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US Senate and NC General Assembly candidates pitch their priorities at forum

Reginald McCaskill gives instructions during the candidates forum held at the Winston-Salem Urban League last week.

US Senate and NC General Assembly  candidates pitch their priorities at forum
May 11
16:18 2022

With less than two weeks until the primary election on May 17, last week some of the candidates vying for seats in the U.S. Senate and N.C. General Assembly came together to discuss their views on the future of the state during a nonpartisan forum held at the Winston-Salem Urban League. 

The forum, held on Thursday, May 5, was the last in a series of four forums designed to give voters a chance to ask questions of the candidates about their plans if elected.

Before answering questions about education, Roe vs. Wade, and several other pressing issues, each of the candidates in attendance introduced themselves. 

In the race for District 71 in the N.C. General Assembly, no matter who wins, there will be a new representative. Incumbent Evelyn Terry announced she would not seek re-election last year. 

Voters will decide among Terry’s husband, Frederick Terry (D), a former member of the Winston-Salem City Council, or well-known community leaders Dave Moore (D), and Kanika Brown (D). 

Terry said his experience makes him the best candidate. He served two terms as representative of the Southeast Ward on the city council and on numerous boards. He also mentioned work he has done with the Winston-Salem Police Department and Winston-Salem Fire Department. 

“This is no time for experimentation. We need individuals who have shown or have an idea of what they’re going to do,” said Terry during his opening statement.” 

Moore, who is the founder of the Southside Rides Foundation and Project MOORE (Mentoring Our Own and Rejuvenating the Environment), a program that teaches students the auto body trade, along with how to be an entrepreneur, said he is the best candidate because he knows what our people need. 

Moore said if elected his focus will be bringing an end to gun violence and creating economic opportunities in underserved communities. 

“When the kids come into the program, I have them write an essay to learn more about them. I’m also on the Gang Steering Committee. I’m respected in this community,” Moore said. “I can’t say I’ll stop all the shootings and killings, but I can promise you I can slow it down.” 

Brown  did not attend the forum. 

The primary race for District 74, which represents voters in Lewisville and Clemmons, will come down to Democrats Carla Catalan Day and Sean Lew. The winner will face Republican Jeff Zenger in the General Election in November. 

Day, who is a registered environmental health specialist, said she decided to run because she would love to see a North Carolina that works for everyone. Expanding healthcare and making sure the public is safe is at the top of Day’s list of priorities if elected. 

“I would love to see a North Carolina that is for all,” Day continued. “Expanding healthcare, making sure our public schools are adequately funded, and making sure there is safety and justice for all so that all of us can walk down the street in our neighborhoods and not fear being shot.” 

Sean Lew and Jeff Zenger were not in attendance during the forum. 

Since U.S. Senator Richard Burr announced he isn’t running for re-election, more than two dozen people filed to run for the seat; including Democrats Dr. Tobias LaGrone, B.K. Maginnis, and Rett Newton. 

LaGrone (D), a minister and psychotherapist from Greensboro, said he announced his candidacy last April because he didn’t see a candidate he would vote for. LaGrone, who calls himself a “conservative Democrat,” said, “We have seen Democrats fall behind because the leaders of the party have failed the people.”

Talking points for LaGrone included voting rights for all, increased economic opportunity, and social justice reform. 

“I’ve been voting Democrat for 35 years and we’ve seen promise after promise broken by the old Democratic leaders. We are behind in home ownership, economic opportunity, and we have experienced setback after setback,” LaGrone continued. “We don’t need a passive United States senator. Let it be clear, as a lifelong Democrat, I will not accept a timid, prim, and proper male or female version of Barack Obama. We need a senator who will go to Washington and make things happen.” 

Maginnis (D), who is a small business owner, lists his top three priorities as the economy and jobs, voting rights, and racial/gender equality. During his opening statement, Maginnis took most of his time talking about who wasn’t at the forum, specifically former Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley, who is running for the senate as well. 

“What I want to know is who’s not here today and that’s the presumptive winner for this race, Cheri Beasley,” Maginnis continued. “She’s not even advertising in the Black papers … because she’s taking you for granted. It’s ridiculous, that’s why you got a Black candidate right … that’s why you want one. You want one who is going to listen to you and she’s not listening to you. It’s just another politician unfulfilling their promises.” 

Newton (D), a former U.S. Air Force colonel and mayor of Beaufort, says he’s running for U.S. Senate to be the voice of North Carolina’s working people. Newton said up until Jan. 6, 2021, he had no intention of running for the senate, but after watching what happened at the U.S. Capitol, all that changed. 

“After watching the insurrection and the actions that continue to this day, I just can’t sit on the sidelines while our democracy is under attack,” Newton continued. “The framework of our campaign is to protect democracy at home and abroad, reverse the effects of climate change, protect our environment, and help those thousands of North Carolinians who are really struggling right now.”

Laura Pichardo (R) who is running to represent the newly drawn 6th Congressional District, also attended the forum. The newly-drawn district encompasses Caswell, Randolph, and Guilford counties and parts of Forsyth County. While giving her opening statement, Pichardo mentioned if elected she would push for increased funding for education, mental health counseling and increased spending in rural areas. 

The Candidates Forum was part of a series of nonpartisan events collectively planned by several partners including the Black Political Awareness League, the Winston-Salem Urban League, the Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity, the local branch of the NAACP and The Chronicle. 

The video of this forum and past forums are posted on The Chronicle’s Facebook page. 

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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