NC Lt. governor candidate Yvonne Holley visits with Rowan Democrats

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 14, 2019

By Samuel Motley

SALISBURY — More times than not people don’t “understand because they don’t know you or they have never met somebody like you,” said keynote speaker and North Carolina lieutenant governor candidate Rep. Yvonne Holley.

Because of this, it is important to be personable, Holley (D-38) said, to accomplish things in the general assembly. And, as lieutenant governor, “I want to be an unofficial anti-poverty tsar,” she said later in her speech.

Holley was speaking at Saturday’s July Rowan County Democrats Breakfast. The event, located at the Rowan County Democratic Party office, was a room full of “95 of my closest friends,” said Rowan County Democrat Chairperson Geoffrey Hoy. It was one of the biggest breakfasts the Rowan Democrats have had since they first started having breakfasts in September 2016, Hoy said.

“What I found: I was coming in (to office in the N.C. General Assembly) and I wanted to talk about economic development… education… all these wonderful” issues, Holley said.

But, she said her constituents told her to reconsider urgent issues and scale it back. Her constituents were asking for the basics, for respect, she said.

“(Housing) is getting to be a crisis,” Holley said. “We have to be a little bit more proactive about what we do,” she said.

And, the small communities in NC “are having big city problems,” Holley said.

To help fix this, Holley proposed that small cities partner with big cities so that the small town can ask big cities for ideas with their problems, such as housing.

During the event, Holley discussed other issues she sees in N.C., too.

These issues ranged from food deserts, to increasing the state pension, to education, to expungement, to upcoming elections. And, Holley spoke about these issues as what she seeks to accomplish if elected N.C. lieutenant governor and what she has worked towards in the general assembly.

After the speech, citizens engaged with keynote speaker Holley in a question and answer session, getting a sense for her issues and what her candidacy represents.

Of the roughly 95 people Hoy said attended the event, backgrounds and stories of attendees varied. Beyond Holley, it ranged from local Rowan County democrats, to elected officials, to people relocating back to Rowan.

The event is a way to be involved, said Michael Stringer, who is a long-time attendee of the Rowan County democrat breakfasts.

It’s a way to stay in tune with ongoing issues, Stringer said. These issues are important, and people don’t have reliable information to use to vote anymore, he said.

Jim Krider, a Rowan County resident who is hoping to find people who are like minded, said he showed up at the breakfast to meet people who share similar ideas to his own.

And, Keith Townsend, an attendee at the event, said he came because he feels it is important to vote in the upcoming 2020 elections. He said the upcoming November municipal elections are important, too, but he lives in Mount Ulla, which will not have elections.

“It is a referendum on the nature of America,” he said.

East Spencer Alderman Curtis Cowan said he showed up at Saturday’s event to support Holley running for lieutenant governor. Cowan said that the issues discussed today — specifically affordable housing and expungement — are important.

“Something needs to be done,” he said.

Salisbury Mayor Al Heggins said that she showed up because she was a Democrat, who has “always been active.” She said she also feels it is important to engage with all voices in the community.

Saturday’s Rowan County Democrat Breakfast was part of the Rowan Democrats monthly breakfast series.

Contact reporter Samuel Motley 704-797-4264.

Correction: This article was updated on July 19 at 14:06 p.m. to correctly state that Rep. Yvonne Holley is ‘D-38.’