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NC AFL-CIO Holds Congressional Candidates Town Hall

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Next online town hall will be July 23rd with Cal Cunningham, Jessica Holmes

Over 120 people gathered in a Zoom meeting on Tuesday, June 30th for a virtual town hall hosted by the NC State AFL-CIO for union members, retirees, and their families to hear from candidates running for US House in districts around the state. The hour-long event highlighted the need for safe workplaces during the Covid-19 pandemic and the struggle that essential workers face balancing their livelihoods and health. 

The candidates--Deborah Ross, Pat Timmons-Goodson, Kathy Manning, and Moe Davis--answered questions from state AFL-CIO President MaryBe McMillan during the first half of the program. 

“We’ve taken care of folks at the top for far too long,” said Moe Davis, candidate for US House District 11 in Western North Carolina, who talked about the need to lift the economy from the bottom up, criticizing the concept of “trickle-down economics.” 

Stressing the importance of tourism to the Asheville economy, Davis emphasized the need to protect essential workers during the pandemic. “We can help them recover their livelihood, but not their lives,” said Davis.

Kathy Manning, candidate for US House District 6, which includes Greensboro, praised Governor Roy Cooper for his science-based approach to public health and safety during the pandemic. Talking about the need for workers to have necessary PPE equipment, Manning highlighted the meatpacking industry, where some plants have failed to contain the spread of the virus by not adhering to PPE or distancing guidelines in their facilities.

Deborah Ross, candidate for US House District 2, which includes Raleigh, answered a question about healthcare. “This has been a question since before the pandemic. It is an abomination that the legislature has not let us expand Medicaid,” said Ross, citing the half-million North-Carolinians who would be covered by such an expansion. “Insurance companies and drug companies are running the show, we have to take that power back.”

Pat Timmons-Goodson, candidate for US House District 8 in the Southern Piedmont, spoke about the need for higher wages for workers statewide. “People in power should put themselves in the shoes of people who are struggling on poverty wages,” said Timmons-Goodson.

North Carolina’s minimum wage of $7.25 is the same as the federal minimum wage and hasn’t changed in over 10 years. Timmons-Goodson recommended increasing this to a living wage and tying it to an economic measure like inflation.

Candidates also took questions about various topics from union members in the call. Workers talked about anti-union executive orders, the need to save the US Postal Service, racial justice, and balancing economic health with worker safety during the pandemic.

Closing out the evening, the candidates called on voters to turn out in November and stressed the time in history as one that is ripe for change.

“We need to see these crises and inflection points as opportunities to do the right thing, to fix the wrongs from the past, to make sure we take care of our people,” Ross said. “We are going to have a new day after the 2020 election.”

NC State AFL-CIO staff also shared opportunities for union members, retirees, and their families to get involved with the 2020 campaign by supporting labor-endorsed candidates through phone-banking, text-banking, registering voters, and voting. 

Register now for July 23rd town hall

The next candidate Town Hall in the NC AFL-CIO Labor 2020 program will feature Cal Cunningham, candidate for US Senate, and Jessica Holmes, candidate for NC Labor Commissioner and will take place July 23rd at 6 pm. Register for this event at