BRUNSWICK COUNTY — With official filing for the 2020 elections just two weeks away, candidates are already throwing their hats in the ring. Democrat Tom Simmons announced this week he would run for the newly redrawn District 17.
The new House District 17 straddles both sides of Highway 17 in Brunswick County and all of its northern municipalities, including Leland, Belville, Navassa, and Northwest; Coastal portions of the old District 17 are now included in District 19, which includes southern New Hanover County. Simmons ran against incumbent Republican Frank Iler in 2018, with Iler winning 63.5% to Simmons’ 35.6%. Simmons will face Iler again in 2020.
Simmons currently serves as the second vice-chair of the Democratic Party’s 7th congressional district; it’s Simmons’ second, three-year term as part of the partisan group (it’s not a public office). Simmons also served as treasurer for seven years prior to his position as vice-chair.
Simmons has also served on the Brunswick County planning board for the last two years. He has lived in Boiling Spring Lakes for over 45 years, and served two terms as on the city’s board of commissioners in the 1980s.
Simmons said his campaign would focus on protecting the environment and making sure that the state sees Medicaid expansion. Simmons also said he would work to pay teachers what they deserve, protect public education, and “stand up to the NRA” in Raleigh.
‘I think I can bring something different to District 17 in that I will be listening to the constituents in the district rather than the leadership in Raleigh,” Simmons said.