Tangela Morgan’s, “Nothing is as strong as the collective efforts of a community except voting” and her 2022 specific voting reminder to “Choose people over politics.” and Carlton Killian’s sage advice that “Nothing will happen if we don’t get out the vote,” was just part of some great candidate commentary on October 8th.

At the October 8th breakfast of the Rowan County Democratic Party, citizens gathered for the opportunity to hear local candidates talk about their platforms and a chance to grab yard signs and support these candidates financially. Enthusiasm was high.

Tangela Lucy Horne Morgan, candidate for NC Senate Seat 33 representing Rowan and Stanly Counties, brought nods and chuckles from the crowd as she explained the need to include her childhood nickname on the ballot, the result of her choice to dress up as Lucy from Peanuts for Halloween. Morgan laughed and said that even at the age of 4, she was quite determined and decided not to answer unless called “Lucy.” Her grandmother finally relented and that nickname is still how Stanly folks recognize her. Morgan noted determination as a character strength that will serve her well in Raleigh. She added that friends are sometimes surprised to see her labeled a “politician.” Morgan clarified that she is here to be a servant to her community, something she learned through example from her family and has continued with her 24 years in education. 

This theme of determination and service continued with those candidates present. Scott Huffman is a navy veteran now running for US House of Representatives District 8. A product of Rowan County, Huffman reminded voters what is at stake in this election: threats to our democracy and to women’s rights. Huffman promised to support all services for NC and called out his opponent, Dan Bishop, who has voted against veterans health insurance, against expanding Medicaid in NC, but voted FOR the “bathroom bill” that took businesses and money from our state.

One of 2 Democrats running for Rowan County Commissioners and present on Saturday, Alisha Byrd-Clark has served on the School Board for six years and as Vice-Chair for two years. She is a bridge builder and alerted voters that, “In order to make wise decisions for the community, a change of leadership is needed.” Byrd-Clark is driven by servant leadership, committed to coalition building, and focused on advocacy.

Rowan County Sheriff Candidate Carlton Killian, touted his 35 years in law enforcement and his expertise on the local, state, and federal level as a necessary strength for this office. Killian has worked for the East Spencer Police Department, NC State Highway Patrol, Rowan County Deputy Sheriff, and Protect Security US Federal Government. He emphasizes police training for crime prevention and reduction and sees “ training, training, training,” as a proven method for officer and citizen safety. If elected, he would be the first black sheriff in Rowan County and noted that, “It’s been 20 years without a Democratic sheriff in Rowan County.”

The 4 RCDP endorsed candidates for the Rowan Salisbury School Board race, Ruth Marohn, seat 2; Ebony Rivers Boyd, seat 4; Sabrina Harris and Jean Kennedy, seat 6. also spoke. All voters in Rowan County with RSS Board candidates on their ballot will vote for 5 candidates, 1 from each of the 5 open seats.  

Marohn seeks ”to help kids be successful in their future” and to give teachers the support and salary they need to stay in their profession. Currently working at Carson High School, she has been in education for 32 years and wants to “help students be their best.” Marohn has dedicated her life to serving her students however possible and will be retiring this year from teaching. 

Boyd, a product of Salisbury schools has experience in elementary, middle, high school, and currently in higher education, something she describes as an asset for a school board member. Her goal is to “Serve, Connect and Impact,” noting that we must “meet students and parents where they are” and “impact youth to go learn and return to their community and give back.”

Harris, a UNC-Charlotte graduate and mother of 5 children is no stranger to Rowan-Salisbury Schools. Harris emphasized that “Children need to know they are important,” that we must “pay attention to a child’s needs, meet parents where they are, listen to understand others, and slow down. Harris is an advocate for children with disabilities and can’t stress the importance of reading ability enough. 

Jean Kennedy, a retired school teacher and current Rowan Salisbury School Board member has held this office for twelve years. Kennedy is “running for our children, their achievement and to be one part of a team with parents and the community.” A Rowan County native, Kennedy will continue to stress student achievement, teacher salaries, and the preservation of schools if elected.

Al Heggins spoke as a surrogate for the Cheri Beasley for US Senate campaign and announced that Cheri Beasley will visit Livingstone College on October 13 th at 12:30 pm and sent regrets that she could not attend the breakfast. Beasley is in a tight race and NC is considered a pivotal state for Democrats to keep the Senate and strengthen their hold. Noting the televised debate on 10/7 between Beasley and opponent Budd, Heggins reminded the crowd that Beasley is prepared to “give NC the representation we deserve.” and that Beasley “will be a strong Democrat to represent our Democratic ideals.” 

Attendees were reminded of the importance of voting the entire ballot and how important the State Judicial races are as well as the NC State Senate, US House, and US Senate and the equal importance of local Rowan offices as Democrats “Roe, Roe, Roe the vote” in 2022. The status of the ERA was discussed and how to learn which candidates support the Equal Rights Amendment by visiting https://www.era-nc.org/

The meeting adjourned with Tangela Morgan’s, “Nothing is as strong as the collective efforts of a community except voting” and her 2022 specific voting reminder to “Choose people over politics.” and Carlton Killian’s sage advice that “Nothing will happen if we don’t get out the vote,” resonating in conversations as the crowd dispersed.

Pam Bloom & Linda Voelker