N.C. Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin discussed a wide range of issues when he spent part of the morning of Oct. 11 in Wilkesboro as part of his statewide Rural N.C. Listening Tour.
Goodwin met for a couple of hours with about 20 Democrats from Wilkes and Alexander counties at the Wilkes Agricultural Center. He went on to Ashe County and then Watauga County and was in Yadkin County before arriving in Wilkes.
Topics raised by people who met with Goodwin in Wilkesboro included gerrymandering and new state legislative district maps, concerns about election security and voter photo ID, expansion of Medicaid eligibility, the state budget stalemate, rural highway funding, green technologies (solar and wind farms), Democratic voter outreach, broadband internet access and promoting awareness of the importance of participating in the upcoming U.S. Census count.
Goodwin said in an interview that many of these issues have been raised elsewhere in the state.
He said there is a lot of misinformation about expansion of Medicaid eligibility, including that it would mostly benefit people not willing to work. Goodwin said that by definition it would help people with jobs can’t afford health insurance and earn too much to be eligible for Medicaid.
He said the adverse impact on North Carolina agriculture of President Trump’s tariffs on China has also been raised. Concern has been cited about stagnate wages in rural communities and the movement of talented young people away from these areas.
He said he has heard interest in growing industrial hemp as a way to help boost rural economies. Climate change also is a big concern.
He said hearing from rural North Carolina voters will help Democratic candidates better address their concerns. Goodwin, from rural Richmond County, said he is considering running for state insurance commissioner. He was elected to that position in 2008 and 2012 and then lost it in the 2016 election.