Wells to seek Hilton's N.C. House seat

In the wake of N.C. Rep. Mark Hilton's decision to not seek re-election, one would-be candidate has stepped forward to try to fill his seat representing the state's 96th House District.

In a Tuesday afternoon email to The O-N-E, the Hickory Metro real estate developer Andy Wells announced his decision to seek Hilton's seat. The seat for North Carolina's 96th district is up for election in November 2012, and filing begins in February. That district includes much of western Catawba County, including Conover, Mountain View, but it does not include Hickory.

"The rumors started last week about the possibility of a coming vacancy in the 96th N.C. House seat. Since then, I have had a number of conversations with friends who share my belief that this offers an opportunity to champion growth and job creation in the Catawba Valley," Wells told The O-N-E in an email. "I am fortunate enough to be in the position to serve and have the backing of my wife Suzanne and our family."

Wells said that as he seeks election for the 96th N.C. House District, he will be seeking the support of county residents that share the goals of growth and jobs for this community.

"The N.C. 96th House district is the heart of a region that has lost 40,000 jobs in 10 years," Wells said. "A vacancy in that seat offers our business community and citizens the opportunity to reflect on our current situation and consider what we need from government to stop the decline and change our course. I will do whatever is necessary to bring jobs and growth back to our community."

Wells is the managing partner of The Prism Group, a development, leasing, property management and investment company based in Hickory.