A year ago, Republican incumbent Mark Walker fully expected to be running for re-election in 2020, but thanks to some very strange gerrymandering by members of his own Party, the 6th district was re-drawn, and Walker had little chance of retaining his seat. That’s because Democrats far outnumber Republicans within the new boundaries, which include all of Guilford County and part of Forsyth. It’s also the first time in history that Greensboro, High Point, Kernersville, and Winston-Salem will all fall into the same Congressional district. After Walker announced he would not seek re-election, a slew of candidates from both parties threw their hats in the ring, and when the dust settled, Kathy Manning won the Democratic nomination, and Lee Haywood got the GOP nod.
Kathy Manning is an attorney, businesswoman, and philanthropist from Greensboro. Lee Haywood of Summerfield, is a businessman and chairman of the district Republican Party. Earlier this month the two candidates appeared together for a taping of “Triad Today”. Here are some highlights from that discussion:
JL: Experts are telling us to expect another surge of COVID-19 this Fall and Winter. If elected to Congress, would you support a federal mask mandate?
KM: I think that a mask mandate is appropriate, I think CDC guidelines have demonstrated that mask wearing stops the spread of the virus, and not only keeps the wearer safe, but it also keeps everybody else safe.
LH: I would not. I would leave it up to the states and the governors of those states to implement whatever safeguards they feel appropriate.
JL: Do you support Medicare for all?
KM: I believe we need to build on the Affordable Care Act. It provided insurance for 20 million more Americans. It is a great Act, it’s not perfect, and it needs improvement, and I support adding a robust public option, I support allowing people to buy into Medicare at a younger age. I believe our government needs to negotiate with big pharmaceutical companies to bring down the outrageous prices of so many prescription drugs.
LH: My opponent thinks there’s some pot of money up in the sky that just rains down every day that pays for these programs, and any program that she implements as far as Medicare for all, will be at the peril of 180 million policy owners that have their own personal policy, and what are we going to do with them? I believe we should start from scratch, and try and implement a true market-based system for our healthcare and our insurance.
JL: Would you be in favor of forgiving all college loans up to $50,000 as Senators Warren and Schumer have proposed?
KM: No, but I believe we need to address the student debt issue. First of all we need to make sure that our students are getting the best possible rate when they get their student loans. You know, right now, students can borrow a certain amount at a good rate, but then they’re subject to the whims of whatever borrower they happen to get to for the remainder of the loan, so we’ve got this byzantine system and we have 17 year olds trying to navigate this system.
LH: I think it’s a great idea if you live in a Utopian world. When you sign on that dotted line, you commit yourself to paying for these debts. The higher education system in our country has gotten out of control and some of these universities have billions of dollars in the bank, in their endowments. Why don’t we start tapping into those, and start giving these kids a free education? Why do I have to pay for these kids’ education?
JL: If elected, would you vote to make the sale and possession of assault-style rifles illegal?
KM: It is long past time for us to take common sense measures to address the gun violence that has ravaged this country. We know that the vast majority of Americans believe we need to have universal background checks, we need to close those gun show loopholes, we need to ban bump stocks and high capacity magazines. I cannot think of any reason why a 17 year old needs an assault weapon that is designed for war.
LH: I think we need to be careful who we issue conceal-carry gun permits to, but it should be as available as possible if that person is deemed worthy and safe to own one. The 2nd amendment should be protected in this country at all costs.
JL: Do you support term limits for Congresspersons?
KM: I would definitely consider it.
LH: I would, maybe a limit of 4 or 5 terms.
JL: What one thing did you learn from your parents that would serve you well in Congress?
LH: Honor and integrity and always tell the truth. If the good citizens of the 6th district elect me, you will always get the truth and I will represent you honorably.
KM: I learned so much from my parents. I learned the importance of family, of faith, of hard work, and integrity.