After former Democratic state Senator John Snow announced his bid to oust incumbent Senator Jim Davis for the District 50 seat of the General Assembly earlier this month, he immediately began working on his campaign strategy. Last Saturday, Macon County’s Democratic Party held a rally for the former Senator at South Macon Elementary School to celebrate his announcement to seek another term in office.
Snow served six years as a state Senator before narrowly losing to Davis in 2010. According to Snow, the new redistricting maps should help his run for Senate. The newly drawn districts took out Transylvania County, which was predominantly a Republican stronghold, and added Haywood County, which has historically been strongly Democratic. “The 50th District is now made up of the same seven counties where I served as a District Court Judge and a prosecutor for 30 years,” said Snow. “I know the people here. I know their problems and understand their issues. I am looking forward for an opportunity to go back to Raleigh and to serve this District.”
After losing to Davis by 161 votes, Snow said in order for him to regain his seat in the Senate, people have to get out and vote. “Typically I had won Jackson County, a democratic county, by 900 to 1500, but the election results showed that Democrats didn’t get out to vote and the Republicans won the county,” said Snow.
Snow briefly discussed the recent controversy with the Voter ID bill and stated that his reason for opposing the bill is that some people who have voted their entire life have never had to present an identification card. The new bill would prevent some of them from voting. “What the Republicans failed to mention about the Voter ID bill is that it will cost taxpayers $250 million just to implement it,” said Snow. “And how are we going to pay for that in this economy?”
During his previous tenure in the state Senate, Snow had always been a strong advocate for public education, which is a platform he intends to continue to support. “The key to economic recovery and the key to successful families is education,” said Snow. “Last year, North Carolina cut 1,723 teacher positions and 2,282 teacher assistant positions. We are trying to come out of a recession and put people to work but are cutting education jobs, it doesn’t make sense,” he continued.
Snow noted that while he was in office he voted for the one cent sales tax that would ultimately benefit education and preventing teachers from losing their jobs. “If that tax would have been passed we could have saved those positions, and it is not only hurting people who lose their jobs,” he said. “But the kids suffer. The classrooms get larger and the available classes become scarce.”
Crucial educational programs have also suffered as a result of the ever-tightening education budget. “$68 million was cut out of the ‘More at Four’ budget. That program was specially designed to help “at risk” children growing up in difficult economic environments. “These kids growing up right now will only be four years old one time in their life and they are not going to get the benefit of the ‘More at Four’ program or get the boost they need to have a fair chance at education.” Snow quoted a study that showed that for every dollar invested in the ‘More at Four’ program, $8 was seen as a return in the investment. “Without that program we are going to lose millions later on remediation services for those kids,” said Snow.
Macon County has hosted several rallies for the former Senator in hopes he would decide to run for reelection, and after some soul searching, Snow said it was his passion for serving the citizens of the mountain counties that led him towards announcing his candidacy. “Nothing has ever made me prouder than serving the people in these mountain counties,” said Snow. “I want to try to do serve this area in a way that brings back some of the resources that this state gives out to our people. I want to serve the people who have specific problems and might not know where to start to solve those problems. I sincerely believe I have been able to answer and help a lot of their problems with constituent services and want to continue to have that opportunity.”