App State grad looks to upset long serving GOP member

Abi Pepin, Senior Political Correspondant

Living through a pandemic while recovering from a quadruple-bypass surgery won’t stop one App State alum from campaigning for the 5th Congressional District of North Carolina.

David Wilson Brown graduated from App State in 1996 with bachelor’s degrees in political science and communication. 

Although Brown was passionate about many different topics, like broadcasting and theater, he stuck with his love for politics.

Brown said he became interested in politics at a young age.

David Wilson Brown, democratic candidate for the 5th congressional district of North Carolina, on October 1. Brown is a 1996 Appalachian State Alumni of political science and communication. Brown works his full time job remotely from his home in McAdenville while running against his opposition, Virgina Foxx, in this congressional race. (Jesse Barber)

“I actually had an eighth grade teacher, who was all about John F. Kennedy,” Brown said. “We learned a lot about his presidency and I really got inspired by that.”

In high school, Brown was involved in several different youth groups.

“I had the opportunity to actually meet and work with Sue Myrick in her office as mayor of Charlotte,” Brown said.

Brown said while he was at App State, he interned for Sue Myrick when she was a congresswoman on Capitol Hill.

“It was definitely something I was very interested in that summer, but it kind of broke me of wanting to do politics,” Brown said. “It was the combination of the toxicity about partisanship and the recognition of not making a lot of money while having high living costs in DC.”

Soon after, Brown decided to go the “communications route” by pursuing job opportunities with C-SPAN and NASA TV.

In the upcoming election, Brown is running for a seat in the United States House of Representatives against Republican incumbent Virginia Foxx.

“I was really excited when the redistricting happened for the opportunity to represent the school that I went to,” said Brown. 

In 2019, North Carolina adopted a new congressional district map, changing Brown’s district from the 10th to the 5th. 

The 5th Congressional District of North Carolina includes Alexander, Ashe, Alleghany, Burke, a part of Catawba, Caldwell, Cleveland, Gaston, half of Rutherford, Wilkes and Watauga.

Brown said he now has the opportunity to reinvest in the people in western North Carolina.

“My goal and job will be to be the voice of the people in western North Carolina in Washington, with the interest of the people at heart,” said Brown.

Barbara Brown, the field director for the campaign and David Wilson’s spouse, said there’s not a “better person for public office.”

Barbara Brown works as the field director while also working as a mom and spouse.

“Regardless of him being my husband, he’s the kind of person I want to represent me,” Barbara Brown said.

Barbara Brown said she and her husband try reminding their two children they are living in historic times.

“We both work really hard to not just talk about our values but to live them,” said Barbara Brown.

Wesley Davis, an App State grad student, said he met David Brown through an App State professor.

“I help David out with the communication side of things,” said Davis, a volunteer for the campaign. “I work on communication plans, strategies and how we’re going to talk about certain issues.”

Davis said he also coordinates with county party chairs to see what the campaign can do to support local Democratic candidates.

Davis said he’s constantly on video conferences, but the team is still trying to find alternative ways of campaigning in a “COVID-19 world.”

“We have started doing driving campaigns,” Davis said. “Basically, we just drive around to different spots and show David’s pride while allowing people to meet up outside to get information.”

Davis said that’s the best they can do for limited personal interaction during this time.

“I think David’s going to bring accountability to Washington,” Davis said. “He’s big on talking about how we need to reform our democratic institutions.”

David Wilson Brown said if he is elected, some of his biggest priorities would be a new voting rights act, health care for all and education.

“The younger generation has the opportunity to be so impactful in this election,” David Wilson Brown said. “Please consider how important your right to vote is and take it seriously.”