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CoastLine Candidate Interviews: NC House District 17 (Iler vs. Simmons)

Katelyn Freund
NC Representative Frank Iler (R-Brunswick) is facing Democratic Challenger Tom Simmons this November.

Representative Frank Iler has served North Carolina’s House District 17 for four-and-a-half terms; he is now seeking his fifth.  The district includes most of Brunswick County – about 72% of it.  The remainder of Brunswick County joins about a quarter of neighboring New Hanover County to make up House District 18 – which is served by Democratic Representative Deb Butler. 

It was 2009 when Iler was appointed to replace Bonner Stiller, who was retiring.  The last four elections have seen Iler consistently beat his Democratic challenger with between 66 and 68% of the vote.  

Candidates in order of appearance:  

Representative Frank Iler, a Republican, has worked as a cost accountant and budget supervisor in the textile industry, he has owned a fast-food franchise, and he’s worked in sales and marketing.  He now Chairs the Transportation Committee, the House Select Committee on North Carolina River Quality, the Appropriations Transportation Committee, and the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee. 

Listen to Representative Frank Iler here.

Tom Simmons, Democratic Challenger, has lived in Brunswick County for more than four-and-a-half decades.  Simmons spent thirty years working as a classroom teacher, assistant principal and principal at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in Southeastern North Carolina.   He earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and went on to earn a Master of Education at the University of South Carolina.  He is also a graduate of East Carolina University's Educational Doctorate Degree program.  He serves as the Vice President of Education for the Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.  

Listen to Tom Simmons here.

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 2 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.
Rachel is a graduate of UNCW's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in Urban and Regional Policy and Planning. She also received a Master of Education and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French Language & Literature from NC State University. She served as WHQR's News Fellow from 2017-2019. Contact her by email: rkeith@whqr.org or on Twitter @RachelKWHQR