By Afrique I. Kilimanjaro
Special to the NNPA from the Carolina Peacemaker
GREENSBORO, N.C. – It was a night of heavy losses for the North Carolina and National Democratic Party as control of the Congress moved into Republican hands. But one North Carolina Congressional candidate, former State Rep.. Alma Adams, will head to Washington, D.C. to serve as the representative for the 12th Congressional District.
Adams handily defeated Republican candidate Vincent Coakley of Charlotte by garnering nearly 80 percent of the vote. She won the general election to serve a full 2-year term in the U.S. House and the special election to fill former Congressman Mel Watt’s unexpired term.
Adams has had a long career serving the people of Guilford County. She has worn many hats –literally and figuratively – throughout her distinguished career as a full professor of art for 40 years at Bennett College and as a public servant. In addition, one can always identify her because she boasts a collection of more than 900 chapeaus. She was the first African American elected to the school board in the 1980s, moving from there to the Greensboro City Council and then on to the North Carolina House of Representatives.
Adams continues to break barriers for all women. She will be the 100th woman and the 15th African American woman to serve in Congress and only the second African American woman from North Carolina after former Congresswoman Eva Clayton.
In her victory address in the Plaza of the Greensboro Coliseum, Adams thanked her supporters and her opponent, Coakley. “I respect anyone who puts their hat in the ring and as it turns out, some of us have more hats than others,” she said, referring to her hat collection and continued ability to be a leader who gets things done to help all people.
“This is my 16th election,” said Adams. “Together we’ve made history for the second time.” The first was defeating a slate of six candidates, all men, to capture the Democratic nomination for the 12th Congressional seat.
Adams also remembered her campaign manager Kyle Gott, who tragically died in an automobile accident during the summer while visiting his family in Kentucky. “He had dedication and commitment to our cause,” she recalled.
She also reminded the supporters and media in attendance that the 12th District has been without representation for 10 months. “That ends tonight,” said Adams. “You will have strong representation in Congress making sure we have a voice and a seat.”
Adams said she will support the Paycheck Fairness Act that provides equal pay for women and will support improved benefits and services for military veterans. She also wants to make sure Social Security and Medicare continue to be available for seniors.
As an ardent supporter of education, Adams plans to work to improve access to higher education and workforce development.
“I am going to Washington to be the 12th District’s voice in Congress,” said Adams.
Next on Adams’ agenda will be establishing her district offices. “People need to be able to reach out to me and have access. This District has been without representation for far too long,” said Adams.
Adams will soon travel to Washington where she will be sworn into office on Wednesday, Nov. 12 to fill the remaining 7 weeks of Watt’s unexpired term.