Montgomery Vying for Nomination in Sixth District

new North Carolina 6th congressional district with Democrat donkey

6th District Democrat candidate Derwin Montgomery
Throughout much of our history, Triad area residents have been represented by at least two Congressmen. But now, thanks to various court rulings and legislative maneuverings, Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem will all fall into the newly formed 6th District, as well as all of Guilford County and much of Forsyth. The new alignment favors a Democrat, so Republican incumbent Mark Walker declined to seek another term. As a result, two Republicans and five Democrats filed for the open seat, and they will seek their party’s nomination in the March 3rd primary.

While still a senior at Winston-Salem State University, Democrat Derwin Montgomery became the youngest person ever elected to Winston-Salem City Council, where he served three terms. He is now completing his first term representing the 72nd district in the North Carolina House. Derwin is also director of Bethesda Center for the homeless in Forsyth County. Montgomery appeared on Triad Today this past weekend. Here are highlights of our conversation:

 


JL: Why are you running for Congress?

DM: I am in this race because with all we see happening in Washington, D.C., we’ve got to have a voice in the 6th district fighting for everyday folks. That’s who I am, that’s who I have been. And once you get to Washington, if you don’t have an understanding of everyday people before you go there, you’re not going to learn it when you get there.

JL: Once elected, what will be your priority issues?

DM: Folks are very concerned about healthcare, and I’m one who supports us moving toward universal healthcare. I think the Affordable Care Act was a good step in the right direction, but the fact is, at the time, President Obama put universal healthcare on the table, but Democrats took it off the table because they couldn’t agree on moving forward.

JL: I understand that you’re a big proponent of universal Pre-K. Why?

DM: Yeah because the data is clear that we have to start earlier. One of my first jobs out of college was working in Head Start, and I saw first hand what happens when you invest in early education, and you prepare folks to move into the public school system. We’ve failed so may of our young people because we don’t provide universal Pre-K that prepares everyone on an equitable footing when they start off.

JL: The plight of the homeless is also important to you.

DM: The work I do every day is working with the homeless in our community, and it really shapes my political understanding, and how I approach policy, through the lens of equality and justice. I came across a veteran who was dishonorably discharged from the military for behavioral health issues which were never addressed. I engaged with a senior who had no family support and was solely dependent on his social security check, and because of that he lost everything. I have contact with families, like the mom and dad who work everyday , but because they are only making $7.25 an hour, they’ve been evicted from their home. They show up at our place with everything they own in black trash bags.

JL: Can you help correct those issues as a Congressman, or is it something that can only be addressed locally or at the State level?

DM: The fact is I love the work that I do, but it’s a band aid because we’re serving as an emergency service to help folks, and we don’t deal with the core structural issues, like insuring that we have pay equity for folks. $7.25 is not enough. We need to move the minim wage up to at least $15 an hour. We need to look at social security benefits for our seniors and insure that the system is stable. Those kinds of actions get taken up at the federal level.

JL: What is it about your background and experience that will make you an effective Congressman?

DM: I’m the only candidate who has served at both the local and State level. I understand how policy impacts folks on the ground, and how it impacts folks at the State level. I’m the only person in this race who has that experience.

 


For more information, visit DerwinMontgomery.com.

 
 

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