For Linda Coleman, it’s about the issues, and whether North Carolina families are being treated fairly by this economy, and their government.
With a life steeped in public service, Linda Coleman believes as lt. governor, she can make a difference for those families, which is why she is vying again this fall for the office.
“Public service is what I love,” Coleman once told a questioner while campaigning in Greensboro in 2012.
First Linda Coleman has to win the March 15th primary against Democratic opponents Holly Jones, Ron Newton, and Robert Wilson. If she wins that,Linda Coleman will be on the November ballot, along with Libertarian J.J. Summerell, seeking to unseat first-term Lt. Governor Dan Forest, who defeatedLinda Coleman by a slim margin in 2012.
She wants that rematch. “The Republican majority running things in Raleigh continues to unravel so much of what built our great state…,” Linda Coleman says on her campaign website, “… and all the while they’ve had a cheering partner in our lieutenant governor. It’s time for a different approach.”
Lt. governor is an elected position separate from governor in North Carolina, meaning theoretically Republican Gov. Pat McCrory could win re-election, and Linda Coleman, a Democrat, could be elected as Lt. Governor.
Beyond being the next in line constitutionally in case, for some reason, the elected governor is unable to fulfill his duties, or presiding over important events in the governor’s absence, the NC lt. governor also presides over the NC Senate, voting there only to break a tie. The lt. governor also chairs various state boards and commissions, including the state Board of Education and board of Community Colleges.
“Of course education is very key to our future and our children’s future,” Coleman told the African-American Caucus of the NC Democratic Party last November in Chapel Hill. “And community colleges are important because they connect businesses to the workforce training that’s done for this state.”
Beyond all that, service as lt. governor can be a springboard for possible run for governor in the future, political observers say. Indeed, Gov. Beverly Perdue first served as a state lawmaker, then as a lt. governor before finally winning the top seat in 2008, making history as the first woman governor in North Carolina.
If Linda Coleman indeed wins in November, she would be only the second African-American in the history of the state to be a member of the NC Council of State – a constitutional panel of the state’s nine top elected officials, chaired by the governor, who make important decisions about the borrowing of money, the sale of state property, and other matters.
When both governors Perdue and Pat McCrory wanted approval of the Dorothea Dix property in Raleigh, they both brought the matter to the NC Council of State, where the governor, lt. governor, secretary of state, attorney general, commissioner of Agriculture, commissioner of Insurance, commissioner of Labor, supt. of Public Instruction, state treasurer and state auditor then voted on it.
The only African-American ever to serve on it was the late Ralph Campbell Jr., the state auditor from 1993 to 2005.
Linda Coleman is the mother of two, a grandmother of two, and “a proud product of the public school system of this state.”
She was born and raised in Greenville, earning her B.A. from NC A&T University in Greensboro. She later earned a masters in public administration from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.
In her public life and after teaching in the classroom, Linda Coleman was elected to the Wake Board of Commissioners, chairing that body. She was then elected to the NC House, serving three terms, helping to pass the Earned Income Tax Credit “which helped put money back into the pockets of working families,” she says.
As a state lawmaker, Coleman also helped to pass the Racial Justice Act, which helped correct racial-biased death penalty sentences. Both laws have since been repealed by the Republican-led NC General Assembly.
Linda Coleman is also proud of what Democrats accomplished in giving women access to affordable health care in the state, tax incentives to small businesses, in addition to more funding for education.
Indeed Coleman has blasted Lt. Gov. Forest for suggesting that public education in the state can be funded through the sale of license plates, like the special one he has on his car.
“It is the General Assembly’s job to fund education, and that’s what we need to do,” Coleman said recently.
Linda Coleman then went on to lead as the director of the Office of State Personnel from 2009 to 2012. She left that post in 2012 to first run for lt. governor. She lost by a razor-thin 6,800-vote margin to Dan Forest with 2.1 million votes cast for her statewide.
“Raleigh is just not working for us anymore. We are working for Raleigh to fund the wealthiest among us, Linda Coleman told the AAC-NCDP in November, noting how Republican tax reform has shifted the tax burden from the rich to working families, and eliminated the childcare tax credit.
“We need somebody to go to Raleigh and say, ‘Listen, let’s start working for the people of North Carolina,’” Linda Coleman says about her candidacy for lt. governor. “Let’s bring North Carolina back.” • (NAACP.com)