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The fight to represent the 2nd Congressional District is heating up with the Republican incumbent George Holding facing Allen Chesser while Democrats Linda Coleman, Wendy Ella May and Ken Romley vie to represent their party on the ballot in November.
Ahead of the May 8 primary, The Wilson Times is quizzing candidates on the issues and allowing them to deliver their message in their own words. The three Democratic candidates are featured today. Both Republican candidates will be profiled in a subsequent installment.
Questions about the post on Capitol Hill were distributed to the candidates and their responses were limited to 120 words each. The answers, organized in alphabetical order by last name, are provided below.
Why did you want to run for this position and what affect do U.S. representatives have on Wilson County residents?
Coleman: I wanted to run for this position because I believe that the people of the 2nd District are not currently receiving adequate representation. There are still too many people without health care, too many communities that do not have adequate infrastructure, and too (many) rural North Carolina communities that have not experienced the same boost seen in the cities. The U.S. representative in Wilson County should be fighting for improved infrastructure in rural communities, budgets that provide full funding for programs like Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps) and CHIP, and workforce development programs that lead to jobs that pay a fair wage. The people of Wilson County need a representative who will fight for them on all of those issues, and many more.
May: My name is Wendy Ella May. I am a disabled veteran, minister, retired volunteer firefighter and community organizer. I am running for Congress to represent the working families of North Carolina and to ensure their voices will continue to be heard in the halls of the United States Congress.
Romley: America must be a place where the American dream is alive and well for all its citizens. This ideal is under attack by special interests looking to change the rules for the benefit of a privileged few. I am running for Congress to restore economic opportunities, re-establish our vital safety-net and level the playing field again for all Americans, including those living here in Wilson County.
What sets you and your platform apart from your opponents?
Coleman: My platform is based on values, which will appeal to all voters, regardless of party affiliation. I believe that we are all united by a desire for better education for our children, better jobs and wages for working families, and better health care for all. My platform addresses needs in the 2nd District that are not currently being met by the incumbent representative. Additionally, I have devoted my professional career to helping others, as a high school teacher, a human personnel representative and an elected official. I truly believe that public service is my calling, and I know that I have the experience and passion to be the representative that the 2nd District deserves.
May: I am the only candidate with a contract with the voters at www.cfar2018.com and a plan to send George Holding home.
Romley: I’m an innovator, engineer and problem-solver, not a career politician. I’m the only candidate with private-sector success, having proved that I can create economic opportunity by building four successful businesses here in N.C. that produced hundreds of good-paying jobs. I am the only candidate who has a science background, producing new products through an understanding of the modern economy; the understanding of which is critical to making the smart investments and policies that will foster opportunities here in Wilson County. And, I am the only candidate with the experience of starting with small teams and changing the way large organizations operate. If there is any place in America that needs to change the way it operates, it’s Washington.
What issues do you think voters care about the most at the federal level and where do you stand on those topics?
Coleman: In the past year, we have seen a wave of civic engagement across the country. The intense negative response toward a proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act is one such example. I remain committed to making improvements to the ACA and moving toward a day when health care in America is a guaranteed right. Furthermore, I believe that people want to feel like the federal government is hearing and addressing their concerns. We have seen this on issues like health care, gun reform, DACA and the GOP tax cut, where opinions that are held by the majority of the country were ignored by elected officials. I’m committed to represent all my constituents rather than high-money donors and special interest groups.
May: The CFAR2018 contract address 11 issues: raising the minimum wage, infrastructure repair, addressing climate change, ending the war in Afghanistan, making the rich pay their fair share, making corporations pay their fair share, protecting and expanding Social Security, protecting Medicare and initiating universal health care, protecting jobs by eliminating bad trade agreements, overturning Citizens United, tuition-free public colleges and universities.
Romley: I have spent months talking with 2nd District voters every day. I hear that we must fix health care to cover all Americans. We must educate our children to prepare them for 21st-century jobs. We must do more to prevent gun violence by enacting common-sense gun laws and promoting a culture of gun safety. And we must take climate change seriously, ensuring that future generations have a healthy environment. Also, voters are deeply troubled by an erratic and dishonest president.
If elected, you’ll spend a lot of time in Washington, but how will you balance that time with time in our community talking with constituents?
Coleman: I believe that one of the most important aspects of holding elected office is maintaining constant contact with your constituents, and if elected, I would ensure that I had open lines of communication with the people of my district. I would make myself available for town hall meetings to address their concerns — something that the incumbent has not done in over 1,800 days — as well as having an active in-district office committed to keeping apprised with the issues that are most relevant to my constituents. The people of District 2 have gone too long without a representative who is committed to hearing their concerns and fighting for them in Congress, and I believe that needs to change.
May: I will work hard to be available to all voters and will staff an office near them to support the needs of the communities. I have signed a pledge to hold four town hall meeting a year in district.
Romley: Unlike our current representative, I believe it’s very important to provide our communities an opportunity to publicly discuss issues of concern with their elected representative. I am committed to an ongoing schedule of town hall meetings and other open forums across the district to make sure that I am available.