Two Dem., six GOP candidates for U.S. House
Published 5:27 pm Friday, April 30, 2010
As part of coverage for the May 4 primary election, the Bulletin asked U.S. House District 11 candidates to share information about their backgrounds.
Incumbent Democrat Heath Shuler faces political newcomer Axia Wilson in the primary. On the Republican side, six candidates are seeking the nomination: Dan Eichenbaum, James Howard, Edward Krause, Jeffery Miller, Gregory Newman and Kenneth West. The following is information submitted by the candidates. Howard and Miller did not respond in time for publication.
A native of Swain County and a current resident of Haywood County, Heath Shuler was first elected to represent North Carolinas 11th Congressional District in November 2006. The 11th District is comprised of the 15 westernmost counties in North Carolina: Buncombe, Clay, Cherokee, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, and Yancey.
Prior to launching his congressional bid, Congressman Shuler was a successful entrepreneur and small business owner. His professional experience led to him to chair the House Subcommittee on Rural Development, Entrepreneurship and Trade.
Congressman Shuler is also widely known for his success on the football field. As a student-athlete at Swain County High School, he led the Maroon Devils to three North Carolina state championships and was named North Carolina High School Player of the year.
From Swain County, it was a short trip over the Great Smoky Mountains to the University of Tennessee. While at UT, Congressman Shuler set numerous passing records, was selected to multiple All-America teams, was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and NCAA Male Athlete of the Year, and was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. Congressman Shuler went on to play in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins, the New Orleans Saints, and the Oakland Raiders before an injury ended his career. With his football days behind him, Congressman Shuler returned to the University of Tennessee and finished his degree.
Congressman Shuler is married to Nikol Davis of Waynesville. They have two children, Navy and Island. The family belongs to Biltmore Baptist Church. Congressman Shuler has served as a charter member and spokesperson for the Friends of the Smokies and as National Spokesperson for Character Counts; and he remains active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Aixa Wilson (pronounced ?-sh-uh) will run on a platform of communication with constituents, rejection of special interests, and respectful pragmatism instead of the divisive polarization threatening to gridlock our country. For more information, please visit www.wilson411nc.com.
Aixa Wilsons family has lived nearby East Tennessee for over 100 years and he has known, traveled, and loved the WNC area since childhood. Aixa Wilson lives in Asheville.
Mr. Wilson acquired a Master of Arts degree in Anthropology from Tulane University and works as an archaeologist. Also, he is pursuing an entrepreneurship degree to launch a non-profit corporation with initiatives including veterans mental health and expanding local food production.
Wilson served eight years in the US Army Reserves, he has one daughter, and he is a Methodist.
Family: wife Rhonda, son CJ, daughter Joy
Education: University of Michigan 64, Bachelors in Zoology with Honors
Yale University School of Medicine 69, M.D. Cum Laude
Occupation: Ophthalmologist (Physician & eye surgeon)
Political Experience: Grassroots political activism & first-time candidate
Presently my wife and I live in the Pleasant Gardens community near Marion in McDowell County with our 16 year old adopted son and a Russian exchange student. I have five other children ranging in ages from 29 to 40 (two natural and three step children); all of my four grandchildren live in Western North Carolina. I earned a Civil Engineering Degree from Tufts University in 1969, and graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 1973. My military service was in the NC Army National Guard, 211MP Co in Asheville. My adult life has been devoted to many community organizations such as Boy Scouts in the Daniel Boone Council, Asheville Lions Club, Madison County Rotary Club, Madison County Habitat for Humanity, McDowell Mission Ministries, McDowell Trails Association and Pisgah Legal Services. My leisure time is spent on model railroading, working out at the gym, hiking with my children or watching movies with my wife. In 1992, I married Jean Nodine, formally of Mills River in Henderson County. She taught at Etowah Elementary School and worked part-time at the Henderson County Public Library. My wife is now the Library Director for McDowell County. I have been a strong Republican all my life and have been active in party leadership. However, my decisions will be based on what is good for America and this District. I am 62 years old and do not plan to make Congress a career; three terms would be my absolute limit.
As a native of Hendersonville, I grew up in these mountains. I graduated from A. C. Reynolds High School and received a political science degree from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. My wife, Kim, and I just celebrated our 25th anniversary earlier this year. We live in Hendersonville and we have three children, Ryan, a sophomore at Clemson University, Alexis, a sophomore at Hendersonville High School, and Parker, a third grader at Mountain Community Charter School. We are members of First Baptist Hendersonville where I serve as a deacon. I have a conservative record as a former prosecutor and the first Republican Mayor of Hendersonville, cutting wasteful spending, fighting crime, and refusing to raise taxes. Because all life is a gift from God, I have consistently been pro life, support traditional marriage, and the Second Amendment. I am an attorney with Blanchard Newman and Blackwell where I represent clients from all over Western North Carolina.