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Candidate Profile: Walter Martin (D), 7th Congressional District

Walter Martin for Congress
Walter Martin (D-Johnston County), Candidate for NC 7th Congressional District

The specter of home-grown terrorism:  it’s one of the main reasons Walter Martin says he hopes to win the Democratic Party nomination for North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District.

This retired detective from Johnston County is a current Town Commissioner in Princeton, North Carolina -- population about 12-hundred.   He says it’s time for people to take back their power from government through the ability to recall elected officials.  And, as he tells WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn, after 23 years in law enforcement, he is ready, willing, and able to defuse the dangerous situations that are probably on the horizon. 


RLH:  You said that you’ve been trained to recognize triggers.  What are some of those things that you’re seeing, specifically?

WM:  Whenever you hear people – and especially people who’ve lost their jobs – through no fault of their own -- and because they lost their jobs now sometimes they’re referred to as “deadbeats”.  You often hear them referred to as “playing the system, gaming the system.”  Just because these people lost their jobs doesn’t mean they also have to lose their dignity.  

RLH:  You say that reforming this country’s immigration policies will help to solve some elements of the unemployment problem…  How so?

WM:  25 or 30 years ago, whenever the immigrants first started coming to work our fields, and shortly thereafter they began to work construction jobs and it was common knowledge that a lot of these people were here illegally. And we ignored it because we were using them to make a profit. And now that things have changed suddenly we want to box everybody up and send them back.

There are too many young students that were born here, that were raised here, and for all practical purposes, they are American citizens.  They don’t know what life is like in another country.  This is their country.  This is the only place they know as home.  I would never want to start deporting people and making orphans of that many children.  

RLH:  You raise the issue of boosting the minimum wage.  Opponents of raising the minimum wage argue  it’ll raise costs for businesses and essentially be a job-killing endeavor… Do you agree with that? 

WM:  That it all depends on when… If we were talking about doing it now --- we still don’t know exactly what the impact of the Affordable Care Act will be on businesses.  So I would be more cautious about implementing it right behind this Affordable Care Act.

RLH:  What, if anything, do we need to do about it?  Adjust it, change it, repeal it, keep it?

WM:  Let’s talk about repealing and what would happen if you did that.  Over 6 million people have already enrolled.  I don’t have latest number on just how much money the government has already invested in the Affordable Care Act.  So if you look at it from an investment standpoint -- why would you just say, well, all the money we’ve invested we’re just going to throw it away.  Because that is actually what you’re talking about doing. 

But the bottom line is, whenever you say, “I will repeal it”, then you need something to replace it with, also.  Because what you are actually saying is, to some people, that I don’t want the government telling me what to do and I care so much about that right that it may cost you your health.  It may actually cost you your life.  But at least I get to keep my right. 

Well, what about that person’s right to good health?  What about that person’s right to a long and prosperous life, too?  We can’t live in a country where we just think about me me me me all the time.  We live here together and we have to show compassion for each other.

RLH:  Walter Martin, thanks so much for joining us today.

WM:  Thank you for the opportunity.


Listen to the short version here.

Walter Martin is a retired law enforcement officer, current private detective and Town Commissioner of Princeton, North Carolina.   As of February 28th, he’s also a candidate for U.S. Representative of North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District. 

That this Johnston County Democrat challenging Jonathan Barfield in the primary, is already working on his national agenda – and will continue that work – whether  he’s elected – or not. 


Walter Martin is worried.  He’s worried about the shift of power from the hands of the people to the politicians.  He says constituents’ needs have gone un-addressed for so long that he sees the seeds of homegrown terrorism beginning to sprout.  And so Walter Martin would like to return power to the hands of the people – and return to a form of government in which people remember that public officials are in office to serve them – and not the other way around.

"We need the ability to recall our local and state officials.  That the only way that we can recall the federal officials in the Congress and in the Senate – we would actually have to change our Constitution to be able to do that.  I think given what we’ve seen thus far, I think citizens really need to do that."

Other professional positions require a standard of performance, says Martin.  When employees don’t deliver, they are relieved of their responsibilities.  But when it comes to elected officials, says Martin, the process should never be frivolous.   

"We really have to be serious and the states that have the recall ability – they have a process where you have to get x amount of signatures just to be able to do it. That will be a way for us to tilt the power back into the hands of the people."

Martin also says that the House and Senate leaders should not have the ability to block bills from coming to the floor for a vote. 

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 4 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.