Eastern North Carolina Lawmakers Call for New Policies on Education, Health Care, and Jobs

May 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. —During a telephone town hall on Tuesday evening, North Carolina Sen. Erica Smith and House Democratic Leader Darren Jackson committed to policies to create a strong public education system, improve access to affordable health care, and create an economy that works for everyone. The call was hosted by the State Innovation Exchange (SiX) and reached over 3,600 North Carolinians with a peak of 750 people on the line at a time.

The first question on the call was about the new agenda released by progressives in North Carolina last month.

“We promise we will fight hard on your behalf for stronger education, access to health care, and safe communities, and we look forward to working with you to build a stronger North Carolina,”said Sen. Smith, D-Northampton.We are firmly committed to making sure that North Carolina residents get better than what we have been getting.”

One woman on the line asked about what can be done for people like her son, a young man attending college full time and unable to afford health insurance.

“Medicaid expansion would make sure people like your son have coverage, can go to the doctor, and don’t go bankrupt at 21 years of age,” said House Democratic Leader Jackson, D-Wake. “Expanding Medicaid would also ease the burden on rural hospitals, bring billions of dollars into our state, and create up to 40,000 jobs. North Carolinians are paying tax dollars to D.C.—it is ridiculous that we don’t bring those dollars back to our state. That’s why expanding Medicaid is such a priority for us.”

Other questions focused on the low level of education funding in the state; how to ensure quality schools in all areas of the state; low teacher pay; access to high speed internet and job growth in rural parts of the state; and the redrawing of judicial districts.

The event was sponsored by the State Innovation Exchange and open to the public and any members of the press.