ROY CARTER TAKING ON VIRGINIA FOXX IN NORTH CAROLINA
Last year I met Drew Lumpkin when he was managing the congressional campaign of Roger Sharpe in North Carolina's very Republican 5th CD in the extreme northwestern part of the state. The district is mostly rural, overwhelmingly white, and gave Bush two-thirds of it's vote in 2000 and 2004. Their representative is Virginia Foxx and if you view her horrendous voting record through ProgressivePunch's new "Chips Are Down" widget, you find that there have been only 12 Republicans with perfect zeros, members so partisan than they have never once stepped away from reflexive rubber stampism on a tough issue. Virgina Foxx is one of those 12 (along with the worst reactionaries in Congress like Patrick McHenry, Tim Walberg, Steve King, and Michele Bachmann, the puke lady). Roger put up a feisty battle and garnered 43% of the vote, a healthy start in this red of a district. But he isn't running again. Drew e-mailed me and told me that Democrats in NC-05 have rallied around Roy Carter instead. He isn't working in the Carter campaign but I asked him to give me a brief rundown about how the race looks. Here's his report:
Plain and simple, Virginia Foxx is a disaster for our district. Her voting record is embarrassing, seen most recently in her vote against the child health insurance program. Because, however, her work ethic and name recognition are formidable, especially in a gerrymandered Republican district, it will take a lot to unseat her. Yet, a campaign gaining traction and momentum before the Democratic primary has a chance to capitalize on the widespread discontent within this district. Currently, only one man has stepped up to the plate: Roy Carter.
I had the chance to grab dinner with him a couple of nights ago. There I wanted to get a better feel for him and ask him several questions to introduce him to the people of the district-- and those willing to listen. Frankly, I was quite impressed. Two themes run constant throughout our discussion: the need for Representatives to mirror the conscious of his/her constituents, and to protect, nurture, and develop our younger generations.
Let me give you a brief biography for some larger context. Roy Carter grew up in a poor household, son of a farmer and a factory worker. His family was a politically involved family, teaching him the importance of public activism. As such, Carter’s love of politics is a lifelong thing. He laughed saying that if he didn’t read the political news page first, it was read after the sports page. He was the first person in his family to get a college degree, and afterwards, he decided that he wanted to get into the teaching and coaching professions. He has taught and coached football throughout Western North Carolina, lastly serving in Ashe, Wilkes, and Surry counties. He currently resides in Ashe County with his wife, Patricia. They have three children.
What skills, talents, and qualities do you have to represent me and the people of this district?
Currently, there is little trust between American citizens and their representatives in Congress. He is a man of deep integrity, and his honesty and sincerity will represent the conscious of the district. In logical application, he says that he will not sell his soul to big industries and lobbies like Big Oil and Big Pharma. He says that he can also offer his heart and his strong work habits. Being a teacher and a coach saps a lot of his time, but he manages to work diligently each and every day to get the Democratic nomination in this district, to which I can personally attest.
We have heard it said that public service is one of the noblest callings, but Carter fully embodies this principle; it isn’t a hollow cliché with Carter, as his coaching and teaching underlie service to others. He admits that he never made any money teaching and coaching but takes great pride in affecting the lives of young people. This inner calling has lead Carter to seek the Democratic nomination for the 5th District.
What is wrong with our current representation in the Fifth District?
According to Carter, Foxx shows, "a total lack of concern and conscious for the people of the 5th District." He started listing votes in which Foxx voted against the well-being of the district, but in truth, my pen couldn’t keep up: ethics, environmentalism, government accountability, the new child health insurance program, and the like. In a time of bitter partisanship, Carter says that Foxx votes straight down party lines: "Foxx does not have a bipartisan bone in her body." He believes that there is a give and take in order to achieve the proper legislative ends for the people of the district, but Foxx is incapable of doing so. Not only does she have the inability to reach across the isle, Foxx is the loudest cheerleader to President Bush, despite his abysmally low ratings.
Should you become the Democratic nominee, how will you win this race against Virginia Foxx?
I want to keep Carter’s answer short and general here, because if I was to write everything he said, I would give away a strong portion of his game plan. Simply speaking, however, Carter believes that it is his job to convince people to believe in him, and I hear he does this quite well, as he excited the hard-working Watauga Democrats.
Every person running for public office believes they need a strong grassroots campaign to achieve victory. In like mind, Carter believes the veracity of this principle. He, however, is in the midst of setting up strong campaign structures within each of the 12 counties in the 5th district. Again, Carter doesn’t just spout campaign clichés, he backs them up in practice. By running a smart campaign in the netroots and doing all of the "modern things" (i.e., facebook, myspace, etc.), Carter believes that he can reach a new and emerging demographic, one especially targeting younger demographics. Finally, Carter mentioned the need for several innovative fundraisers and events to galvanize the people of the district. I asked for specific examples to these, and let me just say, I am enthused with the direction of his campaign.
What would your legislative priorities be if you find yourself becoming the next Representative of the 5th District?
Carter is not naïve enough to believe that he would get a lot of bills passed as a freshman Congressman-- how refreshing an answer-- but he does recognize that any Democrat will have much more power in the House of Representatives than a representative in the minority party. With this in mind, Carter believes that there are some issues in which he can’t be silent. He promises to be a loud and audible voice to get out of Iraq as soon as humanly possible. As he says, you can’t help but cringe when young people die over in Iraq. Second, Carter will not be silent about education issues. People in our district are generally unable to save enough money to send their children to college, so for example, we must expand student aide for people to go to college. Remember, Carter has dedicated his life to the education of youth. Finally, he promises to be a voice and an advocate for community building and economic development within our district. Jobs are our number one export, yet Foxx believes that our economy is strong and thriving.
Since, Boone is in this district, I don’t have a problem using this metaphor: if Appalachian State can upset Michigan in the Big House, Roy Carter can beat Virginia Foxx in the 5th District. Truthfully, I think this district is primed and ready for another such upset!