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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: State Sen. Rick Gunn (Republican)
Hometown: Burlington (represents Alamance and Caswell counties)
Family: wife Gayle (works as legislative assistant in Gunny’s office: two sons, ages 23 and 20
Education: UNC-Chapel Hill, undergraduate.
Previous political experience: None.
Campaign website: http://www.gunnforncsenate.com/
Organizations (charities, churches, civic groups) you’re active in: YMCA in Alamance County (worked with statewide lobbyists for YMCA organizations, which sparked his interest in state politics), attends First Presbyterian in Burlington; N.C. Association of Realtors.
Biggest political influences: Ronald Reagan
Hobbies: Big golf enthusiast. He and his wife also enjoy going to plays and musicals.
Pet peeves: “Almost to a fault, I expect always to be able to take people for their word. I get really ticked off when I’ve spoken to someone and I realize that they’ve not been honest.”
Why’d you run? “I previously had been very involved with politics but sitting on the other side of the desk. (helping lobby at the state level for local YMCA). Kevin Leonard (former YMCA lobbyist) told me, ‘You should be a senator. You really understand the work and have the ability.’ So, I went to Sen. Berger and here we are.”
What are you expecting from this session?
We will have a better state when we finish with this biennial session. We’ve got a great state already. I just feel this state is in a position to take a very tough time and come out a lot stronger. I want a sustainable government. Every time I talk to people, mainly in the business community, they say, ‘give us good sustainable rules to help grow our business, whether it’s regulations, taxes or infrastructure.’ We’ve had our spending priorities out of whack.”
What (policy-wise) keeps you up worrying at night? “I enjoy everything I do, but my mind is in constant motion. I want to be able to say I have done everything I can to run (the state government) as if it’s a business. We’re here to make government better and to serve its shareholders, the taxpayers and citizens.”
Contact: 312 Legislative Office Building, (919) 301-1446, Rick.Gunn@ncleg.net