The North Carolina primary election is coming up, so The Daily Tar Heel is breaking down every office on the ballot from president to county commissioner. Here we broke down who the Democratic candidates are for lieutenant governor.
Six candidates will be on the ballot for the Democratic lieutenant governor primary on March 3.
The winner of the Democratic race will face off against the victor of the nine candidates vying for the Republican nomination in November.
Dan Forest, a Republican who has been lieutenant governor since January 2013, has reached his term limit and is running for the Republican nomination for governor.
In addition to serving on the Council of State, the lieutenant governor’s responsibilities include presiding over the state senate with a tie-breaking vote and serving on the State Board of Education, N.C. Board of Community Colleges, State Economic Development Board and the Military Affairs Commission.
Here are the candidates vying for the nomination:
Allen Thomas is a two-term Hoke County Commissioner.
Thomas said that if elected, he would like to introduce vocational education programs similar to those of Hoke County.
At 33 years old, Thomas is the youngest candidate in the race but said he can accomplish his policy goals because they are rooted in a compassion developed from his own childhood experiences of poverty, family drug addiction and homelessness.
“I won’t look down on anyone, because I was there,” Thomas said. “I’ll fight to have a fair North Carolina, so that anyone who wants to rise up can.”
Bill Toole is an environmental lawyer and former Belmont City Council member.
Toole said his plan for controlled access to cannabis would allow the state to address issues including opioid abuse, criminal justice and underfunded public education.
He said the lieutenant governor’s role as an executive and legislative leader would help pass this legislation.
“That puts the lieutenant governor in a unique position to create the opportunities for the general assembly to adopt the laws necessary for this to happen,” Toole said.
N.C. Rep. Chaz Beasley (D-Mecklenburg) is a state representative and financial attorney.
Beasley said he hopes to address North Carolina’s growing student debt if elected, citing his financial struggles growing up with a single mom as his inspiration.
“One of the things that propels me to be lieutenant governor is that I know what people are dealing with because I’ve lived it myself,” Beasley said.
At 34, Beasley is one of the younger candidates, but he said his age does not affect his qualifications for the role.
“Experience is not just how many years you’ve had a title in front of your name or how many years you’ve gotten mail that says ‘honorable’ on it,” Beasley said. “It comes down to what you’ve actually been able to get done.”
Ron Newton is a political activist and the owner of a financial accounting services company in Durham.
Newton said his main concerns include reforms in campaign financing, rural health care and criminal justice.
Newton said his position as a political outsider is a strength.
“I am not a politician, I am a public servant,” Newton said. “I believe that we need to have a voice for working class people.”
N.C. Sen. Terry Van Duyn (D-Buncombe) has served in the state Senate since 2014.
Van Duyn said her main policy goals include Medicaid expansion and closing the education achievement gap.
“I want to remind people that we are most successful when we invest in education,” Van Duyn said. “I want to be that voice on the board of education and the community college board”
She said her experience as a former Democratic whip in the N.C. Senate prepared her to work not only with fellow Democrats, but also Republicans.
“I’ve been in the position where I’ve had my microphone turned off by Senator Berger,” Van Duyn said, “And I’ve been where I have gotten the whole Democrats on issues that are important to them.”
N.C. Rep. Yvonne Lewis Holley (D-Wake) has served four terms in the N.C. House.
Holley said she wants to promote living wage standards, affordable housing, food security and job development through her Affordable Living Initiative.
“These are real problems," Holley said. "All this prosperity is going to the upper people, but our middle class is falling."
Holley said in addition to her legislative experience, the strength of character she gleaned from her experience as an early school integrator has prepared her for this role.
“Everything I did, I had the weight of the African American community on my shoulders,” Holley said. “I understand what it’s like to take the weight of the community.”
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