Josh Remillard is currently seeking the Democratic candidacy for the North Carolina House of Representatives, District 117. He is an Army Infantry Veteran of eight years, having served two combat tours to Iraq. He was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina and was raised in Wilmington. He attended the University of Washington, earning his Bachelor of Arts in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. Josh currently works as a Quality Assurance Specialist for Gaia Herbs, in Brevard, North Carolina and now calls Mills River home.
I am here today, running for district 117 because of my deployments to Iraq. While serving in a combat capacity, three poignant events changed my life. During a foot patrol in an insurgent occupied town, an Iraqi woman ran up to my medic and me carrying her young child, he was crying as a result of painful festering wounds. Begging us to fix him, she was also in tears, not just because her child was in agonizing pain but also because the insurgents threatened and killed any Iraqi who communicated with Americans. She was literally risking her life to save her child. Our feelings over our patch work were mixed from feeling proud about being able to help him to knowing exactly what that would entail after we left.
My second life changing event involved delivering school supplies to elementary schools and sometimes protecting those schools while their classes were in session. This gave me a greater sense of mission and made me realize that back home, we all take education for granted. As a result, I took every safe opportunity to interact with the Iraqi children, to be an American ambassador.
Finally, three-quarters of the way through my first deployment the new Iraqi government was coming into fruition. One foundational characteristic of their new Democracy was voting at the polls. Insurgent forces saw an opportunity to topple this fledgling government by way of attacking the polls. My unit’s primary mission, before coming home, was to protect the polls. I took a great sense of pride in this mission, as I was protecting Democracy at its core.
These three events coalesced together giving me an appreciation for Democracy and politics which I once took for granted. It became painfully apparent to me just how important health care is. Additionally, protecting other’s rights to education and to freely choose the course of their nation, opened my eyes and gave me a new found respect for these fundamental liberties.
The election of Donald Trump has sparked an increasing trend in America. We find ourselves divided into tribes, enclaving ourselves and vehemently fighting for policies to benefit our group at the expense of other Americans. This is painful to me, as I and the brothers and sisters in arms that I’ve lost served and fought for this entire family. I won’t sit quietly on the sidelines anymore and allow their sacrifices to be in vain. I fought for all Americans then and I’m fighting for all American still. This is why I am running.