The Democratic Women of Jackson County (DWJC) invited former state representative Joe Sam Queen to speak at their monthly meeting on October 12, 2017.  Joe Sam Queen has announced he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination to run for State Representative from NC-119, an office formerly held by him and currently occupied by Republican, Mike Clampitt.

The women asked Joe Sam to update them on the current activities of the General Assembly and tell us how we can help him to take back this seat.  Following is a summary of his response.

2018 will be critical election at the local level.  We just experienced a “wave” election in which we lost all our Democrats.  We did flip the governor.  We beat four Republicans in urban areas, but lost four Democrats in rural areas.  We won the courts and held Attorney General.  I apologize, but I did 12 events and raised a half million dollars for Cooper and held only one event for myself.  We can change this in the midterm with hard work.

They [the Republican majority General Assembly] are doing everything they can to unravel the courts, which disenfranchises the people and is an assault on democracy.

Why did we lose the rural seats?  They liked HB2; they couldn’t figure out what the problem was.  They were uninformed.

Education is under assault.  North Carolina’s commitment to education is what made us great.

Jobs matter.  By not expanding Medicaid, we lost 1,000 jobs in district 119. It affected Swain hospital.  It’s about jobs and healthcare.

How can you help?  We must win District 119 and help Rhonda Schandevel win in District 118.  What’s at stake is public education and healthcare for all (North Carolina used to be highest performing Medicaid state in the nation before McCrory took over).  North Carolina was not broke until Republicans started undermining it [the budget].

Environment.  We have zero jobs in coal in North Carolina, but hundreds of jobs in solar.  However, the latest legislation undercuts solar and supports Duke Power by not making them buy solar energy.  I am strongly against fracking anywhere in North Carolina.  It poisons the aquifer and that leads to lost jobs.

  1. Follow the candidate.  I have to lead down the middle to win Trump votes. Don’t get ahead of him.
  2. I’m going to have a kick-off November 9 at Balsam Mountain Inn, from 5:30-7:00pm. The will be followed by house parties – I want one in every precinct – in the late winter and spring.  Don’t just come, invite someone.  If it is on campus, it needs to be sponsored by students.  I will hire a campaign manager after the first of the year.
  3. The opposition would like to keep Joe Sam beat. I need to raise $3-$400,000.
  4. Listen, don’t tell Trumpers what they’re mad at. We lost 500 healthcare jobs and 500 follow-on [to healthcare] jobs in District 119.  15,000 workers in 119 make less than $7.40/hour.
  5. What can we say about Mike Clampitt? [Referencing the two direct mail pieces].  The mailers are lies.
    1. The tax rate of all citizens has been cut, so everybody pays the same, but it’s a multiplier, not what you pay. As a result, the rich get a big cut while low income people get a minimal cut.  At the same time, they added sales taxes on services, which hit the little guys.  In effect 80% of North Carolinians got a tax hike.  Because incomes are lower, income tax income is reduced and this results in cuts to education.
    2. The small business tax cut was one little cut. If you want to help small businesses, help their customers.  For example, they are hurting consumers by approving rate increases to Duke, which is far from a small business!
    3. Teacher pay: Another lie.  They raised it by their standards, but they cooked the books by changing the way they count teacher pay.  It used to start with a cost of living adjustment (COLA) and add step pay for longevity.  The have eliminated the COLA and longevity pay and flat-lined everybody, and then gave everybody a little raise, less than it should have been.  We have gone from leading in the South to 44-45th in the nation.