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Council’s Besse optimistic about the future

Council’s Besse optimistic about the future
November 08
03:00 2018

In the battle for District 75 in the N.C. House of Representatives, incumbent Donny C. Lambeth escaped with a narrow victory over Dan Besse late on Tuesday night.

From the time the votes starting rolling in until the race was officially called, Besse and Lambeth were separated by only a few votes. With more than 60 percent of all the precincts reported, the two were only separated by one percentage point. At the time of publication, final totals showed Lambeth finished with 17,400 votes and Besse with 15,336.

Lambeth, a Republican, has served as the Representative for House District 75 since 2012. Before that, he served as president of the Lexington Medical Center and Davie Hospital until his retirement in 2012. He is probably most known for his stint as a member of the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools Board of Education, where he served for 18 years as board chairman.

As a member of the legislature, Lambeth worked to reform Medicaid and was instrumental in restructuring the state’s mental health program. Lambeth recently received the North Carolina Legislator of the Year award by the National Mental Health Association for his work.

In a statement on his official website, Lambeth said his focus has always been improving health care and education and he plans to return to Raleigh with that same focus.

“My focus over the past six years has been two-fold— improving healthcare and education. I will return to Raleigh with this same focus,” Lambeth said.

Besse, who is a Democrat, has served as a member of the Winston-Salem City Council since 2001 as the representative for the Southwest Ward.

Since announcing he was running earlier this year, Besse has campaigned on the theme of teaching our state legislature how to cooperate again by working together to solve real problems and improve our communities.  

Points of emphasis throughout his campaign were increasing teacher pay and ensuring schools get the funding and resources they need to make a good education available to every child; closing the healthcare coverage gap; growing jobs with good pay and benefits; and protecting the environment.

When discussing the election and his campaign with The Chronicle on election night, Besse said that although he wasn’t  happy with the results, he was encouraged by the strong performance his team delivered.

“In a district that was gerrymandered to be a Republican lock, we fought a very close race. About a five point difference in the final margin which the Republicans did not anticipate,” continued Besse. “… From a standpoint of delivering the help that the families in Forsyth County need, the result is disappointing. We will continue to see the same failures repeated on education, on healthcare, on clean water and public health, and on good job creation that we have seen thus far from this leadership.”

Although he didn’t officially put his name in the running to become the candidate for the Democrats in 2020, Besse did say he will spend the next two years “working to build the structure for a successful campaign” no matter who the candidate is. 

“Democracy isn’t cheap – you have to do the work to make it work,” said Besse “… I believe that in Forsyth County we can build up enough human infrastructure, even if the lines don’t change, to make this District a win for progressive policies in two years.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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