City Council Member Denise “D.D.” Adams is running for the 5th Congressional District seat, which Republican Virginia Foxx has held since 2005.
Adams said she decided to throw her hat in the ring for 2018 to help change the direction of Congress and the 5th District.
“I’ve always been a public servant and always been a champion of what’s right and what’s just,” said Adams.
She said there’s strength in the diversity of the district, which is almost 20 percent minority. She believes she can unite the district on issues like creating jobs, helping displaced factory workers find better employment, making small businesses more competitive, raising gradation rates and improving healthcare.
The 5th District covers parts of 11 northwestern North Carolina counties, including all of Forsyth.
A Democrat hasn’t represented the district since 1995, when Richard Burr took the office, which he held until he became a senator in 2005.
Foxx, a former educator in Watauga County, has defeated many Democrats in her long tenure, including former N.C. Sen. Roger Sharpe and School Board Member Elisabeth Motsinger.
Despite its reputation as being a conservative stronghold, it still attracted three candidates in last year’s Democratic primary. Josh Brannon, a software developer from Watauga County, won that primary for his second consecutive general election contest against Foxx. He lost to Foxx by nearly 17 percent of the vote.
Democrat Jennifer Marshall, who has been a teacher and business owner, announced her bid for the 2018 nomination on Saturday.
If Adams gets the nomination, she’ll be the most prominent Democrat to run for the district in years. Adams has represented the North Ward on the City Council since 2009 and has been re-elected twice.
She’s been an advocate for getting healthy food into food deserts, including the Goler CDC hydroponics facility being built at Kimberly Park. She’s also been vocal on raising city worker pay to competitive rates, which the city has taken steps toward in recent years. She also championed city infrastructure investment, like the 2014 bond and the current rehabilitation of the Benton Convention Center.
Adams has impressed her colleagues. Mayor Pro Tempore Burke described her as being very “dedicated” and not afraid to stand up, ask questions and push for progress. Mayor Allen Joines said she’s been a “very strong” council member.
“I’ve always been impressed by her dedication, her hard work ethic and her demanding, quality work, but when you get down below that, she’s got a big heart and is just concerned about people, and so I think she brings a lot of good skills to any job she might be in,” he said.
Adams, a Winton-Salem native, is a graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore. She retired from Johnson Controls in 2013, after 37 years in manufacturing and management positions. She said being retired will give her the opportunity to run full time, which she hopes will be an advantage in the campaign She will still continue her duties representing the North Ward on the City Council. State law prohibits candidates from being on the same ballot twice, but since City Council isn’t on the 2018 ballot, there’s no conflict with her running for reelection on the council if she isn’t elected in the 5th Congressional District.
Adams has served in many groups and committees. She’s a Golden Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She serves on numerous boards, such as the North Carolina League of Municipalities, Women in Municipal Government, N.C. Black Elected Municipal Officials, First Tee of the Triad and many others. Her past service on boards includes SciWorks, Urban League, U-Fit 2 Health and Wellness, Housing Authority of Winston-Salem, The Arts Council and Delta Fine Arts.