges
District 2 seat in state House of Representatives
think it was right that a candidate for state office should go
unchallenged in November’s election.
Before he knew it, the Edenton Republican had filed to face off against
incumbent Democrat Tim Spear for the District 2 seat in the North
Carolina House of Representatives.
Active for years in local, state and national party politics,
Steinburg, 62, has never held elected office. But he said he’s got the
“discipline, want-to, and know-how” to help bring fiscal restraint and
responsible spending to state government.
Steinburg, born and raised in Oswego, N.Y., lived in Virginia for 28
years before moving in 2005 to Chowan County. He is married
two grown sons.
“This state is at the point of going belly-up,” he said, adding that
Spear reflects Raleigh’s unwillingness to “make the hard decisions”
required for economic recovery and job stimulation.
“That’s why,” Steinburg said, “we are facing this inconceivable and
incomprehensible set of circumstances.”
Spear, 58, who has represented the district -- Chowan, Dare Hyde and
Washington counties -- since 2006, said his lifelong residency in the
district and experience in the state House makes him more qualified and
effective in addressing the economic stresses.
“North Carolina is certainly not alone,” he said. “It’s a national
problem that has worked its way down to the states.”
His job, Spear said, has been to help the state and his district get
through the economic crisis without destroying the underpinnings needed
to recover: educational and training resources that foster employment
Quality-of-life factors, such as access to health care, recreational
facilities and a clean environment, as well as tax
incentives, contribute to the state’s reputation as
business-friendly and a desirable place to live, he said.
“That shows that the decisions we’ve made, that these policies are
working,” Spear said.
But Steinburg, retired from a sales and marketing business, contends
that Spear, employed as a law enforcement officer prior to serving for
24 years as Washington County Clerk of Superior Court, lacks the
business acumen needed to right the state’s fiscal boat.
“He’s been on the government teat his entire life,” he said of his
Steinburg, whose campaign has raised about $35,000 from individuals,
said he favors elimination of corporate taxes -- “the states
surrounding us are killing us,” he said -- but does not support huge
tax incentives to attract businesses.
Spear said his opponent has unfairly painted him as recklessly voting
to approve tax increases last year. The reality is, he said,
with the help of federal stimulus funds, $2 billion was cut from the
budget. And this year, he said, the General Assembly passed a balanced
budget, did not raise taxes, and used fewer state tax dollars than in
the previous spending plan.
Whatever steps the state takes to deal with budget shortfalls, Spear
said, its fiscal health depends on maintaining a “friendly business
“Companies don’t just look at one issue,” he said. “They look at the
Spear , a father of two grown sons who lives in Creswell with
wife, said he is proud of what he has accomplished during his tenure in
In addition to helping military service members keep their homes and
find the help they need back home, he said, he helped pass legislation
that provided an exemption for farm tractors traveling on roads during
harvest season. And he makes no apologies for working out a
state/private partnership that kept Dom Tar Paper Co. operating in
Plymouth, saving 500 jobs.
Spear said that the effort, which involved $9 million in tax credits
over five years in exchange for the company investing $65 million to
retrofit the plant and agreeing to wage and employee minimums, had
nothing to do with his son being employed there for the past three
years, despite what Steinburg charges.
“So we’re willing to let 500 jobs go just because my son works there?”
With a campaign slogan of “Enough is Enough,” Steinburg said he sees
Spear as part of the good ol’ boy way of politics that North Carolina
has to move beyond.
“I don’t believe we’re getting the leadership or representation we
deserve,” he said.
But Spear, who can’t help noticing the anti-incumbent sentiment that
has swept the nation, has conducted a spirited campaign. Although he
said he’s not sure what he has spent, he said his campaign has about
$25,000 on hand.
“I’m certainly not taking anything for granted,” he said. “I have
worked hard to reach out to voters in my district.
“This seat belongs to the people of this district. It doesn’t belong to