State Sen. David Rouzer, a Johnston County resident running for Congress, was in the national spotlight Tuesday at the Republican National Convention in Florida.
His 90 seconds in front of the cameras came when he walked on stage around 3 p.m. to talk about his race and the presidential election.
“This election will determine whether we continue on the path of more spending, more debt and economic disaster, or whether we choose real solutions and return to the basic principles of free enterprise and limited government,” he said.
Total attendance at the convention includes more than 4,000 delegates and alternate delegates and some 15,000 members of the media, according to the RNC’s website. Counting the online and cable-news viewers, Tuesday’s audience was likely the largest stage he’s ever spoken to, Rouzer said.
“Well, I don’t know how many people were listening at 3:07 p.m.,” he told the Smithfield Herald after his speech. “But overall, I thought it went over very well. It was a great honor and a great opportunity to step forward and present our message.”
Rouzer was among dozens of Republican congressional candidates who spoke at the convention. What separated him from the rest of the early speakers, though, was his willingness to call out his opponent in the 7th Congressional Dstrict. He lambasted incumbent Democrat Mike McIntyre for helping to elect Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as speaker of the House.
“Campaigns are all about distinction,” Rouzer after his speech. “The first vote in January is the vote for speaker. He voted for Pelosi … and that lays in stark contrast to any vote I would’ve made.”
Rouzer is a Johnston County native who grew up on a tobacco farm and now lives in McGee’s Crossroads, an unincorporated between Benson and Garner. He said he has seen the area undergo tremendous changes but he likes the direction the county is going in.
“Now Johnston, in many respects, is a microcosm of the state as a whole,” he said. In other words, it’s a cross between suburban bedroom community and a traditional rural county.
“Growth is always a good thing,” he added. “It’s far better than not having any growth.”
But Rouzer is leaving most of those issues to the local officials. If elected, he said he’d focus more on changing federal policy than on bringing home big contracts or grants. He believes that’s what his constituents would want.
“I’d take the advice most people of Johnston County have given me to heart – ‘get the country back on track,’” he said.