Editor’s Note: Iredell Free News invited candidates for the 84th N.C. House District in the March 5 Republican primary election to share their qualifications, relevant experience and vision for this position. Early voting began February 15.


As a lifelong resident of North Carolina and my family calling Iredell County home for generations, protecting our way of life is a top priority for me. I have served our community, state, and nation in a variety of ways throughout my life while in the North Carolina Army National Guard. My time in the service taught me multiple lessons — from the responsibility and duty of leadership to the importance of planning and the value of culture — that still guide me today. 


As a soldier in combat, I learned to face unsurmountable odds with unwavering commitment, handle the stress of problem solving while facing life and death decisions, and ultimately, how to adapt and overcome opposition.

After returning from Iraq in 2008, fueled by the desire to make a meaningful impact in our community and in the lives of fellow veterans, I joined forces with my friend and fellow combat-wounded veteran Dale Beatty to establish Purple Heart Homes. We saw a problem, a gap, in the services provided for many other veterans and decided to do something to fix it. Using the values, skills, and lessons learned from our time in service, we created what is now a nationwide nonprofit organization that honors and supports those who have served from all generations by providing housing solutions and employment opportunities to former service members.

The problem that I now see is one in our state legislature is that we are lacking representation and leadership that works with all the other elected officials for our county, cities, and state. I know, like many of you, that when we work together, we can accomplish so much more. I’m not simply talking about “working across party lines.” I’m talking about working together for the benefit of Iredell County and not just working with the folks in Raleigh to gain status and political favor.

An example of this is when an issue or vote arises that impacts the County Board of Elections, which happened in 2023. Our elected officials should have the courtesy to reach out to the leadership of the Board of Elections and the leadership of our parties’ executive committees and discuss the issue. Instead, without a call to our Board of Elections or anyone else, our current representative simply voted to strip away the power of the local people to appoint board members to the Board of Elections and handed that power to the majority and minority leaders in Raleigh, along with the governor.

Let’s examine what leadership and representation is. Leadership is defined in many different ways. According to McKinsey and Company, leadership is a set of behaviors used to help people align their collective direction, to execute strategic plans, and to continually renew an organization. All leaders, to a certain degree, do the same thing. According to Forbes, leadership has nothing to do with seniority or one’s position in the hierarchy of a company. Consultant and author Warren Bennis said, “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” I believe that leadership is not a position of power; rather it’s a responsibility to build up, cultivate, and support those around you for a greater good and higher purpose; to serve others! I’ve spent my entire adult life in positions of leadership, serving others, building leaders, and working to better those around me. I believe that elected officials should be servant leaders who help their constituents reach their goals, dreams, and visions.

President James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers that the process of election was one of “filtration” and “the structure would ensure that better sorts of men would be elected, men who possess the most attractive merit and the most diffusive and established character.” In his book, “Power and Liberty,” Gordon S. Wood wrote that “because of their different experience, most Americans had come to believe in a very different kind of representation from that of their cousins in the mother country. Their belief in actual representation suggested that the process of election was not incidental to representation, but central to. People actually had to vote for their representative in order to be represented.”

Iredell County residents who live in the 84th N.C. House District have not had a choice, as we have only had one Republican candidate to vote for in the two elections since he was appointed by the Iredell County Republican Executive Committee.

The point of this is to say that we often think of the Revolutionary soldiers, “the minute men,” as those who fought for and freed America from the tyranny of Great Britain. But it about was more than just “taxes” and “freedom.” It was just as much about representation in government and our rights to elect that representation from within our communities and not have appointed representation.

While I have not held elected office, I have served our community, state, and nation. I am a proven leader and am willing to stand up for what is right, bring people together, and seek out the input of those with expertise, knowledge, and responsibility for the areas that will be impacted. I’m a problem solver, a respecter of people, and I’m willing to listen to and be a voice for the people of Iredell County.

Having grown up here, traveled the country and the world, I have always returned home to Iredell County with great joy. I’m proud of my roots and will do everything in my power and ability to make sure my children and yours have that same right, pride, and opportunity. From the farms in North Iredell to the balloons that launch from the Statesville Regional Airport each year, we have something special here in Iredell County and it’s worth fighting for. Let’s not ruin it by bringing in gambling, horse racing, and more developments that comes with it. We need to hold true to who we are, remember our roots of simple people that live in God’s country, raising our children while pursuing happiness and prosperity.

Your vote matters. The notion that your vote doesn’t matter, doesn’t count, or is a waste of your time is to say that the patriots who fought to defend the ideas and value of elected local representation wasted their lives. Your vote matters. It is continuing the belief in the same ideals and values of reasonable government representation that our not-so-distant ancestors believed in. They were willing to fight to secure the right to vote. So I implore you to please vote so we can keep that right and not turn it over to Raleigh, too.

John Gallina is a candidate for the 84th District seat in the N.C. House of Representatives.

4 thoughts on “Viewpoint: Voters in 84th N.C. House District can choose a different type of leader in March 5 primary

Comments are closed.