Democratic insurgent Terri LeGrand --
I initially heard about LeGrand on the first day of this new year and mentioned her here among the first crop of really exciting new candidates running for the NC General Assembly. LeGrand has a well developed website and looks like she's built a campaign infrastructure that can generate enthusiastic volunteers.
LeGrand grew up in Galax, Virginia, in the "make-do" culture of small-town America and has translated those values to her current job at Wake Forest University, which is helping poorer students get financial aid to attend and succeed at an expensive private university. She tells her advisees, "Only borrow what you absolutely have to borrow. Work hard to finish so that you do not accumulate debt without a degree to show for it."
She trained as a lawyer and is a 1993 graduate of the Wake Forest School of Law. (She also studied Russian because she wanted to be a spy. "Then the Cold War ended.") "I became a community activist…and a mom, two roles I am passionate about. I have also been a lawyer and an advocate for children and feel fortunate to have landed in a career I love at Wake Forest University. Currently, I work hard every day so that poor kids can go to a great college and so that families that have worked hard, saved and sacrificed to send their kids to Wake Forest can keep them there even in the face of job loss, catastrophic illness or divorce. As a lawyer and through social work, I advocated for children and at-risk youth and their families, helping them navigate complex education, judicial, and social services systems."
She was a founder of the Piedmont Environmental Alliance, serves on the Women's Leadership Council of the United Way, and served on the public utilities commission for Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.
She earned a BS in medical technology at Wake Forest in 1974 and owns Conrad Marketing Strategies. She's a doctrinaire conservative Republican ... opposes the expansion of Medicaid, opposes increasing the minimum wage, attacks "liberal activist judges" for overturning Amendment One, hedges about increased support for public education. According to realfactsnc.com, Conrad voted against funding for schools, libraries, and health care during her 18 years as a Forsyth County Commissioner, and during the Tea Party uprising of 2010 she self-defined as "a Tea Party person before there was a Tea Party.” She's virulently anti-abortion and has voted for every limitation to abortion rights that has come before the General Assembly.
In other words, she's exactly the sort of Republican incumbent who's ripe for getting surprised.