CLARIFICATION: Due to a reporting error, this story was not clear enough in representing Gina Upchurch's role at the campaign for N.C. Lieutenant Governor. Upchurch attended as Holly Jones' friend and former classmate, which in no way reflects her position with Senior PharmAssist. The story has been updated to reflect these changes.
While she was a student at UNC, Holly Jones played in the marching band, and she managed the UNC varsity men's basketball team when Michael Jordan still wore a Carolina blue jersey.
On Tuesday, she returned to her alma mater to campaign for N.C. Lieutenant Governor.
She talked to a small group of students about the importance of bipartisanship and her campaign platform, which includes expanding early childhood education, creating renewable energy and ending domestic violence.
“If you told me back when I was at UNC that I would've been standing here on a rainy night campaigning to be Lieutenant Governor, I probably wouldn't have believed it,” Jones said.
The event was organized by UNC senior Claire Smith, who said the last minute gathering was to give Jones a chance to learn about campaigning and the importance of early voting.
“I met (Jones) last week at an event she had in Raleigh and agreed that she needed a voice on college campuses,” Smith said.
Jones said some of the problems currently facing North Carolina were caused by the Republican leadership, which she said has been an embarrassment to the state and has left the country wondering what has happened to North Carolina — once a beacon for leadership in the country.
“You name it and the Republicans done it, all against the wishes of local officials and against the people who are affected by their actions,” she said.
Gina Upchurch, a friend and former classmate of Jones, said raising awareness about the position of Lieutenant Governor is really important because many people do not realize the impact that more local positions can have.
Jones said a lot of students are so focused on the national election that the local elections, which can bring about big changes, are being overlooked.
“The university system is such a huge part when it comes to our mechanisms for development,” Jones said.
A large part of Jones’s campaign platform focuses on the importance of public education, an issue at the forefront of many North Carolina public policies.
“In the Republican leaders' ideological zeal, they've cut funding for public school — this is short changing our children, it's short changing our education, it's short changing our future,” she said.
Students at the event asked Jones about her policies and her views on bipartisanship.
Jones said she hopes if she were elected she would be able to work through the problems that presently split parties.
“You have to work with other folks who may not have the same view point you do …” she said. “To get the whole enchilada it takes a lot of compromise between parties."
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