Carolina Democracy

Primary Mashup - State & Local Candidates

May 06, 2022 JD Wooten Episode 17
Carolina Democracy
Primary Mashup - State & Local Candidates
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Selected highlights from past local and state candidate guests currently on primary ballots around North Carolina!

Aminah Ghaffar:

Tracy Furman:

Dr. Kimberly Hardy:

Tammi Thurm:

Eddie Aday:

North Carolina State Board of Elections:

Contact Us:

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Support the show

JD Wooten: Hey everyone, JD Wooten here. Welcome back for a bonus edition of Carolina Democracy. And no, despite how much I want to dive into all my thoughts on Justice Alito’s draft opinion eviscerating not just the right to abortion, but completely undermining a century of Supreme Court precedent around the fundamental right to privacy and autonomy, I’ll save those comments for another day. Quite honestly, I’m still trying to sort through my own thoughts. And  I mean, one of Justice Alito’s primary sources to support his arguments against privacy rights is an old English jurist who quite literally executed women for witchcraft and defended marital rape. I mean, where do I even start with that?

 Anyways, for now I will just say that the Court’s decision to have Justice Alito write this draft, and then the gaslighting he does throughout the opinion, feels like the functional equivalent of the radical right giving a giant double middle finger to the roughly 85% of the country who support abortion rights in at least some way. We have a lot of problems in this country to address, and this is not going to help a single one of them. Also, it’s a draft opinion and there’s not much I can do about the   draft. But what I can do is fight like hell to get as many people elected as possible who believe in democracy and democratic values, like individual liberty and the right to be free of government interference in our private lives. 

And since early voting is underway and we’re less than two weeks away from the primary election, I thought I would put together a compilation of highlights from several of our past guests who are on the primary ballot. This episode only features local and general assembly candidates. I’ll do another similar compilation soon for North Carolina Congressional candidates. Don’t forget -- in person early voting runs until May 14th. You can also still request a mail-in absentee ballot through the North Carolina Absentee Ballot Portal, but only until May 10th. Finally, the primary election is on May 17th. Please, go vote, and take a friend…or a hundred. No really, engaging in the democratic process and getting others to do the same is the most important thing we can do right now to protect democracy.

The news this week has sucked. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court is going to do what it’s going to do, and there’s very little we can do in the short term to change that. But we can fight like hell to elect representatives at all levels of government who believe in and support democracy and democratic values. And with that, here are excerpts from my interviews with several candidate for local or state office that fit that description. If you want to hear more, I recommend listening to their full interviews. I’ll leave links in the show notes to hear their full interviews and to learn more about these candidates and how you can support them.

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JD Wooten: With me today is Aminah Ghaffar, a Pembroke native and member of the Lumbee Tribe. Aminah is running to represent North Carolina House District 47 in Robeson County. Welcome, Aminah.

Aminah Ghaffar: Thank you JD, I'm excited to be here. 

JD Wooten: So let's start with the million dollar question. Why are you running for the North Carolina House? 

Aminah Ghaffar: I've spent most of my working career as an advocate. So the domestic violence advocacy ,missing and murdered Indigenous people advocacy, and environmental advocacy. I really wanted to use this opportunity to extend my advocacy and my public service to my community.

JD Wooten: Okay. So why don't you tell me some more about that advocacy experience that you've had so far and how that might tie into your work in the House? 

Aminah Ghaffar: Absolutely. So I've done a lot of grassroots efforts to get people aware of different things that are going on in the area and nationwide. And talking to people, and a lot of times, not even talking, but listening, and listening to understand, not listening to change someone's mind, but really getting to the core of understanding who people are and what they're going through. And being able to amplify that, for whoever needs to hear it, whether that'd be policy makers or whether that be other elected officials. 

JD Wooten: North Carolina once had a stellar reputation for its public schools, although that's started languishing a bit in the last several years. One of the more egregiously impacted counties, as I understand it, has been Robeson County. How would you like to see the state address these educational shortcomings? 

Aminah Ghaffar: Well, I do think that one of the questions that keeps coming up is private schools getting access to public school funding. And that's just not acceptable to me. And that again, in my opinion, I think that that's saying if your child can't afford, or if this family can't afford, to provide their child with this level of education, then they're not going to be able to get it on a public school level, and I think that's wrong. I think that there's a, there's a horrible class discrepancy when we're talking about being able to send your child to private school and being able to or, you know, having a child at the public school system. So I think there's a, there's a socioeconomic component to the issue that's occurring when it comes to what's happening to our public schools. And being somebody who even went to a private school for, from eight to 12th grade, I can speak from, from my experience that the difference in the education that I got here and the education that I got at the private school. And even going to a lab in eighth grade, being able to go to a geology lab and learning about just, just a lab, a general science lab, was mind blowing. And it was something that wasn't provided for me at Pembroke Elementary or Pembroke Middle School. I think every child should have access to good education, high quality education, where they're being prepared for college, for trade schools, or whatever. So even diversifying the options that we're giving our kids to tailor to what their strong suits are. And I also think that, when we're making sure that we're investing in public schools, we're investing in futures, we're investing in the next generation of workforce. And so I also think that why wouldn't public schools of Robeson County be considered as, you know, the next generation of, of leaders or the next generation of, of people. And that, that's what bothers me about it is because I feel like when that funding doesn't go here or those efforts don't go here, that you're saying that those futures don't matter, or those futures aren't worthy of our investment. And so that kind of makes me a little disheartened and I see a little bit angry because we have some very brilliant children around here. We have some really amazing minds here, and we also have amazing teachers in the county that are under-resourced and don't get the proper pay and are overburdened in their classrooms. And so I think that, again, investing in, and not just the children's futures, but also the amazing educators who are dedicating their lives to making sure that the next generation is taken care of is of utmost importance to me.

JD Wooten: I couldn't agree more. I think, first off public funds are for public schools. If you want to send your kid to private school, that's great. 

Aminah Ghaffar: That's your business.

JD Wooten: That's your business. Have at it, but not with, not with the taxpayer dollars. Taxpayer dollars are for the public schools. 

Aminah Ghaffar: Exactly. 

JD Wooten: And your note on teachers, we woefully under compensate our teachers across the state. Even in the best supplemented counties, we're still woefully under compensating our educators. Because, you know, people like to talk about, oh, well, where do we rank in these, you know, state rankings with, with teacher pay or whatever. And I get that desire to talk about those rankings. But I think what really matters is how are we compensating our educators versus somebody that has the same education and experience level in the private sector across the street? Because that's where we're losing our educators too. They're not leaving North Carolina to go to Virginia. They're leaving the school to go across the street to the private sector. And last time I checked, we were somewhere in the ballpark, 48th or 49th in the country by that metric. 

Aminah Ghaffar: Wow. I do want to make sure that I say that I had a great relationship with most of my teachers in public schools and the decision to go to private school had nothing to do with the quality of teachers that I had. It had everything to do with just creating or having access to more academic challenges. You'll hear the same story from most of us that we kind of walked into higher education a little bit unprepared when it came to college curriculum. And so I think it's important to again, invest in making sure that our schools get the same access to education and not just in AP classes or IB classes. But you know, across the board, whatever academic level that students may be at. Everyone should get the same access to the quality education, because I think that that's a comment smoke screen that people miss is that, okay, well, we'll just put our gifted students here and make sure they get access to all these things, but then you're still leaving a lot of people behind in that sense. 

JD Wooten: So is there anything else you want people to know about you or your campaign?

Aminah Ghaffar: You can find me at Pretty simple. 

JD Wooten: All right. So if I want to go volunteer for your campaign, I go to

Aminah Ghaffar: Yes. Volunteer or donate, whichever one you feel led to do.

JD Wooten: Well said. Aminah, thank you so much. It has been an absolute pleasure having you today. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. 

Aminah Ghaffar: Yeah, thank you for having me. I really enjoyed the show. 

JD Wooten: With me today is Tracy Furman, Executive Director of Triad Local First and At-Large Candidate for the Greensboro City Council. Welcome Tracy. 

Tracy Furman: Hi JD, how are you? 

JD Wooten: I'm well, thank you. Thank you so much for being here today. What led you run for an at-large seat for the Greensboro City Council?

Tracy Furman: I live in District Three now for the City Council and I've lived in different districts all over Greensboro. And not to say that District Three doesn't speak to me, but I do feel like where I've lived in other parts of this city and other groups that I belong to and work with on a regular basis, I feel like we need to pull the city together. And we need to have this ability to reach all parts and I feel very comfortable with that. So running at-large, I don't just have to represent a certain section of town. I can represent the whole town. 

JD Wooten: I love that. So what are your top priorities for this campaign?

Tracy Furman: The bullet points are jobs, housing, transportation, environment, and fighting crime. With jobs, because of the work I do, I'm a very firm believer that a strong economy is only as strong as their smallest businesses. And if small businesses are struggling, then your economy and your community is struggling. I really want to find a way to support our smaller businesses, make it a little easier in different avenues to do business in Greensboro. There are some things that are, I've listened to some business owners tell me, when I went to start my business, I had trouble with X, Y, and Z. And I think, oh, gosh, well, we can fix that. It doesn't have to be this complicated or this disruptive to what they're doing. So there's that piece of it. We have these three or four large businesses coming in. We have Publix, we have Toyota, we have Boom, I think we have an Amazon somewhere. These are big companies, but they don't produce everything. So what can we do to support those big companies with smaller businesses and encouraging businesses that fix the manufacturing machines, cleaning services, supplies make the little, whatever the widget is that goes in that supersonic jet. Let's find ways to bring those businesses here so that it's easy for them to manufacture them. The shipping is no longer an issue because it's not coming from some other place in the world or the country, and it grows our economy. We become stronger because we have all this, and those big businesses are less likely to pick up and move if they have a lot of infrastructure that supports them. So the way we do that is we help other businesses support them and everybody's winning then, which is great That's kind of a big picture thing. Smaller picture and this kind of goes into not exactly housing, but it's part of an infill plan that I have is to really work on filling all these empty buildings we have. We have a lot of empty buildings and they've been sitting empty for a really long time, and there's not a lot of incentive to fix them and put somebody in them to run a shop. So I would really like to look at small business tax incentives to fix these empty buildings and move in and put viable businesses inside them. We also have a lot of space that is sitting empty, projects that didn't finish in 2008. Maybe there were buildings there they've been knocked down the land's just sitting there empty. 

JD Wooten: So let me go back to that first point then on the jobs and the growth, the economic development, how do you think your work as an executive director for a nonprofit that's dedicated to promoting and strengthening economic growth and sustainability of local independently owned businesses could impact your thinking when serving on the council?

Tracy Furman: Wow. Definitely, my knowledge base comes from being able to talk to lots of different types of businesses and lots of individuals who are their only employer as well. And being able to listen to what they have to say and what they're going through at whatever given time. The pandemic is just one example of things happening that were challenging to particularly small businesses. But yeah, so that will help me on council because I do have a lot of people that I can call and say, what's going on with, you know Spring Garden Street. And what's going on in Spring Garden Street might not be the same things that are happening on South Elm Street or up on Pisgah Church. There's lots of places we have small businesses that need attention and they might need different things. And I think my work at Triad Local First has opened me up to being able to talk to lots of different people. 

JD Wooten: So where can people go to learn more about you, your campaign, how they can help you get elected? 

Tracy Furman: I have a website. It is and if you are looking for a place to donate, the website has a button.

JD Wooten: Tracy, thank you so much for taking the time to join us today. It's been a real pleasure. 

Tracy Furman: Thank you so much JD, this was great, really great.

JD Wooten: With me today is Dr. Kimberly Hardy, a Professor of Social Work at Fayetteville State University. Dr. Hardy is running to represent District 43 in the North Carolina House. Welcome Dr. Hardy.

Kimberly Hardy: Thank you for having me. I'm glad to be here. 

JD Wooten: So now into the politics, this isn't your first rodeo. You also ran in 2020, and you had a heck of a campaign raising nearly a million dollars from over 14,000 contributors I believe. How was that experience? 

Kimberly Hardy: It was amazing. I was running against a six term incumbent and won in that primary. And so it's really interesting cause you have no idea what to expect going in. You're just full of idealism and energy and we can do this, let's make it happen. It was a lot of fun, but it was also very enlightening. I learned a lot of things that one only learns going through the process about voters. There is a granularity to this. Sort of a candidate only perspective or, or even maybe a campaign only perspective. And so I was very wonky around politics and very activist. But when you get into it and you start to understand it at levels that aren't usually talked about on the news or you start to understand how the issues, the issues really are the same across party lines because whatever policy is implemented is going to affect everybody who's impacted. But you know what I'm saying? Like, so if minimum wage goes up, it goes up. It doesn't just go up for one party or the other. And so you start to realize that there is this divide on ideology that is not real. It's constructed for political purposes, and particularly for one party over the other. And so you know, while I'm out there trying to campaign on issues that are affecting all of us: expanding access to healthcare, women's reproductive freedom, like things that affect people, regardless of party, there are folks whose reticence to, to hear those arguments is rooted primarily in partisan ideology and things that are quite actually lies.

JD Wooten: So, two immediate reactions. One on the ideology and divisions, I have yet to go to a gas pump that asked me if I was a Democrat or Republican first. 

Kimberly Hardy: Right? I don't pay a different price for groceries based on my party affiliation. 

JD Wooten: Exactly, we've got common, common problems that we need common solutions to. Wholeheartedly support that. Two, I'm glad to know I'm not alone. Maybe we should start a support group for candidates and recovering candidates. 

Kimberly Hardy: Yes. Recovering candidates anonymous.

JD Wooten: So I'll ask this question a little differently than I would ask most candidates. Why are you doing it again? 

Kimberly Hardy: Right. Well, because it still needs to be done. First of all, it's a shame that we have to say things like we need people who are going to be able to hold the Governor's veto. Like it's a shame that it's a foregone conclusion that that's a big chunk of the work that's going to have to get done at the State House level. But it is true. We can't do that unless we have reliable Democratic voices. We have to take the State House back. We have to take Raleigh back from extremists. It's bizarre because the views of those sort of extreme electeds don't even mirror the voter base of North Carolina. We have to get back to the way we use to govern in this state and be leaders nationally in progressive legislation and not pull so far to the right that it takes people's humanity away from them. So it still needs to be done, so I'm running for it again.

JD Wooten: So let's talk about affordable healthcare. I understand you support Medicaid Expansion, back to what we were saying earlier, as do the vast majority of North Carolinians. I believe you've also campaigned on the importance of a nurse in every school. I'd love to hear more on both or either of those. 

Kimberly Hardy: Well, they are connected. So when I was in K - 12, there was a nurse in my school building all day, every day, just like the teachers and other staff. Any of us got hurt. Any of us got sick. We had access to healthcare right there in the building. And you don't think about that at the time. But for some of these kids, they don't have access to health care that's accessible and affordable under any other circumstance because their parents work maybe two and three jobs, but because they don't have employer sponsored healthcare, they might not have access to Medicaid. And so we do know that half a million people in this state do not have access to Medicaid and they work every day harder than most because usually they're working two and three jobs. And so they are one child's broken leg or illness or a diagnosis away from not being able to pay the rent this month, or having to cut their grocery bill, especially when you consider how much the grocery prices are going up right now. So having someone there to attend to the basic health needs of a child, it's incredibly important. So I really believe that we need to have a nurse in every school, whether we expand Medicaid or not. But we also need to expand access to Medicaid, because like I said, we have families in this state who are working very hard to pull together a 40 hour a week paycheck and make ends meet. We're a donor state, we're one of 11 states now that has not done this work. We're a donor state because funds that we pay into the Medicaid system all the time are now going out to other states. So you're expanding Medicaid. You're just not doing it in your own state. 

JD Wooten: I understand you also want to establish universal pre-K and rebuild our schools. Where do we start that process? 

Kimberly Hardy: We have a constitutional responsibility in this states to provide an education, a good quality education, free and fair to every child regardless. We are not abiding by our own state constitution when we are not providing children with a bare education. So there's a bunch of things we can do. For example, infrastructure wise, we want our children to become 21st century learners, so they can become 21st century leaders. We want them to be able to grasp every opportunity that's available to them and for those opportunities to be numerous. We can't do that when the teachers are working in buildings that are not up to standard and they don't have like smart boards and other technology. Or when the buildings themselves are decaying and falling apart. 

From the teacher's perspective, they got a little bit of a raise this time. That's great. But that's insufficient. We need to increase the starting salaries. We need to bring back tenure. We need to bring back the pay increases that you get for getting your master's degree, because that incentivizes our teachers to continue perfecting their craft and to have that be something that they're paid for fairly. I would love it if we got to the point where we became a destination for people leaving teacher education programs, so that the best and brightest come here to teach our children to be the best in their future as well. So there's infrastructure, there's technology, there's salaries. There's adding the support staff of the nurses, the counselors, and the social workers. Like these are all the things that we have a responsibility constitutionally, but also morally and ethically.

JD Wooten: Absolutely. Dr. Hardy, most important question in the day, where can people go to learn more about you and ways to support your campaign? 

Kimberly Hardy: Oh, this is awesome. So I have a huge social media presence. So you can find me on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook, but you can launch to all of those places from the website, which is

JD Wooten: Dr. Hrady thank you so much for taking the time to join us today. It's been an absolute pleasure. 

Kimberly Hardy: Likewise, thank you so much for having me on. I really enjoyed it.

JD Wooten: With me today is Greensboro City Councilwoman Tammi Thurm, representing District 5. Welcome Councilwoman Thurm! 

Tammi Thurm: Thanks for having me. 

JD Wooten: Turning to your first term on the City Council, what are one or two things that you feel really proud that the City Council has been able to accomplish in that time? 

Tammi Thurm: Well, certainly with the announcements of the past couple of weeks, the economic development announcements and work that we've done, has been very exciting. We started with Publix, back one of our first projects and then Toyota, and just this week, Boom. Those are huge for us. On a more personal level, I've been very, very involved in our first permanent supportive housing project that is finally coming to fruition just off of 29 North, and I'm very excited about that. I'm also really excited that we were able to pass and institute bringing all city employees up to at least a $15 an hour minimum wage. And I think that sets a very good tone for the community and for the other businesses in Greensboro.

JD Wooten: I think that's great. Now of course I do feel obligated to ask the flip side, maybe what are some of the things that the Council has come up short on, maybe lack of support or resources, or even just things beyond your control, things that you're still looking to try and accomplish?

Tammi Thurm: You know, there's so much more to do. Certainly housing and affordable housing is a huge piece and something that we're very focused on building. Just our last business meeting, we approved zoning for over a thousand new homes to be built in Greensboro, but we're thousands behind. So housing and affordable housing is a huge piece that I wish we were further along on, but we're just not yet. And certainly unfortunately the gun violence and the number of homicides and crime in this area is something that I think we all wish we were further along on. We're tackling it. You know, I'm proud to say that, though the numbers are not good, unlike most communities, we had a decrease in homicides last year. And there are a lot of communities that would like to be saying that. A lot of communities in our state were up 30, 40%. So while the numbers weren't good, and not where we want them to be, I do think some of our efforts are paying off and making a difference. 

JD Wooten: Right. I'm sure that's a tough needle to thread there. It's always difficult when they're better than they could be, but they're still not good enough. 

Tammi Thurm: Exactly. And there are so many factors that go into that equation, and housing is just one of them, one of the many factors. 

JD Wooten: So, what are some of the big things that you'd like to tackle during your next term? 

Tammi Thurm: We've got to get creative with our transit system. District 5 has really a shortage of public transportation out there. We've got a little bit of, you know, the tail end of routes. But if I want to get from Friendly Avenue to Wendover for a job, I have to go from Friendly all the way downtown, and then back out Windover. And that can take two, two and a half hours. It just doesn't work for the people of District 5. In addition, we look at certainly Boom, coming out to the airport area and all that will build, we don't have any public transportation that goes out there yet. You look at the Grandover area and all the growth that's happening out that direction and the employment out there, there's no bus service out there. So, working on micro transit, crossline transit, is going to be a huge factor. There are jobs with Boom, Toyota, even on the east side of Greensboro, the Publix when that gets there, that we've got to figure out how to get people to those jobs. It's great to have jobs, but people that don't have their own transportation, have to be able to get to them. So transit is going to be a huge factor for us going forward. Continuing to build our housing stock and not only the quality, but the quantity, is also going to be a huge factor. I know that we are working on some innovative approaches to land banking and neighborhood development in the existing neighborhoods so that we can create and build and support our existing neighborhoods, which are in dire need of support. And that will be a huge piece. We have the GSO 2040 Plan that we established, and that calls for a lot of creative approaches to housing. So we've got to look at that. Other things going on, certainly the permanent supportive housing is huge, and the other piece is when we look at economic development and pushing economic development, we've had some great announcements. There are more opportunities in the wings, but we also have to focus on our local homegrown businesses and supporting those businesses and creating an environment where everybody feels like they have a place in the Greensboro economy. Whether you're the small entrepreneur, the small manufacturer, whatever it is, we need to make sure that we're addressing the needs of those businesses too. Because as we saw with Dell in Kernersville, right? Big companies can come, but they can also go. It's the small businesses that keep us humming. With the opening of Tanger Performing Arts Center, our downtown is going to continue to grow and thrive and is a huge opportunity for businesses to come into downtown as well. So there's a lot to work on, there's a lot to do, but we're ready to do it, and I'm looking forward to jumping in and working on the next chapters. 

JD Wooten: That all sounds amazing. All of that is extremely exciting. I don't remember the numbers off the top of my head, but I want to say it's something like, when an out-of-state business comes only 20% or so of the dollars actually stay local. Whereas when it's a local business, generally, it's upwards of 80% of those dollars stay local. 

Tammi Thurm: That's right. We're looking at some innovative things to help entrepreneurs, folks that maybe they want to open a retail establishment and they can't really afford to sign a four or five year lease on a downtown site. So what other options can we offer them? The Nussbaum Center is looking at some exciting things to do with the Steelhouse to support small entrepreneurs and businesses. And there lots of good things coming up and it's going to be an exciting time. I think the next five to 10 years are just going to be incredible for Greensboro and great growth and great development. And I want to make sure we do it well, and that we make sure that all the residents of Greensboro benefit from this growth and this new start. 

JD Wooten: So where can people go to learn more about you, your campaign, and how they can help get you reelected to see this vision through?

Tammi Thurm: I love it. My website is votethurm .com. 

JD Wooten: Thank you so much Councilwoman Thurm, we've really appreciated you being with us today.

Tammi Thurm: This has been great. Thanks so much, I appreciate your time. 

JD Wooten: With me today is Eddie Aday, a U.S. Military veteran and local farmer who works in the biotech industry. Eddie is running to represent North Carolina House District 59 in Eastern Guilford County. Welcome, Eddie. 

Eddie Aday: Thanks, JD. How are you this evening? 

JD Wooten: I'm well, thanks. I really appreciate you joining. So correct me if I'm wrong, but you're actually a veteran twice over. You first served as a Marine, and then later as a Soldier in the Army National Guard. What led you to serving in uniform and serving twice at that?

Eddie Aday: I think it was kind of a family tradition to start off with. Both my grandfathers were in the military as was my father, my maternal grandfather was Navy, my paternal grandfather and my father were both Air Force, but I really wanted something a little louder and preferrably belt fed, so that's how I wound up in the Marine Corps as a machine gunner.

JD Wooten: Why are you running for the North Carolina House? 

Eddie Aday: Because we have a duty to do better. I have a duty to do better. Not just for me, but for our communities, for all children, for the future of our state, we have a duty to do better for the men and women that live in this state. And we have the ability to do better, but it's not happening currently. There's a variety of reasons, whether they're political or environmental, or I don't even know what other adjectives I can think of, but there are a variety of reasons, but we can do better. We can do better with our public education. We can do better with our job growth. We can do better with our training and education of our children. We can do better with our healthcare. We can do better all around and we need to do better. Like it's literally our duty for the future of ourselves, for our community resiliency, for our children. It's our duty to do better. That's why I'm running. 

JD Wooten: I know your platform is very pro public education. You've also written that you want to see increases in apprenticeships, technical training, public service programs. Basically you want to make sure our youth are ready to enter the 21st century workforce. That sounds fascinating to me. Could you tell us a little more about what you've got in mind there? 

Eddie Aday: Yeah, sure. So I am a proud product of the North Carolina community college system here. I think we've got a great community college network and I got a bachelor's degree from Western Carolina and I'm actually more proud of my work at Alamance Community College than I am of graduating from Western Carolina. Not to shame Western Carolina at all. I just, the community colleges to me are like, that's where the metal meets the meat. That's, that's where things happen for people, that's where we get our technical training, our vocational training, our first responders, this is where it happens. And I'm a huge proponent. And I really think that with the community college system we have with the capabilities that they have, that's really something we need to be focusing on. And letting people know that that's an option starting with like our guidance counselors and our teachers. Making sure that students know that this isn't something to be ashamed of, that this is a viable option, especially when we're talking about associates of science degrees and technical training. That you can get an associates of science in biotechnology. We're number three in the country for biotechnology. Something like 700 companies currently are in North Carolina. I have to look at the actual stats. I haven't seen them in a while and just got updated. But the economic engine of like the research triangle park, but then also all the way out in Clayton, down in Sanford, is huge and it's not just for biotech, but they all the support there. The mechanics, the HVAC, the welders, the drivers. Just huge economic engine and there is not enough trained skilled workers to support this industry currently, and it's only growing. And so there's no reason that we are not pushing our youth towards these technical vocations where you can go and get an associates of applied science, not be $60,000 in debt, and have a job that will pay your bills and that you'll be proud of. And it's necessary because manufacturing is here that is high tech manufacturing, and that's really what we need to be training our youth for. And it's what we have the ability for, and I think that we can honestly do it. And this is little pet project of mine. I don't know how likely it is, but so like the California Conservation Corps has this citizenship program where people can go in, do a term of service, learn kind of, I guess, citizenship skills, societal skills. But kind of like grow as a person, but then it's almost like the GI bill. You get a stipend for tuition afterwards. Go and do two years, you get a stipend while you're there, meet some people, learn some job skills, learn living skills, and you go out and you've got tuition paid. And that's ideally what I would love to see something like that. And I don't know how realistic it is, but blue sky scenario, I would love to try and implement a program like that. 

JD Wooten: So what else do you want people to know about you Eddie?

Eddie Aday: I'm about the community. I'm about my neighbors, about my friends. I'm about the people in our state about making sure that people have a voice. I don't care if you have an R by your name a D by your name and I by your name or whatever other letters I'm missing. It's community that means more than anything. 

JD Wooten: So where can people learn more about you, sign up to volunteer, and donate to your campaign? 

Eddie Aday: You can go to, look at our campaign page, see what we're about, see what issues we're about. 

JD Wooten: Thanks so much for taking the time. Thank you for running and fighting for our community. 

Eddie Aday: JD, thank you for having me. I'm grateful that you took the time to talk to me and invite me here.

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JD Wooten: Thanks again for tuning in to this bonus episode. If you want to hear the full interviews for any of these candidates, or learn more about them and ways to support them, links are in the show notes. Share this episode with a few friends so we can help get out the word about these great candidates. Together, we can achieve a better North Carolina for everyone!

Interview with Aminah Ghaffar
Interview with Tracy Furman
Interview with Dr. Kimberly Hardy
Interview with Tammi Thurm
Interview with Eddie Aday