On May 17, Orange and Caswell County residents have the chance to narrow the field of candidates who are competing for one open seat in District 50 of the N.C. House of Representatives.
Matt Hughes and Renée Price are competing in the Democratic primary on May 17.
Charles Lopez is the sole Republican candidate. Because of this, he is set to face the winner of the Democratic primary this November.
Matt Hughes, District 50 Democratic candidate
Hughes has served on the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners since 2018 as Hillsborough’s first openly LGBTQ+ elected official.
He currently serves on the North Carolina Human Relations Commission and the Historic Hillsborough Commission after being appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper.
His experience in local government has prepared him for a position in state government, he said. This work has also provided him with insight into cooperating with state and local governments.
“Having legislators that live the issues of their constituents every day is really important and to be grounded in that, as a result, makes for a better legislator,” he said.
He also addressed the need for bipartisan cooperation, citing how it is important for legislators who can work across different political parties.
His campaign platform includes expanding Medicaid in North Carolina, advocating for reproductive rights, incentivizing environmentally-friendly business plans and ending systemic injustice in the criminal justice system.
“North Carolina should be a place where people are safer, healthier, better educated and with more money in their pockets," Hughes said. "That's what I want to accomplish."
Charles Lopez, District 50 Republican candidate
Lopez is a human resource manager for a landscaping company, an investor for small businesses and a licensed realtor. His career began, however, as an at-risk school administrator.
His platform includes reducing regulatory burdens and government outreach, promoting parent-choice initiatives in schools, raising funds for capital infrastructure and engaging in job development strategies.
“I would like for people to get to know me more than just my website, to know me more than just my party affiliation because the most important thing about me is being a dad, being a husband, giving out and being a community-driven person,” Lopez said.
He said his role as a father and husband inspired him to be a voice for conservative values in his district. His family also started a privately funded charity — Charlie & Friends Foundation — that supports single mothers, widows and orphans in the community.
And based on his own experiences of adopting a child, he would like to work on making the adoption process more accessible to people either interested or who face challenges in building their families.
Renée Price, District 50 Democratic candidate
Price has served as a commissioner on the Orange County Board of County Commissioners for the last 10 years, and has served as the chair since 2020.
She said she is a huge proponent of community engagement initiatives, such as building affordable housing, preserving agriculture and improving school facilities.
“Working with non-profit organizations, working with the government is the continued ongoing fight for freedom and justice,” she said.
Price hopes to use her experience working in local government to create policies that increase justice in the community. She believes in a reciprocal relationship between the government and the people.
Her platform consists of voting rights, fair and equal education opportunities, addressing inequities in infrastructure, criminal justice reform and climate change mitigation.
“I believe that we have a lot of work to do," she said. "We’ve made progress over the years, in terms of freedom and justice, and we have a lot more work to do to ensure that all people are able to enjoy their civil rights, human rights and enjoy peace."
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