Katie Dean promises ‘blue collar’ campaign in NC11

Calling herself “the privileged upper middle class,” Dean practiced competitive horseback riding throughout her youth, but had a rough time in high school and ended up not graduating. She went on to work in the equestrian industry, earned her GED, and interned at Young Harris College and Brevard College while working as a martial arts instructor, raft guide and sanding finisher at a construction company in wood frame.

After becoming engaged to her husband Zach, she applied to the University of Georgia and obtained a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering while her husband went to Technical College in Athens to become a mechanic. She now runs their auto repair shop in Arden, but first worked for several years in an engineering company.

“We have designed water supply and wastewater treatment infrastructure for rural municipalities,” Dean said. “Any type of underground infrastructure, water pipes, sewer lines, water plant, sewage treatment plant works, pumping stations, capital improvements, plans, storm water infrastructure for municipalities , very similar to where we are now in Waynesville. “

Dean now finds himself in a crowded field of Democrats (and Republicans, and at least one libertarian) all looking to topple Freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn.

“The heart and soul of our campaign is to fight against a shattered and faltering economy that is not working for the working class and the middle class,” she said. “It goes far beyond a single piece of legislation, with comprehensive tax reform, turning some of our trade policies upside down so that we can not only survive but also thrive and hold corporate CEOs accountable. driving one of the biggest income-wealth disparities our country has ever seen.

SMN: The expansion of Medicaid is something we’ve been talking about here in North Carolina for years and years. Is Medicaid Expansion The Answer For North Carolina?

KD: For immediate need. Yes, I think it is a fruit within reach and there is no justification for denying this access to care.

SMN: It’s a state decision, but it’s federally funded to 90% of the expanding population. The bogeyman is, oh, the federal government could take that funding away and then we’ll have to take responsibility for it. How are you going to go to Congress and advocate to keep that 90% funding level the same?

KD: Um, you know, this is where it gets tough in terms of framing your argument, because we currently live in a time where data and facts no longer convince people. So it’s about understanding those data, facts and figures, as well as being able to have some kind of human component that brings people to your side as to how you frame your arguments. I would work really hard locally within our district to understand the data and what we’re up against and then go across the aisle with my fellow Republican who live in similar metric districts to figure it out. their constituents and try to find common ground in that capacity and then build from there.

SMN: You just said an interesting line – middle ground – and there’s another issue that people always look for common ground on, but it seems hard to find and that’s gun reform. common sense fire. It is a term that is thrown around. There seems to be support for some aspects, but not for others. What does common sense firearms reform mean to you?

KD: Universal background checks.

SMN: Some people have argued for strengthening the red flag laws. Is this something that is part of your world view on guns?

KD: My opinion on the laws of the red flag is still developing. In general terms, my worldview on the Second Amendment and guns is to paraphrase [late Supreme Court Justice Antonin] Scalia when they ruled that every American has the right to arm themselves, but that does not grant any individual the right to carry any weapon in any capacity wherever they wish. And I agree with him in that sentiment.

You have people fighting to uphold the Second Amendment, which is good and fair. The Second Amendment is in the Constitution, like all the other amendments, and then you have the gun violence epidemic and these are two parallel issues that we are trying to address simultaneously. You will hear me constantly throughout our campaign talking about education and responsible gun ownership, and right now we have a member of the US Congress who doesn’t even know where his guns are when he board a plane.

SMN: What you said about Scalia – all these constitutional amendments have limits. The First Amendment has limits as to when, where and how you speak. The second amendment has limitations that we are already seeing. People talk about limiting the ability to buy assault weapons or limiting the ability to buy high capacity magazines. Are you in favor of limiting any of these things?

KD: Yes, with the caveat that the way our policy is designed to understand that the limits and parameters they set and we saw it from 1994 to 2004, with the ban on assault weapons, that ‘it is very easy at this stage to circumvent these legislative texts. My concern is therefore the following: what will solve the epidemic of armed violence that we are facing in our country? And for now, I think if we instituted a ban on assault weapons today, if they just passed this law with a stroke of the pen, I think we would still have the same issues that we face.

SMN: You seem to have a tremendous amount of infrastructure experience and although that infrastructure is water, and we have our water issues here, our biggest infrastructure issue is broadband. What is the real solution?

KD: Navigate the bureaucracy so that federal funding is used effectively. Due to the nature of our region and the way our environment is naturally and physically built, the cost per linear foot to expand broadband makes it reasonably undesirable for any kind of competition to come in to install it. We also know that in 2021 high-speed internet is not a luxury. It is a necessity for any given economy not only to survive, but also to prosper. Forgive my pun, but there is a big disconnect there. Navigating the bureaucracy is more complicated than throwing a bunch of money on the wall to see what sticks, like Congress did.

SMN: Cawthorn’s internal poll – and take it for what it is – suggests 90% approval among his people. He’s going to spend you ten to one. He gets nationwide exposure apparently at will. It has an establishment and a network. If you win this primary election, how do you beat Madison Cawthorn in the general election?

KD: A workers’ campaign on the ground. The one who [eventual Democratic] candidate is, is going to need additional resources that they would not normally have in a race in this district with these metrics. It’s going to be very similar to how we organize ourselves to win the primary and that’s to keep it local, to keep it about people, to meet people where they are and to strengthen your network in that capacity. . I know a lot of people who change their voter registration status, who voted for Madison in the last election, and who will vote for me in this next primary. And that doesn’t mean I’m a conservative Republican or a Progressive Republican in any capacity. It’s just a testament to how vitriolic he is. And I think even though he has this great national presence, his local support is dwindling on both sides of the aisle and he’s vulnerable.

Elizabeth J. Harless