Monday, March 12, 2018

Yates-Lockamy in House District 46

The North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation (Jonathan Kappler, really) currently lists 14 NC House seats as "competitive." Five of those seats are already held by Democrats. The other nine are currently held by Republicans, though two of them are now technically "open seats" because the Republican incumbent had planned to go fishing next year.

I've already written about several of the Democrats running for those Republican-held seats:

Ron Wesson (two days ago), District 1

Joe Sam Queen (scroll down), District 119

Terence Everitt (scroll down -- with a primary opponent), District 35

Sydney Batch, District 37

Erica McAdoo (scroll down), District 63

Julie von Haefen, District 36

Three others of the 14 districts will have Democratic primaries (including District 35, where Terence Everitt is running), and I've a hill to climb yet researching those races, as some candidates don't have a web presence. The same deficiency goes for a couple of other Democrats without primaries who haven't yet made it onto Watauga Watch (District 46 and 51). Until today.

Barbara Yates-Lockamy
Democrat Barbara Yates-Lockamy, running against a Republican incumbent named Jones in District 46.
District 46 now carves out a crescent on the eastern side of Robeson County and dips south toward the coast along the South Carolina border to take in the western side of Columbus County. It cuts out Pembroke (and its university) and clearly jerks east to keep away from Lumberton. (Looks like the map-drawer had a sudden sneezing fit.) Columbus County has over a dozen little towns and hamlets, the largest of which is Whiteville. But otherwise -- with Lumberton eliminated -- district 46 is a district without a large metropolitan magnet.
Barbara Yates-Lockamy is since 2010 a member of the Columbus County Board of Education (currently serving as chair, and she's an honorary member of the All-State School Board) and is prominent throughout the region. She serves on the Board of Directors of the NC Caucus of Black School Board Members, and in 2013 she was elected to the Board of Directors of the North Carolina School Board Association. On the Columbus Board of Education she co-exists with an otherwise all-male, all-white board. 
She lives in the county seat of Whiteville. When she was vice chair of the Columbus County Board in 2017, she supported the consolidation of Columbus County Schools with the Whiteville City Schools: "approximately 75-percent of Columbus County and Whiteville City schools facilities are over 50 years old and a gradual decline in enrollment has emphasized the need to consolidate."
The Board of Education of Whiteville City Schools fought the consolidation hard. "Whiteville City Schools Superintendent Charles Garland says the merger would not save money and would reduce state funding. Last week, Garland told [a reporter for WWAY-TV] it would be a significant loss of state dollars coming in to a poor economic county."
The opponents of consolidation went to their Republican General Assembly members, who told them that consolidation was ultimately in the hands of the seven-member county Board of Commissioners, only one of which represents Whiteville in their seven-district plan. Whiteville is feeling put upon and under-represented, and Yates-Lockamy putatively represents Whiteville on the Columbus County School Board. The school consolidation vote probably hurts her -- maybe -- with some of her base. It's curious -- in all the local press coverage of consolidation, Yates-Lockamy is never quoted. She's either very silent or simply ignored.
So far, Yates-Lockamy has no campaign infrastructure -- no Facebook, no website, no other social media at all. Someone needs to help her out.

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