BOONE — In order to win the the U.S. House of Representatives’ Fifth District of North Carolina seat, Democrat D.D. Adams of Winston-Salem has to do something no Democrat has done since 1992.
Adams’ quest to unseat seven-term U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Banner Elk) would flip a district that was held by Republican Richard Burr from 1995 to 2005 and by Foxx afterward.
But to do so, Adams has to defeat an incumbent who has never won by less than 14 percent in her seven previous U.S. House elections. According to the ABC News-owned analysis blog FiveThirtyEight.com, NC-5 is a solid Republican district.
North Carolina’s Fifth Congressional District includes Watauga, Ashe, Avery, Alleghany, Wilkes, Alexander, Surry, Yadkin, Stokes and Forsyth counties plus a small part of Catawba County. 2018 will see all of Forsyth, Surry and Stokes counties as part of NC-5 after map changes in 2016.
Foxx — who grew up in Avery County and was a school teacher and administrator prior to her entry into state politics in 1994 — is seeking to continue the work she has done in Washington, D.C. over the last 14 years.
“I’m an educator, mother, grandmother and small businesswoman; allowing me to understand many of the issues families in the High Country must grapple with,” Foxx said. “I am fully committed to fighting for the North Carolina values we hold dear and solving our problems with common sense, conservative solutions. If I’m given the honor of representing the North Carolinians of the Fifth Congressional District in Congress, I will continue to pursue policies that further spur job creation, foster economic growth, drive down the costs of health care and give patients more accessible and patient-centered care.”
Adams — a retired high performance team coordinator from Johnson Controls and longtime Winston-Salem resident — has served as council member for the North Ward of Winston-Salem since 2009. Adams is running for Congress for the first time.
“My focus is to create a safe and healthy society, a fair tax code, a diverse economic base, and a strong and well-educated workforce,” Adams said. “I believe that within our local communities and in our greater society, we all benefit when we lift up those who have fallen, support families so they can return to prosperity, and ensure a secure and safe workplace that pays a decent wage.”
When asked why they should be elected, Adams looks to bring urban and rural areas together while Foxx pointed to her record.
“My track-record as a congresswoman is very clear,” Foxx said. “I’ve fought for common sense solutions to the tough problems we face and have delivered some key victories for the district over the past few years. Several that come to mind are tax reform, local workforce development reform, as well as funding increases for national security, border security and veterans care.”
“When elected, I will work tirelessly for you in Washington, D.C.. and within the Fifth District,” Adams said. “I’ve traveled the district and know that bringing urban and rural together to create opportunities and solve problems will benefit all our communities. Thriving communities raise us all up. While in the district, I will hold public meetings and develop cross-district advisory systems to inform my decision-making.”
The candidates differed on what they think is the biggest issue facing the Fifth District currently. Adams said health care affordability and access, specifically in rural communities.
“With over 11 percent of residents uninsured and many more under-insured, a major medical incident could be catastrophic,” Adams said. “Health care is a right, not a privilege. It is necessary to a quality life. We need to move to a single-payer system.”
Foxx said the biggest issue facing the Fifth District is to maintain the “progress we’ve made over the past two years in growing our local economy and create more good jobs.”
“A growing economy makes it easier for job-seekers to find good jobs,” Foxx said. “Good jobs help families get the quality health care they need. And stable families mean strong and healthy communities. We can’t afford to go back on the achievements we’ve made to grow our economy and help every North Carolina family reach the American Dream.”
Both candidates said they felt good heading into the home stretch.
“I’m more energized and excited about this election than I have ever been,” Foxx said. “Over the past year I’ve spent countless hours listening to voters and attending events all over the High Country. One thing is abundantly clear to me: folks understand the common sense conservative principles that I stand for and also recognize my reputation for top-notch constituent service. With a strong track-record of conservative accomplishments and responsiveness to my constituents, I’m confident we will emerge victorious on Election Day. But I’m not taking anything for granted and will be working hard to earn every last vote right up to Election Day.”
“Over the last 20-plus months I have visited all of the counties in the Fifth District many times,” Adams said. “I have met and listened to health care providers, educators, business people, farmers and people of all ages and I have heard their concerns and priorities. I have responded with a platform focused on health care, jobs and education. My campaign is about people and I trust them to send me to Washington, D.C.”