State senate candidate speaks to Rowan County Democrats

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, August 17, 2016

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — It’s time for voters to say “we want better,” according to 25th State Senate District candidate Dannie Montgomery.

Montgomery, a Democrat, is running against incumbent Sen. Tom McInnis in November’s general election. McInnis is seeking his second term in the seat. Montgomery is running for her first.

In a speech to the Rowan Senior Democrats group on Tuesday, Montgomery spoke about her upbringing and stressed that she understands the concerns and struggles of residents of the 25th District.

“Behind every policy debate is a real person, a real family and real needs,” she said. “Behind every bill, every law, every piece of legislation that goes on the table that is passed or not passed, are real people. It’s time for us, the people, to stand up and say we want better.”

Montgomery, 56, is a middle school teacher in Anson County. Montgomery said she has two bachelor’s degrees — one from Wingate University and the other from Fayetteville State University — and a master’s degree from the University of Phoenix.

Montgomery has served as the chairman of the Anson County Democratic Party and first vice chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party.

She told a large group of Democrats on Tuesday that she has 14 siblings. Montgomery said she is the second youngest.

The latest U.S. Census statistics show that Anson County has a 25 percent poverty rate. Montgomery said she and other members of her family worked their way out of poverty.

“I believe that how we treat the least of us will have an effect on how we will be judged in the end,” she said.

Two political policy areas she repeatedly referenced were education and Medicaid expansion.

Montgomery said she taught 219 students during the prior school year. Montgomery said she was told “to talk to the General Assembly about it” when she asked a school administrator about the fact that she taught 219 children.

“When we have failing schools, how are we going to be able to build our communities?” she asked the group of Democrats on Tuesday.

She said the quality of schools is important because it’s the foundation for young adults as they pursue careers.

She specifically referenced the lack of Medicaid expansion as a way that the Republican-dominated general assembly “has taken us backward.”

A Medicaid expansion would provide health care for those who can’t currently receive coverage and create jobs in the health care industry, she said. Republicans have questioned whether the federal government would reduce or cut its contribution to North Carolina’s program if Medicaid is expanded, but Montrgomery contrasted those sentiments with previous action.

“They’ve been paying for Medicaid and Medicare for all these years and we trusted them fine,” she said. “We trust them fine to make sure we get our Social Security check.”

Neither Montgomery nor McInnis faced competition in March, during the primaries.

The 25th State Senate District includes all of Scotland, Richmond, Anson and Stanly counties. It stretches across the southern and eastern parts of Rowan County, including the towns of Rockwell and China Grove.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.