Biden Campaign, DNC Engage Voters

Jordan Meadows

Staff Writer

At the Word Tabernacle Church in Rocky Mount on Thursday afternoon, the Biden-Harris reelection campaign joined local elected officials, community leaders, and advocates from across Eastern North Carolina for an event focused on rural and Black North Carolinian voters.

Dr. Kimberly Hardy, the second vice chair of the NC Democratic Party, led the journey through 30 counties of Eastern North Carolina with a clear mission: to understand the frustrations of Black voters and why recent elections saw lower turnout.

“If I want to know why Black folks in Nash County are not coming out to vote, then I need to go to Nash County and ask them directly,” Hardy said.

The event featured leaders like Chair of the NC Democratic Party Anderson Clayton, former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, and current NC state assembly members. Community pillars like former state representative James Gailliard, now a senior pastor at the church, and Rev. Richard Joyner of Conetoe, also attended the event.

The event wasn’t just about rhetoric; it was backed by action. The Democratic Party’s Coordinated Campaign inaugurated fresh campaign offices in Rocky Mount and Smithfield, marking the twelfth such office for the Biden campaign in the state, while the Trump campaign has none.

This event was just a segment of the tour aimed at engaging rural and Black North Carolinian voters, with stops in Elizabeth City, Williamston, Greenville, and Kinston. The campaign underscored the defense of values, community empowerment, and the commitment to fulfilling promises, urging voters to turn out at the ballot box for Democrats come November.

“Northeastern North Carolina is going to be so important this year,” Clayton said, highlighting the strategic significance of the region in securing victory for the White House.

Landrieu, a senior advisor to President Biden, did his best at connecting attendees with the president on a more personal level by detailing the journey of a youthful Biden’s ascent to office, to the tragedy of losing his wife and daughter in a car accident, and his steadfast commitment to caring for his two sons, often commuting by train nightly from DC to Delaware.

Despite these immense personal trials, including the loss of his son while the other grappled with public scrutiny and addiction, Landrieu asserts that Biden remained dedicated to his duties, diligently working and legislating both in Congress and the White House.

He continued by highlighting what he sees as Biden’s legislative achievements, which encompassed ensuring universal access to clean, lead-free water, advancing the infrastructure bill, securing funding for a new railway, and expanding access to broadband internet across the state.

“There’s not a lot of distance between loving your neighbor as yourself and the idea that all men and women come to the table of democracy as equals and are supposed to partake in both responsibility and opportunity. That’s really what this election is about,” Landrieu said. “He’s the only politician standing in America that ever beat Donald Trump and he’s fixing to do it again!”

DNC Chair Jaime Harrison delivered a speech at the event, highlighting the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to supporting Black communities.

Harrison shed light on the significance of historical investments in Historic Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), lauding the administration’s allocation of over $16 billion since President Biden took office. With North Carolina boasting the second-highest number of HBCUs in the nation, Harrison underscored the tangible impact of initiatives like the American Rescue Plan, which directed $2.7 billion towards HBCUs, including $307 million specifically benefiting North Carolina institutions.

In addition to educational investments, Harrison boasted of President Biden’s proactive measures to alleviate the financial burden on seniors, particularly by capping the cost of insulin.

Harrison asserted to the audience that the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the pivotal 1973 abortion rights case, can be attributed to the Trump administration. He also referenced recent remarks by Trump suggesting potential restrictions on contraception, including birth control.

Characterizing the Republican Party as one rooted in fear, scapegoating, and falsehoods, Harrison juxtaposed it with the Democratic Party, which he portrayed as a beacon of unity and proactive governance.

“This election is about hope vs. fear. It’s about progress vs. chaos. Our rights, our democracy, our freedom itself are all on the ballot this November,” Harrison said.

Building upon this stark contrast, Harrison proceeded to outline the commitments made by the Biden-Harris administration during the 2020 campaign and their subsequent efforts to address pressing issues, including student loan forgiveness, the advancement of Black wealth, and the reduction of Black unemployment in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emphasizing progress in Black entrepreneurship, Harrison noted that ownership of small businesses within the Black community has surged, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

“Folks, promises were made and those promises were kept. You look at the judiciary: in the history of this nation, only 98 black women have ever served on the federal bench – this country has been around for a few hundred years. Joe Biden has appointed 35 of the 98 in three years. Harrison said. “The first black woman on the United States Supreme Court; many of y’all watched those hearings, they called her everything but a child of God. Guess what they’re calling her now: Madam Justice”

The day preceding the event, the Department of Commerce and NOAA made public their commitment of $2.3 million in funding to North Carolina. The initiative seeks to empower communities with the tools to observe, monitor, and evaluate factors contributing to heat risk on a local level. This center will be headquartered at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a nearly $3 million grant aimed at supplying domestic fertilizer to independent retailers throughout the state, aligning with efforts to bolster agricultural sustainability and resilience.

As of Tuesday, general election polling in North Carolina reveals Donald Trump leading Joe Biden by just over six percentage points. Robert F. Kennedy is polling at nearly 10% of the vote, reflecting the diverse array of choices shaping the political dynamics of this purple state.

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