Arts & Features Writer
Greetings of ‘nice-to-meet-you’ fill the mountain-side home. The occasional manicured hand reaching for a deviled egg or a Jun drink. Tallulah scampers by receiving gentle pats and “good girl” praises. The sea of middle-to-old-aged white people adorned with expensive jewelry and tasteful clothing fits the scene in a picturesque way. Blending into the small crowd stands the retired colonel. Dressed up in a navy suit with a simple checked tie, Moe Davis makes his way around the room taking time to converse. It isn’t until the food spread becomes sparse and the company becomes comfortable that the host sounds a whistle and the attention dwindles down to one.
“Well first, thank you and Joanne for doing this and thank you all for coming. It’s a beautiful day and I think there are other things you could be doing, so I really appreciate you taking time to be here,” Davis said.
As Election Day approaches, Congressional candidate for the 11th District Moe Davis expresses the urgent need for action in the country and Western North Carolina to residents.
“We’ve got the most incompetent and moral corrupt administration I’ve ever seen. I just felt like I’ve got 30 plus years invested in defending democracy, to sit back and watch it go away. I was not willing to do so,” said Davis, a retired Air Force Col., chief prosecutor, judge, educator and national security expert.
The Shelby native said he strives to bring back the reputation of the proud, progressive southern state he remembers from childhood.
“I won’t live long enough to see us undo the damage, but I want to be part of getting us back on the right track,” Davis said. “I figured if I wasn’t going to run then who would? So, here I am.”
Ginny Hunneke, friend of Davis and concerned resident, said he planned on retiring in Asheville but changed his mind amidst the prospect to run against Mark Meadows.
“You know, he’s a disabled vet right now so, he is part of the system. He is not above it. He is not the millionaire who is self righteous, grandfatherly, and paternalistic. He’s down to earth and right there with us,” she said.
Davis said his campaign relies on winning over older Republicans who are offended by President Trump’s conduct and those who enable it.
“When I go out to the Western counties and say, ‘What has Mark Meadows done for you?’ they can’t point to anything. So, what I’m arguing to them is give me a chance,” he said.
The national security expert said he plans on strengthening the relationship of 11th District residents throughout Western North Carolina by holding a town hall open to the public at least once a year in every county.
“I think we can win over some of those red voters that are feeling the effects. They realize, you know, trickle down, they’ve gotten trickled on and they’re not happy about it,” Davis said.
According to Davis, a third of Republicans, a third of Democrats and a third of unaffiliated residents make up the 11th District. The unaffiliated voters choose which ballot they will vote on Election Day and have historically taken more Republican ballots.
Davis said the policies he promotes do not coincide with the ideals of either party, creating the best chances for winning.
“This is the person, if this guy does not win March 3, I think that the red team wins in November,” Graeme Mcgufficke said, Davis’ campaign manager. “Again, nothing against the other four folks, I know most of them fairly well. Nice folks, generally speaking, but they just don’t make, as I said, they don’t have the record, the reach or the resources to get the job done.”
Davis’ healthcare policy proposes government healthcare available to everyone with a continued existence of personal plans optional to anyone.
“What I believe will happen within 10 years is the private market will collapse under its own weight because of the administrative costs,” he said, “I think the government plan will be more efficient, but I think if we try to cram it down the throats of those red voters that we need, we’re going to lose the election.”
Davis said student debt creates a huge burden on the country and its citizens.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. lies between $902 billion and $1 trillion with around $864 billion in federal student loan debt.
“What I would propose doing is converting it all to government debt and zero loans you pay back and if you want to do public service like the military or teaching or any other type of public service, have a formula for every year of service that pays off your chunk of your debt,” Davis said.
Davis said he promotes what he calls common sense gun reform. This entails allowing the purchase of pistols, rifles, shotguns or any combination of the three with a thorough background check and strict red flag laws as a constitutional right.
North Carolina currently has a concealed carry permit requirement. Davis said this means one who wants to carry a concealed weapon must file an application, pay a fee, have a mental health and criminal record check, go to an eight hour gun safety class with a fee, pass the test at the end of the course and sign a document stating the mandatory reporting of any arrest involving an act of violence or hospitalization for a mental issue.
“If we applied that nationwide to anything above a pistol, rifle and a shotgun, I think some people would just be deterred because of the hassle and the expense and it would screen out some people that shouldn’t have them,” he said.
Davis said he does not disagree with banning assault rifles, but he does believe he would lose the election if he made that opinion public.
“We just can’t cram it down their throats or we’re not going to win,” he said.
Several counties including Cabarrus and Catawba declared themselves as Second Amendment sanctuaries. This title labels the counties as places where local government commits to opposing any unconstitutional gun reform policies.
According to WFAE, Charlotte’s NPR news source, the trend spreads as counties like Gaston consider declaring the promise as a way to comfort pro-gun residents on the local level.
According to Davis, tourism and the money it brings benefits residents in many ways while simultaneously forcing locals out of the gentrified areas.
“When we go out to dinner, a lot of times we’re talking to the servers and they live out in Weaverville or Maggie Valley because they can’t afford to live in Asheville on what they’re making,” he said.
The Green New Deal falls under the list of policies Davis supports. He said the $15 minimum wage under the policy strives to help residents who currently struggle finding housing, especially in the Asheville area.
“That’s not living the highlife, but it’s better than seven and a quarter, which is what the wage has been for over a decade. So it’s a start,” Davis said.
Davis said the issue of gentrification primarily falls under the control of county commissioners or local branches of government opposed to Congress.
When it comes to racial issues, Davis said his focus resides on the justice system and treating drug addictions as health problems instead of criminal. He also mentioned his support for historically black colleges and universities.
“I’m a big supporter. I went to North Carolina Central Law School and I taught at Howard, so I spent seven years in the HBCU community where I was welcomed. So I’m a big supporter,” Davis said. “Congress recently made permanent funding for HBCUs and so I certainly will fight to defend that and hopefully increase it.”
Integrity and accountability within the government to regain trust among citizens ranks as the most important issue of the campaign, according to Davis.
“I’m just going to go and fight for them when it’s the right thing to do and vote with the party when it is the right thing to do and stand up against it when it’s not. So I think that’s what we got to do is we’ve got to have accountability and integrity,” he said.
Davis said he does not take any PAC or corporate money because he does not hold special interest in any corporation and all of his donations are contributed by individual donors.
“Frankly, all of the candidates are pretty similar, but what stands out for me is the fact that he doesn’t need training wheels his first year in office. He has experience. He actually trained the 111th Congress national security. He knows his way around. We should be honored to have someone with that much experience who can run in and make the changes,” Hunneke said.