New candidate for District 61

Just around the corner are the United States’ Midterm Elections, where the wave of young, progressive candidates under the democratic ticket looks to take seats away from older republican representatives. However, North Carolina House District 61 is seeing the exact opposite.

Louisiana native Alissa Batts is one of the candidates for the seat. The 29-year old is a first-time candidate who worked in social media for the Guilford County GOP, who named her Young Republican of the Year in May. A records management manager at ITG Brands, Batts looks to use her experience in business to build a platform for healthy economic growth in Greensboro.

Batts sat down with The Guilfordian and outlined her major platforms she would focus on if elected.

“Education is critical, keeping our taxes low, getting more jobs to Greensboro and access to (quality) health care,” Batts said.

The candidate went on to expand on how she will work to lower health care costs for local citizens.

“Right now, we have 75 certificate of need laws, or CON laws,” Batts said. “What these laws do is increase the cost of health care. I talked to a number of voters who are on opposite ends of the salary spectrum. One family had two teachers and another ran a small business and lived in a well-off neighborhood. They both pay more than their mortgage for health insurance.

“It’s just insane and we have to do something about that. If we start looking at our CON laws, it’s a small effort that will make a huge impact on the people who need (affordable health care) most.”

Another major topic in the race for the District 61 seat was education. Batts believes the issues surrounding education in the state are due to how the money is spent rather than a lack of resources.

“We need to focus on spending money in the right places,” Batts said. “We spend 50 percent of our state budget on education. So that tells the voters and myself that education is the most important issue in this state.

“What disappoints me is that we continue to talk about how ‘we don’t spend enough.’ When it comes to the budgeting process, if we brought some transparency, that would remedy some issues.”

Batts is challenging the incumbent candidate, Pricey Harrison, who has held the seat for 14 years.

“Fourteen years was long enough,” Batts said. “She was only able to get things done in six years, and since then, she hasn’t been able to work with leadership to get bills passed. I think that’s indicative of where she lacks in leadership and the ability to get things accomplished.”

Despite being under the republican ticket, Batts noted that her policies are moderate, and she feels comfortable enough to disagree with some of the major arguments of her party.

“I don’t look at things (in terms of Republican or Democrat),” Batts said. “I think that Greensboro is a very diverse community that has many different perspectives and types of people. They deserve (someone) that represents them and their values. That’s something that we haven’t had for a long time.”

“One of the things that I want to do differently is put aside my feelings and passions, and focus my energy on being passionate for people and what they need. My opponent focuses on things her party asks her to, and the things that she herself is passionate about, whether or not the district wants the same things.”