Baker looks to uplift District 72

Dr. Amber Baker

Baker looks to uplift District 72
January 30
10:57 2020

Voters will have some big decisions to make in the primary election. At the local level, one of the most interesting races is the battle for District 72 in the N.C. House of Representatives, which pits Dr. Amber Baker against LaShun Huntley. While blazing the campaign trail last week, Baker took some time to sit down with The Chronicle to discuss her reason for running and her plan of action if she wins. 

Dr. Baker is best known throughout the community for her work as an educator. She holds a bachelor of science in Elementary Education from Winston-Salem State University and her master’s of arts and Ph.D. from Ohio State University. For more than a decade she has served as principal at Kimberley Park Elementary School. She said she decided to run shortly after Representative Derwin Montgomery announced his candidacy for Congress, thereby preventing him from running for re-election in District 72. 

Baker, who also serves as vice-chair of the Forsyth County Democratic Party’s African American Caucus, said she has always been interested in politics and when Montgomery announced his candidacy for Congress, she saw it as the perfect opportunity to get more involved. She said, “When the opportunity presented itself to go from the organizing and advocate side to possibly being a policymaker, being able to make change on a greater scale was something that really interested me.

“I was just kind of waiting my turn. So when this opportunity presented itself, I said I had to think about it and talk to some of the forerunners in the community who have been doing it for a while and ask, is this something that I could actually do, and they were like, it’s doable because you’ve already been doing the work. That inspired me and I decided to run.”

When asked how her background in education will help her in the N.C. House of Representatives, Baker said she has the ability to connect with people and build a consensus around a common goal. She said when faced with obstacles at Kimberley Park, instead of complaining, she connected with stakeholders in the community to get the things the students needed and she plans to use those same tactics to get things done in the House of Representatives. 

“It has given me an opportunity to learn how to build consensus around a common vision,” Baker continued. “I feel like when you have a vision and can articulate the vision, people may not always agree with it, but if it’s articulated well enough, people can always manage to find how they can contribute to that. And with all the partisanship we’re dealing with, both at the state level and the national level, being able to kinda walk across the bridge if you will, is something that I think is much needed. Because I don’t have the baggage of being a veteran politician, I may wonder over into some territories that others may not go into.

“I jokingly say, ‘I have a foot in Clemmons and a foot in Cleveland,’ so it means I can work with any community in-between. My message doesn’t change my passion for what I believe in, doesn’t change I’m willing to have the difficult conversations no matter who’s in the room.” 

Baker said her three major focus points if elected will be getting more funding and support for education, raising the minimum wage, and creating an avenue where people can access skills and opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty. During her discussion with The Chronicle, Baker discussed grants that are available that she plans to push for that will help improve the housing stock in parts of the city that need it most. She also discussed a $100 million grant from the state that will help create jobs in the area.

“I’ve said this to the governor and I’ve said it to Mayor Joines, I’ve said it to our City Council members, to our County Commissioners and anybody that will listen, companies will not come to our state until we get education right and we get housing right,” Baker said. “They may come and take the tax benefit, but they won’t stay.”

Baker, who currently lives in the Boston-Thurmond community, said she is passionate about uplifting those in need because that was once her. She said she gets amped up because if some people just had a helping hand, they could be well on their way to doing great things.

“Before all the degrees and all the accolades, I’ve been homeless, I’ve been on welfare, and I’ve struggled as a single parent, so I always didn’t know I was going to be here today, but along the way there were people who saw me here today and in some instances pulled me into my future,” Baker said. “We make a lot of judgment about things we don’t understand and mostly poverty, and so I become very defensive about that because contrary to the stereotypical belief, many people who are in impoverished situations are underemployed, so they’re working two and three jobs to live in places that are substandard. Then, because we aren’t sensitive to the fact that they can’t access quality healthcare or the fact that we don’t even have a grocery store, then they have to negotiate how to get to the grocery store to purchase groceries to bring into their homes. I tell people it’s a layered effect and if you don’t understand it, it can be easy for you to judge it.”  

For more information on Baker’s campaign, visit 

LaShun Huntley, who will be running against Baker in the primary election, is a longtime native of Winston-Salem and CEO of United Healthcare.The Chronicle will explore his platform in next week’s issue.

The 2020 Primary Election is scheduled for March 3. Early voting is scheduled to begin on Feb. 13. For more information and a complete 2020 election schedule, visit 

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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