Adams Eyes Congressional Seat Held by Foxx

Winston-Salem City Council member Denise Adams plans to challenge Virginia Foxx's congressional seat.
(Last Updated On: March 7, 2017)
Winston-Salem City Council member Denise Adams plans to challenge Virginia Foxx's congressional seat.

Winston-Salem City Council member Denise Adams plans to challenge Virginia Foxx’s congressional seat.

While the next election isn’t until 2018, Winston-Salem Councilwoman Denise Adams, along with Jenny Marshall, has announced her decision to run against Republican Virginia Foxx for the 5th district Congressional seat.

It’s a decision that’s been in the making for the past decade.

The 62-year-old Adams, who grew up in the era where women began to be told they could be and do anything, said that being a public servant allows her to help others while making her community and the world a better place.

“I always knew that I would be in politics because I’ve always been conscious of other people,” Adams said. “I have a lot to give to this world and that’s always been my focus. That’s what I thrive on and that’s what gets me up every morning.”

Well aware of the challenges she faces, Adams believes that she’s the person to oust Foxx stating that she’s committed, hardworking and willing to hold people accountable and do her homework in order to get the job done.

“I feel like we need a different kind of leadership for the 5th district. Someone that wants to represent all of the 5th and not be divisive. People will say the numbers aren’t there and it’s 75 to 80 percent White. That may be true but it doesn’t mean that they don’t want the same things that I want,” Adams said. “The 5th is a very diverse district. We have an African-American constituency of about 12 percent and a growing Latino constituency of 6 to 9 percent and then there are those who identify as other.”

John Dinan, professor of politics and international affairs at Wake Forest University, follows national and state political races and said that Foxx has maintained a solid and steady advantage in each of her elections from 2004 to 2016.

“The district is a solidly Republican district. To be sure, there are other congressional districts in North Carolina that are even more solidly Republican in their voting patterns. But the 5th district is a comfortably Republican district, to the point that election analysts and handicappers do not identify the 5th district as a district that is winnable by a Democratic candidate,” Dinan said. “As a result, the 5th district does not appear on the lists of congressional districts around the country that could be competitive in 2018.”

However, with the current political dynamics changing daily, Dinan says that there are two main trends that will play a factor in the 2018 mid-term election.

“On one hand, the party holding the presidency traditionally loses seats in the House in mid-term elections, in a way that would bode well for Democratic challengers in 2018. In fact, the party holding the presidency has lost seats in the House in all but three mid-term elections held since the Civil War,” he said. “On the other hand, the composition of the mid-term electorate in recent decades has been more favorable to Republicans than to Democrats, in that the voters who make up the electorate in mid-term years generally lean more Republican than the voters who make up the electorate in presidential years.”

For Adams, there are three key components that she’ll focus on while running for office: economic development, education and healthcare.

“All three create a great quality of life that creates a viable community,” Adams said.

One of the things Adams believes could help the district is to look into the emerging markets and what the district has to offer.

“I’m all for the Innovation and the Arts, and the rebranding of cities and towns but what happened to agriculture? We still have some of the best land on the east coast. Why wouldn’t we focus on getting younger people connected back to agriculture? People want to know where their food comes from,” she said. “Nobody necessarily wants to have a major farm, like 200 and 300 acres, but young people want to have a farm of 5 to 10 acres, sell their products to the local grocers and farmers markets.”

Adams said that in order to be successful, it’s important that you affect how people live their lives and take care of their families, primarily by creating jobs, small businesses and looking at education. In order to do this, she explains, it’s important to look at the data and employment numbers and work with community colleges to train and retrain the workforce.

“Everybody is not going to go to a four-year school or start off there. I think workforce development needs to be looked at to make sure we’re seeing the results that were intended,” Adams said. “When we look at emerging markets we need to look at other districts that are comparable to ours and see what works for them.”

When it comes to healthcare, Adams believes that everyone should have some sort of baseline healthcare.

“I know how important healthcare is. If we had followed the examples of other countries that offered universal healthcare we would’ve been further along than where we are now,” she said. “We would’ve already re-tweaked the system to make it work for everyone.”

Adams said that she’s been humbled and surprised by the feedback she’s gotten since announcing her run. She said that it’s been very positive and people are looking for ways to help.

“I thought I’d get about 20 phone calls but I’ve heard from more people I don’t know than I know. I’ve heard from people across the district, North Carolina and some national PACs.”

A few of those calls have been from her constituents in the North Ward who understand will miss her but wish her luck.

“They understand. My constituents want me to win but they hate to lose me. They understand that the fighting, services and work that I’ve done for them I will now do for all of Forsyth County and the 5th district. Their okay with that.”

Over the next few weeks, Adams will begin picking the members of team, set up her contacts and website along with beginning her fundraising efforts to go against the seven-time incumbent with more than $2 million in her war chest.

“My team will reflect the diversity of the 5th district. I believe in that.”

To the naysayers, Adams said we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

“When you tell people, who are fighters and soldiers, that they can’t, that’s the ammunition and drive they need to go make it happen. Just because you tell me I can’t, I’ve never let that stop me being and doing what I do and who I am. I’ve always believed in what’s right and what’s just. Anything outside of that I will fight,” Adams said. “Right now, where we are, I know a lot of people aren’t happy. I know a lot of people feel like it’s no way out and it’s not going to get better. It can get better when we change the players and the leaders at the table. It won’t get better until someone steps up and steps out.”