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Rep. Chris Malone survived a sometimes dramatic campaign last November so he could he have that title in front of his name.
Now Malone is getting used to life as a lawmaker in the early days of his first session.
Before being elected to the General Assembly, the Wake Forest Republican was a member of the towns board of commissioners and served on the Wake County school board. Now he wants to bring business to Eastern Wake County and to etch out a role in the GOP majority. Responses have been edited for length.
Q: How has the transition from campaign politics to governing worked out so far?
Theres already a lot of people sending me emails, and Im getting phone calls from people asking me if I will support certain legislation. Also from people asking me to work against legislation. Im getting it from both sides. Gun control is a big issue with some people, so is abortion, and that was just from today.
But the thing Im getting most right now is interest in voter ID and business with the Second Amendment. People want to see action; they want to see leadership. They want to know were doing something of value.
Q: The GOP has sizable majorities all around. How do you see yourself fitting into that group?
I bring perspective on education and issues with property rights that I dealt with when I was (a member of the town board) in Wake Forest. Those are some areas I know a lot about.
Tax reform and bringing jobs to North Carolina should be our No. 1 goal, so Ill help find ways to do that. Its the ultimate responsibility of the state and its leaders. All programs and policies have to be done with consideration of bringing jobs. For my district, I want to find ways to bring industry to Eastern Wake County.
Q: What do you see as the best way to create jobs and to attract businesses here?
We engage in bringing business to North Carolina through tax credits and other various programs which, although I support, I dont like, because I think there are better ways to do it so we need to make ourselves better for business now with lower taxes so were competitive.
We also need to think about how we can position ourselves beyond that. ... Keep in mind, what Im being is philosophical. I would rather have a highly competitive, outstanding business environment so that we wouldnt need tax credits. I want it to be so good that tax credits being offered somewhere else would be ignored, and (businesses) would come to North Carolina. But thats somewhere in the future.
Q: What brought you here from New Jersey in 1991, and why have you stayed?
I was working in private industry, and my brother was already here. He asked if I wanted to come down and visit, so I decided to come down and check it out. I immediately fell in love with the place.
My standard joke is that we were driving through my brothers neighborhood to his house and everyone was waving. I said, youre doing well for friends around here, but he said thats just how people are. Part of the charm of North Carolina is the good, decent people.
Q: What are your interests away from politics?
Im a big sports guy, I love sports, but most of what I follow is in summer or fall. Im in a downturn, so I just finished a book called The Rise of Rome by Anthony Everitt. That was great. I really like classical literature. Its how I develop my vocabulary, by reading books I otherwise would not have read.
I also go to breakfast on Saturday and Sunday and hang out with the same people and have breakfast, just sit around and commiserate. Family is really everything to me; they always keep me busy.