Knightdale businessman announces bid for Chris Malone’s House seat

mhankerson@newsobserver.comDecember 25, 2013 

— Local businessman Brian Mountcastle has announced plans to seek Democratic nomination for the state House seat from the 35th House now held by Republican Chris Malone.

“I never had an inclination to run, but in the last two years with the partisanship that goes on in our General Assembly and how it affects our schools ... and our overall economy, I got frustrated,” Mountcastle said. “Sometimes the way to fix something is to really try and do it yourself.”

Mountcastle has no political experience. He serves on several community organizations and is part of the Knightdale Area Education Work Group, a group of community members charged with making recommendations to help improve Knightdale schools.

Although Mountcastle has a daughter at Knightdale High School and a son at Lockhart Elementary School, he said his focus on education is not limited only to Knightdale’s schools.

“Education is important because education truly touches the economy as well,” Mountcastle said. “Whenever an industry or a business comes into this state, they look at our community college system.”

“If our community colleges don’t have the resources and the teachers and the money to provide the programs that they need to get a trained workforce, that hurts our economy,” he said.

Echoing local discussion

Mountcastle also reiterated an issue that’s come up in the Knightdale work group: making sure all students have an equal opportunity to succeed.

“If we’re not giving (students) what they need, shame on us,” he said.

Mountcastle said one area that exemplified his concern with equal opportunity for students was charter schools.

“I love options but if it’s not a fair or equitable option, its not an option,” he said. Mountcastle said charter schools and to some extent, some magnet programs, are not truly options for students whose parents can’t provide transportation, lunch or whose schedules may mean they need a before- or after-school program.

Mountcastle said he doesn’t plan to address charter schools or any specific issue yet, but he wants to wait and see what issues residents will be facing closer to the election in 2014.

Even without a list of issues to bring to the table, Mountcastle has some idea of how he wants to conduct business as a representative.

“I’ll be the first one to say is I think the problem is our state government is trying to manage peoples’ lives, they’re not trying to manage the state,” he said. “We have grown adults acting like children. They’re not helping anybody, they’re just making bigger issues in their governing body and we need to change that.”

Making sweeping changes also isn’t on Mountcastle’s agenda.

“It’s easy to make laws but I don’t see anybody managing the laws we’ve already made,” he said.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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