An answer to, “Who is Andy Millard?”

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, June 21, 2016

To the editor:

Readers may have read a recent letter to the editor by Jim Strausbaugh (“Who is Andy Millard?,” June 7). I called Jim that same day to answer his question. And while many local folks know me well, others don’t, so here goes:

I am the Democratic nominee for United States House of Representatives in North Carolina’s Tenth Congressional District. The district has a total population of about 750,000 and takes in all or part of the following counties: Polk, Rutherford, Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln, Catawba, and Buncombe, plus a tiny sliver of Iredell.

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There are about 485,000 registered voters: 36 percent Republican, 34 percent Democrat, 30 percent Unaffiliated, and 0.4 percent Libertarian. The major cities include Asheville, Gastonia, Hickory, Shelby and Forest City.

My bio, positions and opinions can easily be found on my campaign website,, or on our Facebook page, More information is added constantly, including a new video each week.

I have never been shy about my positions and opinions. Issue #1 is Congress itself: it is no longer a functioning branch of government. Until we fix this problem, any talk about other issues is almost a waste of breath. There are far too many career politicians who are in office for the wrong reasons, are totally at the beck and call of big donors, special interests and party bosses, are completely out of touch with their constituents, and have no desire or incentive to work with the other side. Virtually no one is happy with Congress – but we keep sending the same people back. If you want to change Congress, you have to change your congressman.

My issues are informed by long experience as a teacher, principal, financial planner, small business owner and community volunteer. The overall message is socially inclusive, environmentally concerned and fiscally responsible. Here are a few highlights:

We owe it to future generations of Americans to make investments in clean energy, universal broadband, a 21st Century smart electrical grid – not to mention badly needed repairs to our roads, bridges and air travel system. We should invest in early childhood education and universal daycare at community colleges. And we need to stop blaming teachers for government’s failure to invest in education.

We have a retirement crisis in this country. I propose a simple, universal retirement plan that would give every American worker the opportunity to save for retirement. Employers would have the option to match employee contributions, and the account would be fully and easily transferrable when the worker changes jobs.

I am dead set against privatizing Medicare, Social Security or veterans’ benefits.

We need to eliminate many of the expensive tax breaks for the wealthiest few.

Congress needs to exercise judgment and discernment before committing valiant young men and women to fight in wars where there’s no clear mission, no clear end game and no plan for caring for the wounded and scared after they return home.

We need to break the corporate stranglehold on elections by getting unaccountable money out of politics.

All these issues must be addressed within the context of getting our financial house in order. In seven years, interest on the national debt will be the third largest expense item in the federal budget. The House of Representatives has the power of the purse. We’ve heard enough talk; take some responsibility and deal with it already.

I’m not interested in pushing an agenda or ideology. I want to make a positive difference in the lives of real people. Congress needs grownups. It’s time to stop blaming, and start fixing.

Thanks for asking, Jim.

~ Andy Millard

Tryon, N.C.