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The Daily Tar Heel
View from the Hill

A third candidate enters race for Foushee's N.C. House seat

A third contender has stepped up to fill N.C. Rep. Valerie Foushee’s vacated House seat.

Graig Meyer, director of Student Equity and Volunteer Services for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School system, put his name in for consideration Tuesday. Meyer joins Chapel Hill Town Council member Laurin Easthom and Tommy McNeill of Durham in the race.

The Orange County resident announced his candidacy to fill the remainder of Foushee’s term representing Orange and Durham counties. Foushee was appointed to Ellie Kinnaird’s vacated N.C. Senate seat earlier this month.

“I love this community, and I really believe I can represent what members of Orange and Durham counties want out of a state government,” Meyer said. “I feel that the state government recently has failed its citizens, especially our kids.”

Meyer said he is especially concerned with K-12 education in the state.

Meyer has worked in both education and social work, and while he has never sought public office before, he said he does not feel that this makes him unqualified to serve in the N.C. General Assembly.

“I think our General Assembly needs more educators, not fewer,” he said. “I have also done a lot of work in health care and business and farming through collaborative efforts and volunteer works.”

Orange County Commissioner Penny Rich said it is important that the seat is filled by a candidate with a progressive mindset and can meet the needs of the 50th district, particularly rural areas.

“Though Graig has not been in an elected seat, he has been involved in the community and education sector,” Rich said. “I believe he has enough experience to represent the seat.”

Orange County Democratic Party Chairman Matt Hughes said he agrees that rural interests need to be kept in mind and that whomever is appointed should look ahead to 2014.

“I think it is important for whoever puts their name forward for the seat to know he or she will only serve about a month and a half or two months,” Hughes said. “You learn a lot in that short session, and should consider running for a term of your own.”

Hughes said he briefly considered seeking appointment for the seat himself, but ultimately decided to remain a part of the selection process instead.

Meyer has vowed that if he is appointed to represent the district that he will seek his own elected term in 2014.

“I think that I just need to get out and listen to people and understand them and allow them to get to know me better.”

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