The campaign for the North Carolina District 93 seat has begun and the three candidates have started their campaigns.
The current representative, Jonathan Jordan, is being challenged for the position by Appalachian State professor Ray Russell and Robert Block, a junior political science major at Appalachian State University.
Ray Russell has taught computer science at Appalachian State for 26 years and also created his own website, raysweather.com, in 2002 and became a public figure.
His campaign website, rayfornc.com, describes his journey from professor, to local weatherman to candidate for the N.C. District House seat.
At the Watauga County Democratic Rally on Sept. 30, Russell gave a speech announcing his plans for running.
After feeling angry in the wake of the presidential election, Russell believed that “there’s a thirst out there for something real … anything! Something decent and uplifting … anything! Something that transcends politics as we now know it.”
He was frustrated with the process that he felt Republicans used to write laws and described it with metaphor. “Bake the cake in the back room, put lots of nasty stuff in the middle, throw lots of icing on it and force it down our throats,” Russell said.
With the name recognition from Ray’s Weather, he felt that it was his responsibility to run for office and fight for what he thought was right.
Russell’s campaign is about change and understanding. He believes that politics should be less focused on taking down one’s opponents and more focused on respecting, listening and leading.
While he is the only Democrat in this race, Russell is not the only one taking on Republican Jonathan Jordan.
App State student Robert Block announced his plan to run for office, focusing his campaign on improving education and moving to make North Carolina the first state that uses 100 percent clean energy.
Block grew up in a military family and at the age of 17 became the manager of a small business.
He said that he plans on using the skills and knowledge that he acquired from his job and from being student at ASU during his time in office.
On his website, robertblock4us, Block mentioned that he hates seeing North Carolina constantly disgraced in the media and stated, “The state legislature in 6 years recruited a super-majority of extreme far-right politicians that only care about themselves. Only paying attention to their big donors, they leave constituents without a voice. The party should focus more on smart management, not petty party politics.”
Though he is by far the youngest candidate, he hopes that people will focus on his campaign and experience more than his age.
He finished his introduction of himself by saying, “If you vote for me, I promise you will have a voice in Raleigh. I promise I will fight for everyone’s individual freedoms and their right to a higher standard of education.”
The third candidate running for office is the current representative, Jonathan Jordan, and he has currently held office for four terms.
One of Jordan’s main focus during his initial campaign against Democrat Sue Counts was increased teacher pay and increased funding for schools. According to his Facebook page, Jonathan Jordan for North Carolina House of Representatives, he used his time in office to “increase funding for public schools by 18 percent and to give teachers a raise of over $10,000, the largest in state history.”
Jordan promised to continue his work with the education system if he continues to hold his current position.
According to High Country Press, Jordan plans to continue working on “tax reform, regulatory reform, working on jobs and the education system, teacher pay and per pupil spending.”
All three of these candidates have something to offer for North Carolina and will continue to campaign as the time for voting draws nearer.
The election for North Carolina House of Representatives will take place in November 2018. More information can be found at ballotpedia.org
Ella Shepherd is a sophomore communications and journalism major from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. You can follow her on Twitter at @ellakshep