CHAPEL HILL – The short session of the North Carolina General Assembly doesn’t begin until June, and Senator Valerie Foushee says she’s taking the time to meet with the people she represents both in Raleigh and out in the community.
“I’ve established office hours in Raleigh, and I’ve also engaged in town hall meetings; I’ve had two of them now: one in Hillsborough, and one in Pittsboro,” Sen. Foushee says. “It’s been exciting getting to meet new people and having the opportunity to reconnect with others that I’ve served before and just hearing their concerns.”
Sen. Foushee was appointed to the District 23 seat replacing 17-year senator, Ellie Kinnaird. She left the House of Representatives District 50 seat which was recently filled by Graig Meyer.
The legislative shuffle leaves Sen. Foushee and Rep.-appointee Meyer finishing out the terms that expire in December 2014. That puts the primary election one week before either will officially govern from their new seat.
“I didn’t run to campaign, I ran to serve,” Sen. Foushee says. “I serve every day. So, I don’t give too much thought about who’s going to run or what’s going to happen. Every day when I step outside, I’m thinking about how I’m serving the people of District 23.”
Click here for Meyer’s plan for fighting to hold onto the House 50 seat.
Hopeful municipal and school board leaders are currently fighting that fight in Orange County, as Election Day is Tuesday.
If the early voting period is a sign of things to come, Sen. Foushee says she’s concerned about this year’s turnout in Orange County.
“I’m hoping that people are not developing complacency, because this is critical that we do exercise our right to vote,” Sen. Foushee says.
And she says it’s important to get the right people in office, not just for governing you at the local level.
“One of the ways we prepare leaders for state and national levels is to be involved at the local level, because all politics is local,” Sen. Foushee says.
Tune in to the WCHL Sunday Morning News to hear about a town hall meeting Sen. Foushee is holding in Chapel Hill Next week.
She says you can meet with her Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Legislative Office Buildinghttp://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/sen-foushee-i-didnt-run-to-campaign-i-ran-to-serve/
CHAPEL HILL- The four-member committee that will pick a replacement for former state senator Ellie Kinniard heard from the seven people who have put their names forward to fill the vacant seat.
Ellie Kinnaird announced her resignation August 19. She was on hand at the forum and spoke briefly, endorsing former Representative Alice Bordsen. Kinnaird said Bordsen, who served five terms in the House and is the current first vice-chair of the Orange County Democrats, has the experience necessary to step into the position right away. Bordsen also touted her experience representing Alamance County, citing her work to help children and senior citizens.
Heidi Chapman, a personal injury attorney in Chapel Hill, said she’s seen the positive impact the community college system can have in the lives of people who are out of work, but she worries the system is being undermined by the current education budget.
Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton argued that the role of the appointee should not just be to lobby for specific issues, but to work to win back the legislature from Republican control. He said his campaign experience in Chapel Hill and Carrboro municipal elections can help get the Democratic Party organized in 2014.
State House Representative Valerie Foushee said since being elected to the General Assembly last year she’s built relationships with Republican members of the House that helped move OrangeCounty’s agenda forward. Nonetheless, she said she’d fight to tip the balance back to Democratic control.
Lynette Hartsell, an attorney from Cedar Grove, said she’d champion equality as an advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens. She called for Democrats to stand up for LGBT civil rights.
Jim Porto, former mayor of Carrboro, said he would not run for re-election if appointed. Instead he would focus on rebranding the Democratic Party to appeal to moderate voters alienated by the GOP’s agenda.
Amy Tiemann spoke of her local business ties to Chatham County and her ability to raise money for Democratic candidates. She said she’ll bring a science background to issues like fracking and climate change.
Committee members also had a chance to ask the candidates specific questions, and while they did touch on policy issues like restoring education funding and protecting women’s reproductive rights, much of the conversation revolved around the need for fundraising and organizing to shore up the Democratic Party ahead of next year’s election.
The courthouse at 179 East Franklin was standing room only for much of the three hour meeting, with many staying until the end to hear public comment. Of the fifteen who addressed the committee, more than half spoke in favor of Valerie Foushee.
The committee will make nominations and vote on September 8 at the Chatham Community Library. The two Orange County representatives control 446 votes between them, while the Chatham representatives control 212. Committee members can split their votes any way they choose. The winning candidate will need 330 votes to secure the appointment.
ORANGE COUNTY – Barry Jacobs has served on the Orange County Board of Commissioners since 1998 and was unanimously elected as chair in 2013.
He worked with Valerie Foushee for her entire time on the BoCC, as well as working with her while she was on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools board. He worked with Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton. And, he worked with State House Representative Alice Bordsen since she represented the western part of Alamance County, including Mebane, which bleeds into Orange County.
Jacobs spoke with WCHL’s Ran Northam about all the candidates on the Wednesday Afternoon News.
***Listen to the Interview***