Statesville Democrat will run for 13th Congressional District

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 20, 2017

SALISBURY — Democrat Beniah McMiller of Statesville says he’s running for Congress because elected representatives don’t advocate for working people.

McMiller is one of at least two Democrats who will run for the 13th Congressional District seat in 2018. It’s his first shot at elected office.

The second declared candidate is Adam Coker of Greensboro. Both men hope to oust Rep. Ted Budd, a Republican who is serving his first term.

If elected, McMiller said he would be a strong voice for people of all political parties. He said Budd doesn’t seem to speak often with people of different political persuasions. McMiller said he’s different from other candidates because he plans to listen to people with diverse views, including Republicans.

“Our campaign is not about a party but solely doing right by people,” he said. “I’m running because every time I look around I don’t see very much advocating for working-class people. It seems as though every time I turn on the TV, working-class and middle-class people are being left behind.”

McMiller, 36, teaches at Mitchell Community College, and his profession transfers to the issues he’s most concerned about. He said cuts proposed to education programs by President Donald Trump have the potential to “drastically reduce standards across our country.”

“I believe that we have to make investing in education a priority,” McMiller said.

McMiller said he also plans to fight for jobs that provide a living wage and can’t be outsourced to other country or done by machines.

On health care, McMiller said Congress should focus on improving the original framework of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Republicans have repeatedly tried to sabotage the law, and Congress never gave the program a chance to succeed, he said. Eventually, McMiller said, health care may become a single-payer system.

McMiller said he would support raising taxes on the top 1 percent of earners. He doesn’t buy the argument that lowering taxes on the rich and businesses helps create jobs.

He first decided to run for Congress in January and has been campaigning in the months since. Filing to run doesn’t begin until next year.

He has a bachelor’s degree from Johnson C. Smith University and a master’s degree from the University of Phoenix. McMiller and his wife live in Statesville and have six children.

Contact Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.