Office Seeking: US Representative, North Carolina’s 8th
Race Type: Democratic Challenge
Primary Election Opponent: None
Primary Election Date: May 6, 2008
Primary Election Results: Won Primary
General Election Opponent: Robin Hayes (GOP)
General Election Date: November 4, 2008
General Election Result: Won, 55.4% – 44.6%
Candidate Quote: “If you want a miracle you have to be willing to get out of the boat. I’m willing.”
Why We Like Him: High school civics teachers tell their students that public service is a great privilege requiring great responsibility, and Larry Kissell is practicing what he preaches by running for Congress. Outspent by millions and overlooked by Party leaders, Larry mounted a true grassroots effort in 2006 that propelled him to within 330 votes of beating incumbent Congressman Robin Hayes. This year’s rematch has garnered national attention as the race that epitomizes the need for the voice of working people to be heard in Washington, DC.
Candidate Website: http://kissell.house.gov/
His route to the classroom was indirect although he still lives and works in the same small, rural town he grew up in. Larry’s first career was in a family-owned textile mill where he worked for 27 years. He is proud of how hard his work family fought to hold on to their jobs by improving production, cutting costs and retraining workers. Sadly, outside forces prevailed as those good mill jobs “headed south.”
Larry wants to create economic plans which will protect hard working Americans from losing ground in the global economy. He’s committed to the expansion of American entrepreneurship, farming, and small business. At the same time Larry believes that it is possible to create fair trade agreements that will help the average American benefit from the global marketplace.
The reform of “No Child Left Behind” will be the first priority for Larry. Education should be about opportunity, not fraught with the punishment and discrimination currently imposed on rural and low income public schools by this heavy-handed federal legislation. Having witnessed the impact of factory closings, he knows that the best hope for new opportunities for our children will grow out of access to a globally competitive education. A strong advocate for rural America, Larry asserts that a child’s home should not be a place to “escape” but a place to grow, and he wants the next generation to have the same broad options and quality of life his generation has enjoyed.
In addition to education reform, expanding employment opportunities, clearing up the confusion of the Medicare Prescription Drug plan, preventing misguided Social Security reform and seeking energy independence will all be at the heart of Larry’s legislative goals. Reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil will create lasting benefits to our environment, economy and national defense policies. As the next Congress confronts the difficult questions about how to improve America’s global image, Larry will not support foreign policies that are driven by our unhealthy addiction for oil.
Teaching young people about our nation’s founding political principles on a daily basis drives one to think about how those carefully crafted documents relate to today’s realities. Sadly, Larry sees a disconnect to between the words and deeds in America today. He is strongly committed to preserving our religious freedom, civil rights, and the traditional value of separation of church and state, yet he believes that our government too often is not meeting its responsibilities. “Support our troops” is more than a bumper sticker to Larry. Just as we expect our armed forces to be the best in the world, they should expect the best possible care for their sacrifices.
Larry is married with two teenaged daughters. He holds a BA in Economics from Wake Forest University, and is a life member and Deacon of the First Baptist Church in Biscoe. Larry knows from personal experience the impact national politics has on the working families of America. He also understands the power of people working together to bring about dramatic change. At 21st Century Democrats, we support Larry’s effort to bring the voice of rural America and ordinary citizens to Congress.
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