McDaniel preparing to lead county’s District A


McDaniel preparing to lead county’s District A
November 15
08:39 2018

Long before the recent influx of African-American women making noise in politics across the country, here in Forsyth County women like Maize Woodruff, Earline Parmon and Vivian Burke were blazing a trail and setting an example for girls of color across the county.

On Dec. 3, another name will join those ranks when Tonya McDaniel is sworn in as the third black woman to serve as a County Commissioner.

McDaniel, a Winston-Salem native and graduate of Winston-Salem State University, was the top vote-getter in the May 2018 Midterm Election, where she faced off against two incumbent candidates – Everette Witherspoon, and Fleming El-Amin – and Tony Burton III. After her victory, McDaniel said she decided to run because District A needed a “vision for constituency.”

She said for too long District A has been at a disadvantage and she felt it was time for a win.

“So I figured I would be the catalyst behind that push,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel is considered a newcomer to the world of politics. But McDaniel, the director of human resources for United Health Centers and second vice president of the local NAACP branch, said she stands on the shoulders of the women who came before her.

In 2012, McDaniel served as the campaign manager for Sen. Earline Parmon. She also credits Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke, Rep. Logan Burke and Maize Woodruff, the first black woman to serve as a County Commissioner, for paving the way for her as well. 

“Previous to working with Dr. Parmon, I have to pay homage to Dr. Vivian Burke and Rep. Logan Burke because if it wasn’t for them seeing the vision that District A needed to have representation that represented the constituency, I wouldn’t be here. So I would start with them. And when I worked with Earline, she would always talk about Maize Woodruff, and although I never got to meet her, I feel like I got to know her through Earline,” said McDaniel. “…So I kind of feel like I’m working in the spirit of Mrs. Parmon and Mrs. Woodruff as the third African-American female here in Forsyth County to serve as a commissioner.”

During her time working with Senator Parmon, McDaniel said she learned the importance of doing the grassroots work to connect with the people. She said, “Not only do you need the votes of the people you have to be connected to the people. They need to see your face.

“…I told my constituents to stay close. I don’t know everything but I’m open to learn,” she continued.

When discussing some of the challenges in District A, which includes more than 70,000 voters, equity within the school system was a major point of emphasis for McDaniel. She also discussed ensuring teachers receive adequate pay.

McDaniel also discussed her excitement to work with Sheriff-elect Bobby Kimbrough, who defeated longtime incumbent Bill Schatzman in the primary election last week.

Since losing her own son to gun violence, McDaniel has been an advocate for gun safety. She said during his campaign, Kimbrough said a lot about community safety, and she supports his efforts.

“I’m determined to ensure that funding will happen for Ashley [Academy for Cultural and Global Studies] and I’m determined to ensure our Board of Education has access to funding,” continued McDaniel.

McDaniel will be sworn in during the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, Dec. 3 at the Forsyth County Government Center, 201 N. Chestnut St. When looking forward to Dec. 3, McDaniel said her daughter, who served as her campaign manager, and granddaughter will be there on the historic day. She said she hopes leave a strong legacy for them just as Parmon, Burke and Woodruff did for her.

“I want the McDaniel family to have a legacy here in Forsyth County,” she said. “I want my daughter to realign herself with this community because I won’t always be here, so I want to leave you guys with something.” 

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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