Originally in The Mountaineer

August 16, 2016

N.C. House candidate Rhonda Cole Schandevel and N.C. Senate candidate Jane Hipps joined Democrats from Haywood and Jackson counties to give N.C. attorney general candidate Josh Stein an enthusiastic welcome during a Meet and Greet event held at the Haywood County Democratic Headquarters on Wednesday, July 20.

Stein worked in the N.C. Attorney General’s Office from 2001 until he won a seat in the N.C. Senate in 2009. In his position as senior deputy attorney general for consumer affairs, he took on predatory mortgage lenders, identity thieves, telemarketing scammers and sexual predators who used social networking sites to prey on kids.

“I helped run the payday lenders charging illegal, loan shark interest rate of 400 to 500 percent out of North Carolina,” said Stein.

“As a four-term Senator, I have sought to make our people and communities more secure by leading the effort to expand our state’s DNA database to put more violent criminals behind bars; working to make our roads safer from drunk driving and strengthening protections for victims of domestic violence,” he said.

In 2013, Equality N.C. selected Stein as the first recipient of the Jamie Kirk Hahn Ally Award for his longstanding efforts to enact the Nondiscrimination in State Employment Act; and in 2015 Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) honored him with its Legislator of the Year Award for coauthoring legislation to mandate ignition interlocks for anyone convicted of drunk driving.

“I’ve had a variety of jobs, but my career is public service,” Stein said at the meet and greet. “Most importantly, I know the attorney general job and I know I can do the job. I will not need on-the-job training to be North Carolina’s next attorney general.”

Bryson City attorney and Democratic Chair of the 11th Congressional District Luke “LD” Hyde has worked with every N.C. attorney general since the late 1950s and he had high praise for Stein.

“Josh Stein may be the best qualified candidate we’ve had in all these years,” Hyde said.

Haywood County Democratic Party Chair Myrna Campbell agrees.

“Stein’s work experience far outweighs the record of his opponent, Buck Newton,” she said. “Newton’s experience is limited to 16 years of private practice in his own law firm in Wilson before becoming a N.C. senator in 2010.

“Regrettably, big money is going to play a huge role in this race”, said Campbell.  “The Republican Attorney General Association (RAGA) is committed to expanding their already strong majority of Republican attorneys general and the N.C. post has been identified by their executive director as a ‘prime pick up opportunity.’ In 2014, Republican attorneys general became the clear majority (27 nationwide) for the first time in this country’s history.

RAGA announced that they have reserved their largest media buy to date ($3.8 million) to run TV ads all across North Carolina in support of Newton during the final five weeks before the Nov. 8 election.

“Democrats must mobilize behind Josh Stein to show RAGA and other outside organizations that the NC Attorney General’s office is not for sale,” said Campbell.