No retreat, no surrender for Adams

by Keith Barber

No retreat, no surrender for Adams

DD Adams’ résumé speaks for itself. No one could deny that Adams, a candidate for the Democratic nomination to represent Winston-Salem’s North Ward, has an impressive set of political credentials.

Adams, 55, has worked on more than a dozen campaigns at the local, state and national level. Her first political experience came while working as a volunteer on Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential run. Adams has since served as a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1992 and 2008. Currently, Adams serves as secretary of the 12 th Congressional District for the Democratic Party. A longtime North Ward resident, Adams also serves on a number of area boards and committees, including Winston- Salem’s Urban League, the United Way Women’s Leadership Council, and the city’s sustainability commission. Adams first tossed her hat in the political ring in 1990, an experience that would shape her political future. Adams lost her bid for NC House to Warren P. Odom by about 100 votes. Under state election law, Adams could’ve called for a runoff but decided not to do so. “The party told me not to ask for a runoff because Harvey Gantt was on the ballot,”

Adams said. “But to this day, I regret it because I would’ve won.” In 1990, Gantt, the former mayor of Charlotte, lost his race for US Senate to incumbent Jesse Helms. Adams actually managed Gantt’s Winston-Salem campaign office that year, and eventually bounced back from her defeat. Adams said she never lost her passion for public service and knew that someday she would run again. When longtime Winston-Salem City Councilman Nelson Malloy announced his retirement earlier this year, Adams saw an opportunity. A black woman born and raised in Winston-Salem’s North Ward, Adams said she is a reflection of her community. “Not only am I black and female but I grew up in the ward,” Adams said. “I went off, got educated and came back. I have a passionate heart but I have a mind for detail.” Adams describes her greatest talent as bringing two opposing sides together, and her intimate knowledge of the issues that affect her constituents in the North Ward. “I hope people will see my experience,” she said. “I know the history of the community. I understand the issues — the things that will make Winston- Salem better.” A quality control engineer for Johnson Controls, Adams said she will bring an attitude of due diligence to the council. “Winston-Salem citizens are customers of city services, and when customers feel their needs are not being addressed you have customer concerns,” Adams said. “My piece I bring to the table is a questioning attitude. I will not settle until I know that I know all I can know. In business, we call it strategic thinking.” Adams cited the lack of strategic thinking that went into the city’s original agreement with Winston-Salem Dash owner Billy Prim to invest $12 million in the construction of the downtown ballpark as the reason for the controversy that eventually erupted over the stadium. Adams said she fully supports the completion of the stadium because it will become a centerpiece for the downtown area. As a former chair of the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem, Adams said she has insight into public safety issues in the North Ward. “Is it not right that I should want to be safe in the city of Winston-Salem?” Adams asked. “A mile or two west of Marshall Street, it’s always safe. People want the same amount of [police] attention in their neighborhood in the North Ward as people in the western sections of the city.” Adams said the greatest challenges facing the city’s young people are the lack of good jobs. The candidate recalled her days volunteering at a facility on North Cherry Street called the House of Commons. Adams then expounded on her vision of transforming Winston-Salem into a community that pulls together. “I love this town,” she said, wiping away tears. “I think I can make a positive change.”

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