The “Sue Counts for NC Statehouse Campaign” is official.
Supporters gathered this morning to learn more about Counts, and why she is seeking to represent the 93rd District.
“The people of Ashe and Watauga County know they deserve better from Raleigh,” Count’s said. “The most charitable thing we can say about our state legislature is that it has lost its way. The more likely scenario however is that our representatives are headed exactly the way they intend to go but without any moral compass or sense of service whatsoever,” Counts Added.
Counts went on to list what she calls the ways the current Raleigh leadership, including her opponent, incumbent Jonathan Jordan have concentrated their own power, while diminishing the power of the people.
“They have set up changes to our campaign finance laws to allow their own leadership to control, reward and punish those who don’t vote the way the leadership wants them to vote by simply “buying” those votes.”
“In the name of political ideology, they have stolen from our public schools to finance private ones. They have pushed down our state to the next to the last state in the nation for teachers, only now in front of West Virginia. Teachers are fleeing our state.”
“Education is a primary target all the way around. The politicians in Raleigh have now set their sights on our university system, once the best system in the nation, and installed a Board of Governors completely driven not by a love of learning, but by political ideology.”
“While insisting they believe in smaller government, the Raleigh legislature has passed laws taking away the rights of landowners and local governments to place even modest regulations on fracking in their communities. And for good measure they actually voted to criminalize the disclosure of the chemicals found in fracking fluids.”
“Even though our state ranked second in the nation in solar installations last year, Duke Energy wasn’t happy, so our state legislature eliminated mandatory minimums on how much renewable energy utility companies must offer their customers.”
“While insisting they do not support higher taxes for anyone, the Raleigh politicians instead lowered them for the top 1% of North Carolina wage earners, and then offset the costs of that tax break with new taxes on washing machines and car repairs and movie tickets for working families trying to make ends meet. Then they got rid of the state’s most effective anti-poverty tool, the earned income tax credit—a credit even championed by Ronald Reagan that gave a hand up to hard working families who while working two or three jobs cannot make enough salary to avoid living paycheck to paycheck and escape a life of poverty.”
“Then our state legislature decided that the best way to save taxpayer spending on health care was to deny decent health care to the 1.8 million poor children, disabled people and elderly people in North Carolina who use Medicaid. So this year they voted to privatize the state’s Medicaid system by putting decisions about patient care under the watchful eye of stockholders for managed care systems.”
“The Raleigh politicians have broken our state constitution-given rights to free and fair elections. They have consolidated precincts across the state where the voters who do not support them vote. They have moved polling locations as far away from progressive precincts and public transportation as possible and have cut early voting days and hours. Then they claim that the resulting long lines at polling locations are actually the result of increased interest in elections.”
The crowd, which filled the Agricultural Center on King Street, erupted in applause and cheers as Counts delivered her speech.
Counts is well known in the community and across N.C. for her inspirational leadership as the Director of Extension for Watauga County, and for delivering hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to fund programs that support the values and work of the people in this predominantly rural area. These include, but are not limited to The High Country Sustainable Agriculture Program, which transitioned farmers from tobacco to organic vegetables; the Appalachian Regional Initiative for Sustainable Energy, focused on solar energy projects, and Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, which provides guidance for women farmers.
“I ran in 2014 against incumbent Jonathan Jordan, who votes in lockstep with the Raleigh leadership and contrary to the interests and well being of his constituents, and I lost, but I did NOT feel defeated,” Counts said. “I’ve never been a quitter and I am not going to start now when so much is at stake. Not when I have a duty and the ability to make lives better.”
Counts is a native of Dickenson County, Virginia, and a dual-degree graduate of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. She was a registered dietitian for over 30 years through the American Dietetic Association. She has worked as a nutritionist for the Dickenson County Head Start, the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Hyattsville, Md., the New Jersey Department of Health, the Howard University School of Dentistry, the Avery County Health Department, and at Appalachian State University.
For more information about the “Counts for NC Statehouse Campaign” please contact, Melanie Bullard at 828-260-7117 or Sue Counts at 828-964-3441 or click to the campaign’s Facebook page.