By Nathan Ham
United States Senate hopeful Jeff Jackson made a stop in Watauga County on Saturday and Ashe County on Sunday as part of his 100-county tour of North Carolina. Jackson was at Brookshire Park at 11 a.m. to meet with prospective voters that wanted to know more about one of the Democratic candidates vying for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the retirement of Richard Burr.
Jackson took questions from a decent-sized crowd of folks that had gathered around on Saturday and he made time to speak individually with people after the event was ended.
Jackson spoke about a wide variety of issues including the opioid crisis, global warming, Medicaid expansion and income inequality.
Currently, Jackson is a member of the North Carolina Senate where he represents the 37th District that includes Mecklenburg County. He was first elected in 2014. Prior to his political career, Jackson joined the United States Army Reserve after the September 11 attacks in 2001 and served overseas during the War in Afghanistan.
Jackson graduated from Emory University in Atlanta and later completed his law degree at UNC-Chapel Hill.
It is expected to be a crowded field of both Democratic and Republican candidates hoping to be elected to the U.S. Senate in 2022. Jackson is one of five Democratic challengers that have confirmed their intentions to run for the seat. Joining him are Cheri Beasley (former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court), Rett Newton (mayor of Beaufort in Carteret County), Erica D. Smith (former N.C. Senator) and Richard Watkins III (Founder and CEO of The Science Policy Action Network, Inc). Other people that are considering a run include Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, former Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, former U.S. Representative Heath Shuler, U.S. Representative Deborah K. Ross, current N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein and former NASA astronaut Joan Higginbotham. Gov. Roy Cooper has said he will not run for the U.S. Senate in 2022.
Five Republican candidates have announced their decision to run for U.S. Senate. The list includes Jen Banwart (former Department of Defense employee), U.S. Representative Ted Budd, Marty Cooke (Brunswick County Commissioner), former Governor Pat McCrory and former U.S. Representative Mark Walker. Mark Meadows, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and Lara Trump have said they are not pursuing the Senate seat.
Photos by Lonnie Webster