Medicaid expansion, abortion and school funding are top race-to-home issues
The race for NC House District 72 includes a one-term incumbent and a political newcomer.
District 72 is primarily Democratic, covering downtown Winston-Salem, Wake Forest, Buena Vista, and parts of east Winston-Salem.
Democrat Amber Baker easily won the seat in 2020 and appears to be on track to return to Raleigh. She will face Republican Shelton Stallworthy in the general election. This is Stallworthy’s first run for political office.
Neither candidate faced a challenge in their primaries.
A former principal of Kimberley Park Elementary School, Baker said expanding Medicaid is one of her top priorities if reelected.
Baker said she’s ready to vote to make North Carolina the 39th state to expand Medicaid since the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2014. The expansion would provide Medicaid coverage to between 450,000 and 600,000 North Carolinas.
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Although the State House and Senate have each passed their own Medicaid expansion bills, negotiations appear to have been put on hold until next year.
Baker also supports fully funding the Leandro Plan, which asks state lawmakers to provide $5.6 billion in new education spending by 2028 to ensure every child has access to a “strong basic education,” as stipulated in the state constitution.
The state Supreme Court deliberates how Leandro’s funds should be distributed.
“We need to fund our public schools at a sustainable rate, and we haven’t done that in a while,” Baker said.
The state should use part of its $6.2 billion surplus to fund the Leandro Plan and increase pensions for retired state employees, she said.
On the issue of abortion, Baker said his position hasn’t changed.
“Our position has always been that a woman’s decision about her health care and reproductive rights is not a government decision. It’s a personal decision with her and her doctor,” she said.
Baker said she was disappointed that U.S. District Judge William Osteen reinstated the state’s 20-week abortion ban. Some Republican lawmakers have said they would seek a more restrictive ban if Republicans win a veto-proof super majority.
Republicans need to win two seats in the Senate and three in the House for that to happen.
Based on her campaign website, it seems likely that Stallworthy would be among those in favor of more restrictive abortion laws if elected.
Stallworthy could not be reached to speak about his campaign.
On her campaign website, Stallworthy said she was a wife and stay-at-home mom of two young children who enjoyed following politics. An incident at a preschool prompted her to run for office, she said on her website.
“When I started looking for a small preschool program for my son, I was shocked to find that the best of the best masked their babies. And I mean babies, toddlers 2 and under When I pressed their logic, I was met with resistance and disdain from parents.The experience in kindergarten prompted me to examine the state of our city and how we have strayed from rational thought and reason. I found that we had fallen far and not a single conservative had stepped in to fight back. So I am running to fight back. I am running for my children, so that they may call this country as free, prosperous and unique as I am,” she wrote.
She applauded the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on her social media pages, giving insight into how she might vote on abortion issues if elected.