(pictured above: Sen. Malcolm Graham speaks with supporters at his side.)
Congressional hopeful Sen. Malcolm Graham won the support of a local heavyweight in his bid for the 12th District seat.
Mayor Allen Joines officially announced his endorsement of Graham, a Democrat who represents Mecklenburg County in the North Carolina Senate, Tuesday at Medicap Pharmacy on North Liberty Street.
“I’ve been mayor since 2001, and I’ve seen the importance of having close working relationships and effective leadership in Congress,” Joines told the smattering of Graham supporters and community members. “…I believe that in having Sen. Graham represent us in Washington, we’d have a friend there.”
Joines, a Democrat, said he is convinced that Graham would be a valuable ally.
“I felt like he would be the kind of leader that would represent the whole 12th District and would be a good representative for us here in Winston-Salem,” he explained. “…I think he’ll be a great Congressman and represent us well.”
Sen. Graham, a former Charlotte City Council member who has served in the NC Senate since 2005, said he is grateful for Joines’ support.
“For a sitting elected official to make an endorsement, it’s a big deal,” he noted. “It’s not something that we do lightly, and it’s an important decision to make.”
The father of two also praised the work of small business owners like Beverly Graham, who opened Medicap in 2005. He said he wants to go to Washington to serve the people, not himself.
“I want the job,” he said. “I want to wake up every morning and go to work for Beverly Graham and each one of you, to make sure that we build a better community.”
Beverly Graham, who is no relation to the senator, said she doesn’t usually get involved in politics but was impressed with his platforms on issues such as health and education. Sen. Graham is a proponent of the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act and high quality early childhood education.
“Jobs and education are really important,” observed Beverly Graham. “Our kids need to get ahead so they can get good jobs. It’s a challenge now with the cost of education, and we just need somebody in Congress that’s going to work towards addressing those things.”
Sen. Graham’s daughter, Cortney Graham, a student at Winston-Salem State University, also offered words of support on his behalf.
“Over the years, I have witnessed my father’s passion and dedication for improving the lives of others,” said the junior, political science major. “I have witnessed the amount of work he does, during and after business hours. He always puts the people that he represents first.”
Citing Sen. Graham’s mantra, “Work hard. Love your family. Respect your neighbor. And don’t miss church on Sunday,” Cortney Graham told attendees that her father is governed by a strong sense of morality, and will always stand on the side of what’s right, regardless of its popularity.
“My father is not afraid to stand alone to make decisions that need to be made for the good of the people of North Carolina,” she stated. “…Now is the time for him to take what he has learned and represent North Carolina in the United States Congress.”
If elected, Graham, who has also won the endorsement of former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt, said he will continue his tradition of reaching across the aisles to support sensible legislation that promises the best possible outcomes for his constituents.
“I’ve always been involved in helping to build a better community,” declared the Johnson C. Smith University alumnus. “…I want to make sure that we build a community that we all feel proud about, and that starts right here in Winston-Salem.”
Seven Democrats are vying for the 12th Congressional seat, including Guilford County N.C. House members Alma Adams and Marcus Brandon. The seat was left vacant early this year when Mel Watt, who had served as the district’s representative in Congress for more than 20 years, was appointed director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.