Jenny Marshall, a teacher with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, has announced plans to run as a Democrat for the 5th Congressional District seat currently held by Republican Virginia Foxx, which comes up for reelection in 2018. Winston-Salem City Councilwoman DD Adams also plans to run in the Democratic primary for the seat.
What makes you a good candidate for the office?
I work in an urban part of Winston-Salem, I live in a suburban area, and I’m from a very rural community. I feel at home in all three aspects. I’ve been a business owner. I’ve been an employee of a not-for-profit. I’m an educator. I have a good grasp of where people are, what their needs are. I’m good at listening to people and I’ll be able to take that to Washington.
What do Democrats need to do differently in light of the beating the party took in the 2016 election?
We need to stand up and take a firm stance about policy and procedures that do not help families. We need to take a firm stance about labor and education — I should say public education. For a long time we have taken groups of people for granted. I think Trump’s messaging — while he was saying “make America great again,” what people really wanted to hear was, “I will be your champion, and I will not let you down.”
Democrats need to say, “We’re going to stand up for labor, for public education. We’re going to stand up for working families. We’re going to stand up for the disenfranchised and for equal access to the ballot box.” Sometimes the things we really need to talk about are the things we leave on the table — standing up for working people.
How would you balance representing urban Winston-Salem with the rural western end of the district?
People in communities aren’t too much different from each other. They all want to provide a stable and secure household for their family…. If you walk into urban Winston-Salem, they’re going to say the same thing: “I don’t make enough money. My wages are low. They cut my hours.” In suburban areas, they say, “The only work I can find is contract labor, and it’s not secure.” If you go into rural areas they don’t make enough money. There aren’t stable jobs…. People can’t make it on $7.25 an hour. It’s just not reasonable. Harvard did a study that said that if you’re living in Forsyth County you need to make $12 an hour to make it as a single person. And if you have a child, you need to make $22 an hour. No wonder people are struggling.