The evening of June 27th in quaint Biltmore Village, Marilyn Brown kicked off her campaign run for the North Carolina House, District 116, with a host of family and friends, both Republicans and Democrats. Everyone present had this in common – they all had donated time and money, and a shared excitement for the electability of their new candidate.
“Being a state representative is a job and it has two parts – getting to know the people of your district by spending time with them and then being their voice in the General Assembly by getting things accomplished on their behalf,” Brown said. She looks forward to getting to know each neighborhood and spending time with individuals and families by celebrating their successes and sharing in their community and family life.
Marilyn’s desire to run for the Legislature stems from one guiding principle: people before politics. “Through my service to our community, I have learned that if one encounters a problem, collaboration produces the best results,“ Brown said in her campaign announcement. Her work with civic, school and neighborhood has proven her point.
John Bell gave an opening introduction at the event. L to R: Caroline Brown, John Bell, and Marilyn Brown.
Marilyn and her husband, Bill, settled in Asheville in 1995 to raise their family of three children. Marilyn immediately embraced opportunities to become involved and empower the community she would grow to love. Her passion for helping others is rooted in the example her parents set for her; this is evident in her dedication as a music teacher, and her constant involvement with service organizations. She did not anticipate that her friends and political allies would ask her to run for the Legislature, but they called her to that task earlier this year.
For the past 23 years, Marilyn has personally witnessed the rapid dynamic changes happening in Buncombe County, including new economic growth and the large influx of people wanting to take advantage of the many opportunities. “We need someone who will listen and help find consensus-based solutions to our problems,” says Matt Bales of Raleigh. “Marilyn’s listen-first approach will allow the citizens of our community to have their voices heard. All too often, politicians run on the notion of being responsive and even execute PR stunts to give off that impression. But it seems there is a growing desire in our community to have representation that puts people over party and local welfare over outside special interest.”
Marilyn Brown offers a true alternative to Rep. Brian Turner, who again just recently sided with Governor Roy Cooper, by saying NO to a responsible state budget which continues to utilize resources effectively, reduce taxes, eliminate strangling regulations on businesses, all while offering meaningful raises to our teachers and state employees. As a result of effective Republican House leadership, North Carolina teachers have received the most accelerated pay raises in America over the past five years. The story of how Republicans have given consistant and strong support to teachers, has not been told effectively or accurately from mainstream media sources. Marilyn pointed out several facts regarding teacher pay in NC, among them:
• Average teacher salary in 2018 -2019 – $53,600
• Number of consecutive teacher pay raises-5
• Average pay raise since 2013- $8,600
• Average percentage pay increase since 2013- 19%
• Number of teachers who have received a pay raise of at least $10,000 under Republican leadership-44,647
• Increase in lifetime earning potential of a NC teacher since 2013- $233,000
• Percentage pay increase that Governor Cooper vetoed- 9.5%
• Bonus available to third grade reading teachers whose students show the greatest growth in reading proficiency- $7,000
(Teacher facts at NCTeacherraise.com).
“The accomplishments of the Republican-led General Assembly since 2010 are nothing short of remarkable, but unfortunately the whole story has not been told to the residents of District 116,” says Brown. “We now have close to a 2 billion dollar surplus in the State budget, which functions as a type of “rainy day fund.” That means that the next time there is a downturn in the economy or our state experiences a natural disaster, we won’t have to raise taxes, borrow money, or cut important programs. And that’s not all – thanks to the responsible fiscal management of the Republican-led General Assembly, the corporate tax rate has come down from 6.9% to the current 3% rate, and proceeds further downward to 2.5% in 2019. The 2013 tax reforms replaced the three-rate progressive income tax, which was the highest in the region at 6-7.75%, and lowered it to 5.8%. This rate was then lowered to its current 5.499% and will fall to 5.25% in January 2019. That record is most impressive in the way it has been good for the people of North Carolina. More of their money that our citizens are allowed to keep, is more which can be invested in the local thriving economy,” continues Brown.
L to R: Kyle Carver, Forrest Jarrett, and Trish Smothers
She also noted that since the time Republicans were elected to majority control of the North Carolina General Assembly, over 500,000 new jobs have been created. The benefit is that a half-million fellow citizens are able to support their families and reinvest in their local communities. This is a huge accomplishment in a state where the population is 10.27 million. In addition, the Republican-led General Assembly worked hard to eliminate excessive and duplicative business-killing regulations, thus removing barriers that help owners thrive and grow their businesses. House Republicans proposed the Bright Futures Act, a collaborative project between government and businesses to connect rural residents of the state to broadband services, helping to attract economic development opportunities to underserved regions for the 21st Century. Bright Futures Act stands for “Broadband, Retail, Internet of Things, Gridpower, Healthcare and Training.” It facilitates the development of digital infrastructure in rural areas by allowing local governments to partner with private internet providers and bring wired services to their residents. This is a remarkable collaboration between limited government involvement with the private sector. It should be encouraged and lauded as accomplishing economic investment and growth in rural communities by providing digital infrastructure to help business expand across North Carolina.
The Brown Family, L to R: William, Bill, Marilyn, Gordon, and Caroline
Why haven’t these stories been shared effectively by Rep. Turner to his constituents in District 116? It is time for voters to begin asking Rep. Turner why he has not contributed to the thriving economy that North Carolina enjoys. Because of the actions of our Republican leadership, we are now being nationally recognized by major business news sources like the Fit Small Business study and CNBC’s American’s Top State for Business, where NC was ranked as 5th in the nation on its ‘State Economic Climate for Business.’ Marilyn Brown wants to continue implementing the reforms that the Republican-led General Assembly has put in place so we can continue to improve the quality of life for all in North Carolina. Marilyn added, “That which has produced national recognition for North Carolina, is what many constituents of District 116 have said is good for themselves. I would be honored if they would send me to Raleigh, so that I can work alongside the men and women who have diligently toiled to take actions which have brought great benefit to all our citizens.”