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Matheny bills himself as 'common sense' candidate in congressional run
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Matheny bills himself as 'common sense' candidate in congressional run

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GREENSBORO − City Councilman Zack Matheny announced his congressional run Monday, joining a crowded field of Republicans hoping to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Howard Coble in the 6th District.

Matheny, who easily won re-election to the council last month, said he is running for Congress because he loves representing people in government. He said he hopes to emulate Coble’s legendary commitment to constituent service.

Matheny billed himself as a common-sense candidate and said the recent federal government shutdown — part of a fight over the new health care law and deficit spending — was inexcuseable.

He noted that during his six years on the council, the city hasn’t raised taxes. He gave only a partial criticism of the Affordable Care Act, which other Republican candidates have severely criticized.

“It was too much too fast,”

Matheny said about President Barack Obama’s landmark health care legislation.

“We’ve got to figure out what is right and make it happen,” he said.

Matheny declined to get into details beyond that. Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. called for a full repeal when he announced his candidacy last month, and other candidates — Lawndale Baptist Church associate pastor Mark Walker, High Point financial adviser Don Webb and the Rev. Dan Collison, a Jamestown-area pastor — are staking out similar turf on the Republican right.

Matheny is more of a moderate, though he eschewed labels after his announcement.

“Is there such thing as a common-sense person that just works hard and gets the job done?” he asked. “That’s what I want to do.”

Matheny, 40, announced his run at Koury Aviation near Piedmont Triad International Airport to emphasize aviation’s importance to the Triad economy. He stood in a hangar in front of a private jet festooned with red, white and blue balloons and “Zack Matheny for Congress” signs.

It was Matheny who announced last week that the city was trying to recruit a Boeing aircraft assembly plant. He promised an aggressive push, but so have other cities and states, and the winner will probably have to pony up massive incentives.

Matheny and his wife, Lauran, have three children, ages 1, 3 and 12. All attended Monday’s announcement and the youngest, Lily Grace, stole the show for a while, toddling around the hangar.

“Luckily, Lily Grace is not of age to run against me,” Matheny said.

Matheny is self-employed and works on a variety of projects, including investing in real estate deals and a company that insulates homes. He said he would seek a balance during this congressional run among family, work, campaigning and his job on the City Council.

He planned another event Monday in Rockingham County and one today in Alamance County. The district includes those counties, Guilford County and all or parts of seven others, mostly along the Virginia state line.

Primary elections will be held May 6, followed by the general election Nov. 4. The district leans Republican, and there’s only one Democrat in the race so far: Laura Fjeld of Orange County.

Staff Writer Amanda Lehmert contributed to this report.

​Contact Travis Fain at (336) 373-4476, and follow @travisfain on Twitter.

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