On the trail: Michigan gov. visits Salisbury on Biden campaign behalf

Published 12:10 am Thursday, June 6, 2024

SALISBURY — Michigan’s executive made a stop in Salisbury earlier this week as part of a tour through the Tar Heel State.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer walked through the doors of the South Main Book Company on Monday shortly after 10 a.m. to meet with a few local political figures of past and present.

Among the faces at the downtown bookstore were owner and Rowan County Commission candidate Alissa Redmond, former Salisbury Mayor Al Heggins and Rowan County Democratic Party Chair Geoffrey Hoy.

“North Carolina is a lot like Michigan,” Whitmer said. “It is a state with a lot of hard-working people who expect the government to work as hard as they do and be as good if not better than they are. Fortunately, with President (Joe) Biden, we have that in terms of our current and future president.”

Whitmer was stumping for Biden, whose campaign has made North Carolina a priority battleground state in the lead-up to the November election.

“I am here as one of the co-chairs with the campaign, visiting our efforts on the ground here,” Whitmer said. “I am really proud of the work that is being done by volunteers and by Team Biden’s staff alike.

“We have a lot yet to do, but every person matters to President Biden and to the Democrats. As we get out into communities all across the state of North Carolina we are putting people’s futures front and center of all the work that we are doing.”

Whitmer’s stop might have seemed unorthodox in that she was only meeting with a handful of people, running counter to larger more high-profile campaign stops.

“We are doing a lot of different types of events,” Whitmer said. “The opportunity to actually talk with people and ask questions is easier with a small event, frankly. We are stopping in all different places and different sized communities and events.

As Whitmer put it, smaller, more intimate settings make for more productive conversations.

“As we are campaigning, we want to learn and stay focused on what is going to support a small business like this one that we are in, talking with people who are actually engaging with folks on the ground saying what matters, what’s happening and how can we make people’s lives better?” Whitmer said. “That is what President Biden is all about. That’s why this campaign is so important and it’s such a high-stakes election. From fundamental rights to access of contraceptives, for Pete’s sake, are on this ballot. That is why every North Carolinian’s voice matters.”

For Redmond, who has an extensive history of interacting with politicians, getting to spend time with Whitmer stood out.

“I have met a lot of politicians and have worked for a lot of politicians in my life,” Redmond said. “She is approachable, down-to-earth, full of common sense (and) full of knowledge about her constituents. She is incredibly impressive, and I was honored to have her in my store.”

Heggins added that Whitmer served to reaffirm her drive in the political world when she held local public office.

“It was great to meet Governor Whitmer in person,” Heggins said. “As I told her, she was an inspiration to me while I was in office. When things would get tough, something would pop up from Governor Whitmer, and I would think, if she can do this, I can do this. It was a great honor to meet her.”