The senate district representing the far-western counties of North Carolina is about to see a fresh face.
Vying for the 50th district senate seat, currently held by Macon County Republican Jim Davis, are political veteran and Republican Kevin Corbin and newcomer Victoria Fox, a Democrat.
Fox, a Canton resident, wasn’t sure she wanted to run, even though she’s always felt politically inclined, because of the fact that she has her hands full taking care of her three young children.
“I kept my life very private at that point, so it wasn’t an easy decision to make,” Fox said. “I looked at the representation we had in Senate 50, and we didn’t have representation for the working class families.”
“We need a drastic change, and I believe Kevin Corbin will be more of the same,” she added.
Corbin, who lives in Macon County has long been involved in regional politics, back to his time serving on the Macon County School Board and Board of Commissioners, and currently serves as the representative for House District 120.
“My first answer was no,” Corbin said, noting that he’s now the deputy whip and heads up two committees and was uneasy about becoming a freshman in the Senate.
Both candidates discussed how difficult it’s been to campaign digitally, especially Fox, as a political newcomer. However, she wasn’t as concerned as some may think.
“As a millennial, being able to campaign behind a computer screen is interesting,” she said. “It’s probably a little more in my wheelhouse.”
Corbin, who has plenty of experience campaigning in Western North Carolina, said methods of getting out there and meeting people have completely changed.
“We don’t really have the large indoor gatherings,” Corbin said. “I’ve been to a lot of socially distanced campaign events that are much smaller. Not as many people are getting out. It’s been a little weird.”
While Fox and Corbin differ on plenty of policy points, there are a couple of things they agree one. First, they would both like to see broadband access expanded in the region. Perhaps more surprisingly, both also discussed the necessity of expanding Medicaid coverage, which has been one of the most contentious issues in the General Assembly.
“In Western North Carolina, we have a lot of issues we need to deal with, but the biggest needs I see in the district are Medicaid expansion,” Fox said. “That’s incredibly, incredibly important for Western North Carolina that we address the coverage gap and the fact that our hospitals and clinics are closing.”
Corbin is in the minority in his party of representatives that want to see Medicaid expansion. However, unlike most Democrats, he advocates for a work requirement.
“People don’t want to pay for expansion; we’ll pay for it anyway,” he said. “Do not be fooled. We’re paying for it now. We’re paying for it in the hospitals trying to write off expenses and premiums being more expensive.”
Fox, who considers herself more progressive than most Democrats, elaborated on a few more issues important to her, from workers’ rights to a higher minimum wage to education.
“When 90 percent of your children rely on public education, you’re shooting yourself in the foot by shorting schools and teachers,” she said.