Who will take on Virginia Foxx?

D.D. Adams and Jenny Marshall

Who will take on Virginia Foxx?
April 19
02:00 2018

Denise “DD” Adams and Jenny Marshall debated in front of a standing room only crowd of fellow Democrats at the Central Library last week over which one of them should challenge Rep. Virginia Foxx in this year’s election.

Both Adams and Marshall are running for the 5th District seat that’s been held by the six-term Republican representative since 2005. Foxx does have primary challengers, but is expected to win her party’s nomination again.

Adams is a City Council member who represents Winston-Salem’s North Ward. Marshall is a former teacher and first-time candidate.  Both have their work cut out for them. Foxx won in 2016 by nearly 17 percent of the vote. According to Federal Election Commission reports, Adams’ campaign had $9,962.92 on hand at the end of last year and Marshall’s campaign had $17,717.43. Foxx’s campaign has more than $2.8 million on hand.

Both candidates were undeterred at the April 11 event and said it doesn’t take big money to mobilize voters, promising that their campaigns’ ground games will do just that.

“You’re never going to beat that kind of money, frankly, but what I do say is boots on the ground beats buckets of money. Period,” said Marshall. “We go make the case to the voters at their doors because, oftentimes, when I go out and talk to voters, no body has bothered to knock on their door. Nobody has called them on the phone.”

Marshall didn’t consider Adams’ notoriety on the City Council an advantage since she’d be largely unknown outside of the city and even to some who live in it who don’t know who their elected officials are.

Adams said that she didn’t feel being from the city gave her a disadvantage in the more rural parts of the largely Republican 5th District, which covers parts of 11 northwestern North Carolina counties, including all of Forsyth. She said her body of work and background, which included summers working on a farm when she was young, let her connect with voters even in overwhelmingly white rural areas.

“When I go to the High Country, I tell them the story of my life,” said Adams. “Yes, in the High Country I look different, but the thing I tell them is that I’m the 5th. I was born and raised here.”

Both candidates have similar stances on a number of issues including raising the minimum wage, protecting Social Security and Medicare, ensuring the wealthy pay their “fair share” of taxes, supporting the DREAM Act and having a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Both support a universal “Medicare for all” single-payer healthcare system. They supported various proposed gun laws like restricting high capacity magazines, banning bump stocks and preventing those with mental illness, restraining orders and domestic violence convictions from getting a gun.

Both support decriminalizing marijuana, which Adams called a “cash cow.”

“The people in the High Country, when you mention bringing marijuana into the farms of Wilson, Avery and Ashe, they’re all all in,” said Adams. “They’d rather grow marijuana than Christmas trees.”

There were some differences between their answers. Both talked about better training and accountability to reduce police brutality, but Marshall proposed that the U.S. Justice Department should investigate every officer-involved shooting so there’s a neutral party reviewing each incident. Adams talked about reducing college debt while Marshall talked about tuition-free college funded by the federal government.

Adams talked about reforming immigration, including eliminating raids that tear families apart in the middle of the night and immigration detention centers. Marshall wanted to eliminate Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (ICE), which she said was formed out of “fear.” She said the country should revert back to previous practices for dealing with deportations.  ICE is a 16 year-old agency created by the 2002 Homeland Security Act during the post-9/11 Bush Administration.

Marshall declared during the debate that she wasn’t taking any corporate PAC or lobbyist money. When asked after the debate, Adams said she would also not take corporate PAC money or donations from those who didn’t align with her beliefs.

Marshall also said she’d stand up to not just Republicans, but fellow Democrats, too, on things she felt didn’t empower the community or build a better future.

Forsyth Democratic Party Chair Eric Ellison had attendees promise to support whoever wins the primary.

“Whichever one of you wins, we’ll be well represented,” said Ellison.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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