UPDATED (4/18): This article was updated to fix one of Day’s quotes and to clarify her job.
Two business owners, Carla Catalán Day and Sean Lew, will compete in the Democratic primary for the District 74 State House seat on May 17.
Republican Jeff Zenger currently holds the seat and is running unopposed. The winner between Day and Lew will face Zenger in the general election this November.
District 74 covers southwestern Forsyth County and includes the towns of Lewisville and Clemmons.
The candidates are listed alphabetically by last name.
Carla Catalán Day
A public health worker focused on Medicaid, funding public education
Carla Catalán Day moved to Forsyth County with her family in the 1990’s, attending Meadowlark Middle School and graduating from West Forsyth High School. Day is a registered Environmental Health Specialist and owns her a consulting agency in Winston-Salem.
As a working-class mother, Day said she’s running for office because she understands the struggle of working parents.
“I know the awful feeling of having to cancel my child’s medical appointment because I couldn’t afford to pay the entire amount at the time of service,” she said. “My child deserves better. People deserve better. We deserve better – regardless of class and racial background.”
As a public health worker Day is focused on expanding Medicaid as one of her top priorities.
“We are one of 12 states in the country that has not expanded Medicaid” she said. “This leaves many working-class and middle-class people in situations where they don’t qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford health care.”
Her stance on police reform includes a focus on increasing support for social services.
“We’re all safer when we invest our resources in things that really keep us safe – like healthcare, education, and good jobs,” she said.
In addition to supporting the expansion of Medicaid, Day’s expressed her passion for funding public schools.
“We have got to do better for our children,” she said. “Defunding public school, like the Republican legislature has been doing, should be a mortal sin. Public education is being micromanaged now by people who have not spent time in classrooms. People who have no experience are ignoring the voices of those who are experts in the field of education.”
As a representative, she said she would support teachers when they say they need reduced classroom sizes and school supplies.
“The power of a strong and inclusive public education can transform the world,” Day said. “It is necessary to defend the institution of public education in order to support and empower our children, educational staff and communities to build a more equitable society that affirms the identities and dignity of our Black and African-American students, Native-American and Indigenous students, working class students, Hispanic/Latinx students and LGBTQ+ students.”
Day said she fully supports the Leandro plan and increasing NC educators’ salaries to the national average of $63,645.
A local attorney focused on supporting local businesses
Sean (pronounced “seen”) Lew has lived in Forsyth County for more than 20 years. He is currently an attorney with his own practice in Winston-Salem. He received his Juris Doctor from the UNC School of Law. Lew served as a Citizen Commissioner for the city of Winston-Salem on two community boards from 2003 to 06.
As a practicing attorney, Lew told TCB that he has an excellent working relationship with members of both sides of the political aisle. Using his experience, he said he wants to be a “citizen lawyer for the citizen legislature.”
He also said his priorities include supporting family businesses, strengthening schools, expanding health care coverage, and preserving our natural resources and green spaces.
“Family businesses are the heart and soul of our district and they have been devastated economically from the pandemic,” Lew said. “Small business recovery from COVID is a top priority issue and very personal to me as I’m a small business owner.”
Like his opponent, Lew also believes in expanding healthcare in the district. “I believe all North Carolinians deserve access to quality care they can afford, especially those with mental illness and substance use disorders,” he said.
On the issue of policing, Lew pointed to his experience working with local law enforcement in a balanced response.
“As an attorney that appears regularly at the Forsyth County Hall of Justice, I have great respect for the men and women who serve in our county and local police force,” he said. “I believe we should fund our police while also funding new methods for our frontline staff that deal with specific crises and mental health episodes where traditional policing may not be the best first response to the situation. I do not believe all public safety situations should be addressed with a single type of tool.”
In education, Lew said he supports increasing access to early childhood education, raising teacher pay, and investing in increasing staff size to support the needs of students. He said he supports the Leandro decision to add $1.7 billion to schools in the state budget.
Read additional election reporting here.
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