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Army veteran files for state House seat

Josh Remillard if running for state House District 117. Josh Remillard if running for state House District 117.

Joshua Michael “Josh” Remillard can think of a major difference between the military and politics.


“In the Army there was a sense of integrity, honor and duty that I don’t really see in our current political climate,” he said. “For me (military service) was all about serving Americans, serving your country and I want to keep doing that, keep serving America, keep serving North Carolina.”
Remillard, a father of two who works at Gaia Herb in Mills River, filed for the House District 117 seat currently held by Chuck McGrady, who plans to retire. Also running are Dennis Justice, who has run for office numerous times since the 1990s, and Tim Moffitt, a Republican who served in the state House from Buncombe County before moving back to Henderson County, where he was raised.
A Democrat, Remillard, 37, served in the Army for eight years and deployed twice two to Iraq before he was discharged in 2014 as a sergeant. Raised in Wilmington, he ended up in Washington state after the service and earned a degree in politics, economics and philosophy from the University of Washington.
In campaign appearances, he’s been talking about education, health care and the environment.
“The main driving force in education is improving education outcomes while advocating for our teachers,” he said. “With health care, the thing for me is to close the coverage gap by voting to expand Medicaid. He also supports an executive order Gov. Roy Cooper signed to register 800,000 more electric or hybrid vehicles by 2030 to reduce our carbon or greenhouse gases by 40%.
“What I saw working when I was stationed in Germany and while living in Washington was the rail system,” he said. He would like to see progress in mass transit here, even if it’s a bus line from Asheville to Brevard.
“Being in the Army you’re always roughing it in the woods,” he said. He still likes camping and hiking recreationally. “When I was stationed in Germany I kind of fell in love with it there. As soon as you walk out the door there’s a trail. In Washington state, everywhere you go there’s some sort of trail. Western North Carolina reminds me a lot of Washington state and Germany, at least the environment.
A political newcomer, he vows if elected to serve people of all points of view.
“I know there’s a lot of vitriol between the left and the right, Democrats and Republicans,” he said. “One of my primary goals besides my platform is to bridge the gap between people. As far as a representative is concerned, a representative only exists for the purpose of advocating for their community and trying to enrich the lives of the people they represent. I would really try to extend the olive branch and reach across the aisle. I want them to understand there’s someone looking out for their interest.”
Remillard and his wife have two girls, one almost 2 and the other six months.