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Political Notebook: The race is on in U.S. House District 13

SALISBURY — Filing for congressional elections is less than two weeks away, and candidates who plan to run in District 13 are working to connect with voters through a variety of means.

Republican incumbent Rep. Ted Budd spent a week in January visiting local constituents, making stops in Greensboro, High Point, Statesville, Mooresville and Salisbury.

Salisbury visits included tours of Livingstone College and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. But he said his appreciation for small businesses led to another stop at the Candy Shoppe on Main Street.

“Eighty percent of the employment in this country is small businesses,” said Budd. “When individuals can get access to capital, they can start businesses and employ people. … The economy is growing faster than we’ve seen in the last seven or eight years.”

Budd met with shop owner Don Vic and several local Republicans during his visit, discussing the importance of small business and “several national issues that impact all of us,” said Vick, chairman of the Rowan County Republican Party.

Budd’s visit was completed with a sampling of Cheerwine Fudge. Both he and his district director, Todd Poole, bought candy for family and friends.

Budd said he intends to continue his work for small businesses if re-elected.

“I’m on the committee of financial services. A lot of what we do is make sure the economy is strong,” he said.

He said a lot of what the committee does is “below the radar,” including deregulatory efforts that increase access to capital for small business owners.

Budd said he has enjoyed the chance to play a behind-the-scenes role in growing the economy and credits small business growth to a national unemployment rate near historic lows.

“When we grow the economy, we can pay down our debt, and then our deficit,” he said.

Kathy Manning

Hopeful Kathy Manning, a Democrat, began her campaign in December with banner results, raising $530,000 in her first month.

She, too, has been making visits around the district but got national publicity when she was one of 48 women featured on the cover of Time magazine’s Jan. 29 issue.

The cover illustrated Charlotte Alter’s article “The Pink Wave” on a record number of women who are running for public office for the first time in 2018.

“I am honored to be running alongside so many women who have done it all — balanced raising a family, growing businesses, serving their communities, and even serving in uniform,” said Manning. “Washington has been dysfunctional for too long, and I think those Washington politicians could learn something from women like us.”

Manning said she’s running for Congress after a career of bringing people together to solve tough problems, something many other women running for office have done as well.

” … (W)hile I appreciate the national recognition, at the end of the day, we know this campaign is about people here at home and sending someone to Congress who will actually get something done for this district,” Manning said.

Beniah McMiller

Beniah McMiller, another Democratic candidate, campaigned through the holidays with a unique method: gift baskets for families in need.

Called “A Bright, Fair Christmas for All,” McMiller gathered donations of canned goods and nonperishable foods to deliver to families in need. The gift baskets came with Christmas ornaments and information about McMiller’s campaign.

“I know that a lot of times, these families will go under the radar when it comes down to that time of the year,” said McMiller. “I just wanted to do something different and show that we care about people all the time, not just when its time to vote.”

McMiller also has been making appearances at local community events, some of which he’s been invited to and others he hasn’t.

“If you wait for an invitation, you might wait forever,” he said with a laugh.

McMiller said the stops have led to meaningful conversations and helped him learn the needs of the community.

The key, he said, is just listening to people talk about how they feel.

” … (T)hey need someone to fight on their behalf … ,” he said.

Adam Coker

For Democrat Adam Coker, congressional campaigning involves a combination of visiting with locals and using social media.

Coker manages his own Facebook page, Adam Coker for Congress. He updates it multiple times a week with input on federal and state news.

The updates include commentary, graphics, web links and videos.

His most recent video came in response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. In it, Coker addressed Trump’s comment about “beautiful, clean coal.”

Coker, a truck driver, filmed just outside a coal facility in Charleston, West Virginia. Stacks from the plant behind him were emitting steam.

“That right there behind me is beautiful, clean coal,” he said. “I just want to let you guys know I don’t agree with that sentiment. I think we need to be planning about the future.”

Coker said he is looking forward to Nikola trucks coming out in the next year. The electric semi-trucks will emit only water.

“It’s going to totally revolutionize the (trucking) industry,” he said.

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