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LIGHTNING VOTER GUIDE: N.C. House District 113

Candidates for the N.C. House 113 seat are Sam Edney and Jake Johnson Candidates for the N.C. House 113 seat are Sam Edney and Jake Johnson

The candidates for the state House District 113 are challenger Sam Edney, a Democrat who is running for the seat for the second straight time, and Jake Johnson, the Republican incumbent who at age 26 is the youngest member of the General Assembly.


A native of the Valley Hill community in Henderson County, Edney, 70, is a graduate of East Henderson High School who has worked in industry for 18 years, including at the Ecusta paper mill. He owned and operated Pisgah Pest Control until his retirement. He and has three daughters, a stepdaughter and stepson. He and his wife, Deda, live in Cedar Mountain.

Born and raised in Saluda, Johnson graduated from UNC-Charlotte with a degree in political science. He was elected to the Polk County Board of Commissioners and served as chair. He was appointed to the District 113 seat in 2019. He lives in Saluda, works as a real estate agent for a Berkshire Hathaway office in Hendersonville and is a member of Silver Creek Baptist Church.

Why are you running for election to the N.C. General Assembly?


Edney: It is time to put working families first. Healthcare costs are rising and insurance is unaffordable in a health crisis. Still the politicians in Raleigh refuse to expand healthcare - even though we’ve already paid for it. The health crisis put people out of work who are now dependent on the nation’s worst unemployment benefits. Corporations and the wealthy received tax cuts, but taxes increased on working families who now pay sales tax on haircuts and power bills. This amid the steady drumbeat of corruption coming from Raleigh. It is time to work for working families. I will do that.

Johnson: I want to continue being a strong voice in Raleigh for the citizens of Western North Carolina. I will continue fighting for pro-life policies, protecting the lives of the born and unborn. I will defend the 2nd Amendment. I will promote Pro-Business policies, because the real economic driver is the American worker and entrepreneur, not the government. I will always support Pro-Veteran legislation. It is my goal to make North Carolina the most veteran-friendly state in the nation. Furthermore, I will always support Law and Order and do everything I can to stand up for our law enforcement officers.


The two political parties have expressed different views on the actions of the Cooper administration regarding the coronavirus pandemic. What do you think of those actions? What would you do differently?

Johnson: I think that the Cooper administration was wrong to shut down the entire economy. Early in the year, I submitted a plan to Gov. Cooper that would have let the economy reopen based on region and percentage of the population that had been infected. Under my plan, areas like ours with lower case count density would have been allowed to reopen with fewer guidelines than areas with a higher percentage of cases. This would have saved our NC economy billions in revenue and allowed many small businesses to survive that will not under Gov. Cooper’s “one size fits all” plan.

Edney: Our polling shows that people across this district approve of how coronavirus has been handled. Governor Cooper knows that health and the economy go hand in hand. NC’s cautious approach to reopening has paid off. Death rates from COVID19 in NC are much lower than surrounding states while unemployment levels are similar.. My opponent’s support of full reopening ignored the consequences. Full reopening in states like Arizona and Florida have resulted in higher death rates and suffering economies. NC’s cautious approach has worked well. Protecting people is good for business. We will get through this sooner if we work together.

Gov. Cooper and the Legislature have been in a standoff over Medicaid expansion for four years. What is your position on Medicaid expansion?

Edney: It’s time to get this straight. Medicaid Expansion provides insurance to working people who can’t afford private insurance. The cruel refusal to expand Medicaid causes the death of 1000 of our brothers and sisters every year. Politicians, like my opponent, who voted against it, have those deaths on their hands. His vote sent billions of our tax dollars to states that expanded healthcare, helping their hospitals and creating jobs there. I will bring our tax dollars home, insure 10,000 people in this district, create 400 jobs here, lower health premiums and support our hospitals - with NO NEW TAXES.

Johnson: I am against Medicaid expansion; it is throwing money at a broken system which has caused massive budget deficits and accumulating amounts of debt in states that have attempted it. I am in support of transforming Medicaid from a fee-for-service system (where the state is billed an unknown amount) to a managed care system where the consumer has better system of care which includes increased preventative care, and the state knows exactly what we are paying per person in the system.

What other priorities do you have for the district you hope to represent and the state of North Carolina if you are elected?

Johnson: A major priority I have is expanding internet access to areas that are unserved or underserved. I have already begun this work by funding millions of dollars to programs that are working on getting broadband to rural areas of Western North Carolina. Another huge priority is making sure we put a focus on our community colleges, apprenticeship programs, and trade schools. This is critical for workforce development and making sure our students have the tools they need to succeed in whatever field they choose.

Edney: As your representative my priorities will be 1) Expand access to healthcare and reduce healthcare costs, 2) Provide high speed internet to help small business and school children, 3) Cut sales taxes on services and power bills, taxes that hurt working families. 4) Invest in our public schools and pay public school teachers and staff well, 5) Hold polluters accountable when they pollute our drinking water, 6) Reform campaign finance in North Carolina. We need to get big money out of politics. Thirty percent of my opponent’s campaign was paid for by PACs. I have taken NO PAC money.