The Brunswick County Republican Party meets Tuesday night to figure out who will replace Bonner Stiller in the State House of Representatives. Members will consider two candidates; both are familiar to the political scene in Brunswick County. After seven years in the State House, Bonner Stiller stepped down Monday to spend more time with his family and his law firm. Now the executive committee of the Brunswick County Republican Party must pick a replacement. "It's been a dream of mine for many years to serve in the Legislature, in fact, I’ve run for the House seat and the Senate seat before,” said Shirley Babson. But Shirley Babson is probably best known for her 17 years on the Brunswick County School Board, including the last nine years as chair. She says she has the skills to serve not only the county, but the entire state. "I believe that I can be persuasive up there, and that's what it's going to take. I think you have to be a good public speaker, and I certainly know how to speak in the public and persuade people." While Babson has experience and name recognition, the other name in the mix, Frank Iler served the last three years as Brunswick County's Republican Party chair before becoming the party leader for the Seventh Congressional District in April. "The folks know both of us pretty well, and I think it'll be a great decision either way,” Iler said. Iler and Babson agree, North Carolina’s budget problem is the biggest issue facing the state right now. Iler says his business experience and political connections are valuable. “I feel like I know all the issues in Brunswick County; very close with the county commissioners, so I can stay on top of the issues that they're interested in." In the end, Iler says about three dozen people will decide who will serve the rest of Stiller's term that runs through next year.
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