Three Democratic candidates are vying to represent District 34 in the North Carolina Senate. District 34 includes Iredell and Yadkin counties.

Each candidate who will appear on the primary ballot had the opportunity to answer a few questions in their own words that have not been edited. Here’s what they had to say:

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Mooresville Citizen: Why did you choose to run for this position?

Beniah McMiller: As someone who loves and believes in fighting for families and communities, we need someone who is willing to listen to our hearts, amplify our voice, and act on our behalf. I am running for those reasons.

MC: What sets you apart from other candidates?

BM: What sets our candidacy apart is that we believe in governing with heart and that government exists to serve the people. This approach put's people first not government!

MC: What qualifies you for this position?

BM: As an educator in the NC Community College System I bring the most important experience and that is the ability to fight for the future of people regardless of who they are or where they come from.

MC: What are some of the things you hope to change in Iredell County, if elected?

BM: If given the opportunity to serve I will push to make our schools work better for our parents, students, and teachers. I will push to bridge the rural-urban divide so that there are equal services and opportunity. I will also push for increased economic development to bring long lasting jobs.

MC: How do you plan on implementing those changes?

BM: To implement these changes we will need to build a coalition between our county, city, and town leaders. Establish clear lines of communication so that our citizens are better informed and can easily voice their concerns. And lastly, act on the those issues voiced by our constituents. Everyone has to have a voice and a seat at the table; to leave knowing they have been seen and heard.

MC: Anything else you'd like the public to know about you?

BM: We started this race with our focus being on the future. Our children, community, and citizens have endured enough pain from the hands of irresponsible lawmakers who govern only by numbers. It's time to get back to the heart of the matter and that's your heart in every matter. I'm asking for your vote so that for once, we can have heart in our government.

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Mooresville Citizen: Why did you choose to run for this position?

WS: Our representation in Raleigh has embarrassed the reputation of North Carolina, short changed our education system, raised taxes and fees on working class North Carolinians, attacked and stole authority from local governments, and have attempted to discourage people from voting. It is time for a change.

MC: What sets you apart from other candidates?

WS: As a ninth generation North Carolinian, the people of this district are my people. I run to represent the concerns of the people, not the corporations, not the lobbyists, not the super rich. I believe in quality public education, livable wages,  environmental protection, and access to affordable heath care. No other candidate has the passion for the great State of North Carolina and its people. No other candidate has the knowledge of just how far we have progressed as a state. No other candidate has the vision and determination of how far we have yet to go. I am the candidate that will work tirelessly to ensure that all North Carolinians have equal access to education, affordable health care, and economic prosperity.

MC: What qualifies you for this position?

WS: As a farmer, I understand the trials of foreign competition, earning a livable wage, dealing with climate change. As a parent I see the necessity of affordable health care and investment in quality public education.  I have seen our representatives in Raleigh being compromised by the lobbyists and special interest groups. Many of our representatives do not have ties to the district they claimed to represent. Unlike other candidates, this district is my home, and the people are my people.

MC: What are some of the things you hope to change in Iredell County, if elected?

WS: Our future depends on the next generation being able to compete on a global scale.  We have to improve our education system so that our children are prepared to meet those challenges.  We need to encourage renewable energy production. We need to cleanup coal ash basins. We need to expand our roads and eliminate toll lanes.

MC: How do you plan on implementing those changes?

WS: We need for the State of North Carolina to fully fund education. We need to restore teaching and teaching assistant positions, fund textbook and technology purchases, and to restore local control of education districts. We have faced many challenges in the past. We meet those challenges by working together to find the right solution. It is time that we come together to find North Carolina solutions to the many challenges we face.

MC: Anything else you'd like the public to know about you?

WS: North Carolina would not be the great state that it is, unless our forefathers had made the necessary investments in education and infrastructure. We will fail as a generation if we fail to prepare for the next generation.

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