Greensboro Democrat jumps in 13th Congressional District race

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 18, 2017

SALISBURY — Democrat Adam Coker of Greensboro says he will run in 2018 for the 13th Congressional District seat held by Republican Rep. Ted Budd.

Coker, a 40-year-old truck driver who also raises cattle in Iredell County, says he’s focused on education and health care in his bid for office. Coker says he doesn’t believe that Budd represents the values of a majority of the 13th District’s residents.

“I think that people of the 13th District deserve a representative who will respect and represent the values of a majority of the people in their district,” Coker said.

Coker said that instead of speaking for the people in the district, Budd, a former gun store owner who Coker said is affiliated with the House Freedom Caucus, represents corporate interests. Coker said he represents the interests of most people in the district because of his work experience. He has primarily worked as a “1099 employee” or independent contractor, he said.

Coker made a run for the 13th District seat in 2016. In that campaign, he advocated for increasing access to mental illness treatment, increasing civic engagement, improving the economy and passing comprehensive immigration reform.

Asked Tuesday, Coker said his views haven’t changed on policy positions since the 2016 race. But he said he’s focused this year on education and health care.

On education, Coker said legislators don’t understand the modern-day economy. He said schools should place a greater emphasis on apprenticeship programs. High school students should be encouraged to learn a trade, he said.

On health care, he said people should be able to choose between a “public option” and private insurance.

“I think that people want to have an option to have health care outside of a for-profit industry,” he said. “Health care is not a commodity. It’s not something where profits need to be maximized.”

He wouldn’t commit on whether he supports a single-payer or Medicare-for-all system, but he said a single-payer system is something that Congress should examine.

Coker said he “laid the groundwork” in his 2016 campaign and there are a number of people, including some Republicans, who are excited about his candidacy in 2018. He’s already filed documents with the Federal Elections Commission to begin fundraising.

Coker has a bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University. He and his wife, Amanda, live in Greensboro and have one son. Before recently becoming a truck driver, he owned a communications and digital media business.

He said he thinks a Democrat can defeat Budd and win the 13th District seat. Democrat Beniah McMiller of Statesville has declared his candidacy in the 13th District race.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246