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Coleman launches campaign for Congress

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Democrat Linda Coleman, left, chats with Martha Daniel after launching her campaign for North Carolina's Second Congressional District Saturday at the Nash County Democratic Headquarters.

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A former state official launched her campaign for Congress on Saturday in Rocky Mount, saying she can beat the entrenched incumbent.

Linda Coleman, former three-term N.C. General Assembly member and lieutenant gubernatorial candidate, officially announced her run for the Second Congressional District. If she wins the Democratic primary, she will challenge GOP incumbent George Holding.

Coleman said her platform will focus on health care, public infrastructure, education and the economy. The Greenville native said she'll be spending a lot of time in Rocky Mount over the next 10 months, including attending five events this week.

“The people of Eastern North Carolina are a dynamic, diverse and caring people that believe in the traditional values of community uplift, service to others, and honest hard work,” Coleman said. “It is in that spirit that I am pleased and proud to announce my candidacy for Congress.”

The announcement was made at the Nash County Democratic Party Headquarters off Sunset Avenue. A constituent asked Coleman why she thought she can beat Holding, a former U.S. Attorney and Congressman since 2013.

Coleman said her unsuccessful run at lieutenant governor in 2016 had her running in 100 counties; the race for the Second District is for only six counties: Nash, Wake, Harnett, Franklin, Wilson and Johnston counties. Coleman said her primary opponents either won't be able to win Wake County or has no public service experience.

Aron Johnson, Coleman's campaign field director, said Coleman will win because the district has a sizable minority population and Coleman will contrast nicely with Holding who has sided with President Donald Trump more than 90 percent of the time.

“Washington is riddled with scandal, greed and tweets,” Coleman said. “Washington isn't working for us. It's badly broken and need of repair. The business of governing this nation is more complex than massive tax cuts for the rich, sabotaging legitimate investigations or issuing threats and insults on social media.”

Coleman said the people of Eastern North Carolina deserve better. Coleman said she'll work to see folks have affordable healthcare, educational opportunities and protection for farmers.

“I grew up in Eastern North Carolina in a family of 10 children,” Coleman said. “We didn't have much, but our parents gave us love and encouragement. That's about all they had to give us except a roof over our heads and food on the table. But they taught us values: The values of faith, family and community.”

Coleman said when she was a teenager she worked in tobacco fields to help pay for school clothes. She hated the hot summer days, the tobacco juice that stung her eyes and stuck to her fingers and the big fat worms that hid in the plants. It's this experience that taught Coleman the value of hard work, the importance of a good education and sent her into public service.

Coleman attended public schools in Greenville and earned a master's degree in public administration from N.C. A&T University. Her first job out of college was as a classroom teacher. From there she went on to be a Wake County commissioner, state representative and director of N.C. Human Resources.

Resident Trevor Wells said the people of Eastern North Carolina needed a champion. Another constituent said she was depressed about the state of the nation, but felt heartened after Coleman's speech.

Coleman said she's depending on fellow Democrats to help her take Holding's seat.

“We can't count on the blue wave, we are the blue wave,” Coleman said.