The Republican takeover of the N.C. legislature, the first time the GOP has led both houses since 1898, is a huge shift in power that's brought a lot of new faces, and people new to doing business on Jones Street. In what we hope is a regular feature this session, N.C. Policy Watch will try to talk with some of the newest members to offer a bit more insight on who they are and what they plan on doing this session in Raleigh. This will be an ongoing feature, with the goal of profiling all the new members. Haven't been contacted for your profile yet? New legislators can contact reporter Sarah Ovaska at email@example.com .
Name: Rep. Phil Shepard (Republican)
Hometown: Jacksonville (represents Onslow County)
Family: Wife Lois passed away eight years ago from medical complications following a surgery. No children.
Occupation: retired civilian worker for the U.S. Marine Corps working in transportation logistics, pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Jacksonville
Education: attended Coastal Carolina Community College, but never graduated.
Previous political experience: No. chairman of Republican Party in County Onslow County..
Organizations (charities, churches, civic groups) you're active in: Pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church, Little League coach, past GOP chairman in Onslow County.
Biggest political influences: Ronald Reagan, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower.
Hobbies: playing basketball, running, walking or hiking; follows UNC football and basketball (member of the Ram's Club). Also enjoys white-water rafting and outdoor activities.
Any pet peeves?: " My pet peeve with politics and in general is people that don't respect people. Even if we may not agree, we can be respectful and treat people with courtesy."
How you plan on unwinding from the legislative grind? Going on a run, biking or watching a Western movie.
Why'd you run?: "I felt like our county needed a new voice in Raleigh. I intend to make a difference for the people of county, and look out for their interests."
What are you expecting from this session? "I expect it to be a lot of hard work, but I think we're going to get a lot accomplished. I believe there's going to be a lot of difficult decisions. Hopefully we'll reduce spending and balance the budget."
What (policy-wise) keeps you up worrying at night? "Right now, it's just finding a way to balance this budget without hurting too many people's lives. It's easy to talk about reducing, and we're going to do that. And we do not want any more taxes. It's also understood that (cuts) are going to impact a person's income and life, there's a person behind the cuts."
If you had only one victory this session, what would it be? "It would be to balance the budget without any tax increases. "
Contact: 301 N. Legislative Office Building, (919) 715-9644, Phil.Shepard@ncleg.net .