That's why I sat up when I saw the numbers of direct voter contact for Democrat Dianne Little, running next door in House District 94 (Alexander and part of Wilkes counties). Only one other candidate for the General Assembly has higher numbers, and none of this year's Democratic stars in Wake, Mecklenburg, and Guilford have come close to hustling like Dianne Little is hustling.
We like her campaign theme: "Brave Enough to Say ENOUGH!" That's aimed at the corruption and misrule flowing out of Raleigh. Here's how her platform pokes at the current Republican super majority in the NC House and Senate:
✤ They have funneled money designated for public schools – our tax dollars – into private schools; and they have allowed charter schools to increase in number while public schools have lost enrollment.
✤ They have allowed teacher salaries to plummet to as low as 47th in the nation, taken away the due process that employees need for fair treatment, and robbed educators of professional development funding and master’s degree stipends.
✤ Those same leaders have denied equal access to quality healthcare for all North Carolina residents and have failed to provide access to health insurance.
✤ They watched our environment be polluted while refusing to hold the polluters accountable for the clean-up cost, and instead, passed that cost on to taxpayers.
✤ They have placed a larger tax burden on the shoulders of the average citizen and given huge tax breaks to larger corporations.She's a veteran educator with over 40 years active experience in teaching, so naturally she's got education at the top of her issues. She taught at Alexander Central High School for 23 years, served as assistant principal and principal at Newton-Conover High School, and now is the director of the Phillips Leadership Institute at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory.
More importantly, she's obviously got a corps of volunteers working for her, which means more than a large bank account.
While Little decries the backhand that public education has suffered during Elmore's term in office, Elmore can manage only a shrug: In 2014, he said "issues with abolishing teacher tenure would have to sort themselves out." Now, there's a leader!
He's hardcore on every issue where moderation might expose some humanity.
He doesn't appear to be taking Dianne Little seriously. If his Facebook page is any indication -- he hasn't posted anything since May, which was a new profile photo -- he appears to expect to coast back into office, and his website still says he represents Allegheny County, which was under a previous map.
Smugness in an incumbent in a year like 2018 might be a stumbling block.