N.C. Sen. Valerie Foushee (D-Chatham, Orange) and political newcomer Courtney Geels will face off in the race to represent the 4th Congressional District of North Carolina in this year's general election.
The district includes Alamance, Orange, Durham, Person and Granville counties, as well as portions of northeastern Caswell County. Rep. David Price (D-NC 4th) is retiring after several decades of serving as the district's representative, leaving the seat vacant.
Foushee is a UNC graduate and has served in Orange County for approximately 25 years in both the local and state government.
“I love being able to give back to this community, in particular, because I am a product of it,” she said.
She told The Daily Tar Heel she believes the most important issues facing North Carolinians are inflation, protecting a right to reproductive freedom and protecting democracy.
Foushee said supply chain disruptions and employment practices have to be addressed to help the economy. She also said that the minimum wage needs to be raised to keep pace with inflation.
According to her website, Foushee supports comprehensive reform of the criminal justice system. She also told The Daily Tar Heel that she wants to end cash bail, consider alternate ways of policing and decriminalize marijuana.
“There are systemic issues that we have to address such that we're not filling prisons,” she said.
Foushee, who previously worked as an administrator for the Chapel Hill Police Department, said she supports police reform including banning chokeholds.
After the Oct. 13 mass shooting in Raleigh, Foushee told The Daily Tar Heel that she supports gun control legislation including banning assault weapons, promoting safe storage and implementing red flag laws.
Foushee said that she supports the Green New Deal and would like to see more investments in wind and solar and less dependence on fossil fuels.
“I believe we have an obligation to generations to come to do better than we have done with protecting the earth,” she said.
She said Democrats should codify Roe v. Wade as soon as the next session begins if they expand their majorities in Congress.
Geels is a political newcomer running as a Republican with a background in nursing. She told The Daily Tar Heel she was inspired to run because she felt the federal government had too much power over her own family.
“My overarching goal is to decrease power in the federal government and give power to the state and the local level,” she said.
Truth, justice and unity are three values highlighted on her campaign website. Geels told The Daily Tar Heel that without truth there isn’t justice and the enactment of truth and justice creates unity.
“I find that a lot of the separation in our country is due to a lack of truth, because people are arguing about things that they're reading on social media, Twitter, the news, but they don't really know the full truth,” she said.
Geels said justice is important to her and she wants to take steps to reform “outlandish” laws, including the 1994 Crime Bill, which she said is discriminatory.
“I also just think you have a non-violent crime, why should you be in jail for more than 10 years?” she said.
Geels told The Daily Tar Heel she also wants to advocate for higher pay for law enforcement to combat low morale, slow response times and declining recruitment.
She said she is for school choice and believes that government funding for schools should come in the form of vouchers.
Geels said declining enrollment in public schools shows the current system does not work. She said many families are choosing to homeschool or put their kids in private schools. A voucher system would put public, charter and private schools in competition giving more kids educational opportunities, according to Geels.
“Parents should be the ones raising the child, not a school system,” Geels said.
She told The Daily Tar Heel that she believes schools are spending too much time teaching kids “a certain worldview,” which she said is causing literacy rates to go down.
When asked about what place religion has in public life and government, Geels said that everyone brings their worldview into lawmaking and her worldview is a Christian one.
Laura Macklem, press and political director of the Christian, pro-life lobbying organization NC Values Coalition, expressed support for Geels in an email statement.
“We are proud to endorse Courtney Geels because she respects the human right to life from start to finish,” Macklem said. “Her views on a non-biased education and parental rights are in-line with our values, and that of North Carolina. She will make an excellent member of Congress."
According to her campaign website, Geels supports voting reform to improve election integrity, including requiring voter ID.
Geels said in an interview with WXII that she believes that substantial voter fraud occurred in the 2020 election in Georgia, though she affirms the ultimate outcome of that election.
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