Durham voters cast their ballots on Election Day, November 8, to elect a seat in the senate, state justices, state congress, and a Durham County Sheriff.
The ballot also includes bigger positions like the United States Congressional representatives like Cheri Beasley and Ted Budd.
The general election also included three bonds, all of which successfully passed. Two of the bonds pertained to local education. DPS now has millions of dollars to fund new school buildings to improve older ones, like the “New Northern” being built on North Roxboro Road. Also, Durham Technical Community College now has the green light to build better buildings to accommodate an increasing number of students.
How will the result of the election change things locally?
The election establishes who makes important decisions in Durham. Issues that people face in their day-to-day lives are often influenced as much, if not more, by local government than the state or federal levels. Issues like struggling to find affordable housing, access to clean water, and healthcare are all directly impacted by the decisions of locally elected officials.
The People’s Alliance (PA) is a grassroots progessive organization that advocates, endorses, and supports progressive political policies and candidates.
Sarah Hodges-Copple joined the PA board in January. She encourages students to participate in elections because of the important decisions being made.
“There’s a lot of things related to education on the ballot,” Hodges-Copple said. “There’s a bond on the ballot that will decide whether Durham Public Schools gets the funding that they need to build new school buildings to improve current school buildings.
“Every issue that comes up in our regular lives or things that we worry about, perhaps about our family’s well being, often those can be tied to elected offices and decisions,” Hodges-Copple said. “People that we’ve elected are making decisions about what we experience every day.”
Education is not the only important matter this election season.
“There are elections for the North Carolina Supreme Court, which has a role and saying whether legislature will follow through on providing [educational] funds, but also has say in other issues that I think might be on high schoolers minds like gun violence, reproductive rights, and discrimination,” Hodges-Copple said.
Recurring issues like NC gun laws, abortion rights, and health care will change because of the election.
Republican candidate Ted Budd won the U.S Senate spot representing NC over democratic candidate Cheri Beasley. Budd won 50.7 percent of the vote, while Beasley only got 47 percent. The two have very contrasting views and Budd’s win will change many policies both in NC and nationally.
Beasley supports the Women’s Health Protection Act, an act that protects a woman’s right to get an abortion regardless of circumstance. Budd, however, supports the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act, which restricts late-term abortions. Budd is likely to vote in favor of a nation abortion ban if the U.S Senate plans to vote on it.
Budd also believes in the unrestricted right to bear arms while Beasley supports limiting gun access. Another issue the U.S Senate might tackle.
What does this mean for NC?
Sheila Huggins is a former city council candidate. She ran in 2017 and came in second out of three in the primary but lost in the general election to Vernetta Allman, who now serves on the NC General Assembly. She has over 18 years of experience in local government.
Huggins is also the co-chair of The Friends of Durham, another local political action committee that works with local government offices to make them more representative and responsive to their people.
Many Riverside students will be graduating and going to college next year, and college can be expensive. The NC Student Assist Loan program provides fixed rate and fee free student loans. It is not a federal loan, meaning that it is exclusively for NC residents and other attending colleges/universities in NC. This program was established by the College Foundation.
The College Foundation is funded by the NC Department of Education, a state department NC congressional officials vote on for funding and policy. General elections determine who these people are.
“Students in the past have gone on to college and need student loans,” Huggins says. “Now one of the things that we’ve seen in this administration is loan assistance.”
For students who do not plan to go to college, these elections still matter because they affect life after high school, too. Workforce development is an issue both of the U.S Senate Candidates are addressing.
Budd plans to create more jobs and end socialism in NC. He believes that the government should play a smaller role in economic development.
“Ted agrees with President Ronald Reagan, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help,” Budd’s campaign website.
“For students going to college, at some point they have to get a job and for students who say ‘No, I’m gonna get a skill and get a job’. Everybody has to get a job.” Huggins said. “We have to make sure that we have strong economic policies out there and that they’re good laws in place for people who are trying to get jobs.”
With these election results, North Carolina will face changes to policy concerning education, gun laws, reproductive rights and economic development.