N.C. Policy Watch is chatting with some of the newest members of the N.C. General Assembly to offer a bit more insight on who they are and what they plan on doing this session in Raleigh. This will be an ongoing feature, with the goal of profiling all the new members. Haven’t been contacted for your profile yet? New legislators can contact reporter Sarah Ovaska at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: state Rep. Deb McManus, Democrat
Occupation: office manager for husband’s medical practice, Carolina Family Practice
Lives in: Siler City
From: Mount Holly, N.C.
Family: husband Keith; two grown daughters (one who is a public school teacher in Charlotte)
Hobbies: reading and gardening
Previous elected offices, if any: Yes, served on the Chatham County School Board of Education
Why’d you run for office? “Education is the reason why I decided to run. “ concerned about cuts, changes to education that are not giving teachers the resources they need to teach.
What are the major challenges this year? “For me, the biggest challenge has been because I feel like I don’t know how we can make a difference. It’s a struggle feeling that way, with Democrats in such a minority.”
What is one specific issue that you’ think needs addressing? “I’m concerned we’re going to lose the best and brightest teachers” from effects of budget cuts, low pay and increased workloads as the state pushes towards core curriculums.
How do you feel about these issues?
- Voter ID? Against it. We do not have an issue with voter fraud in North Carolina. It’s going to disenfranchise people, and particularly disadvantage women and older residents.”
- Medicaid expansion: Supported it. Legislature’s decision to reject Medicaid expansion was “heartbreaking.” “I don’t know how the rural doctors and rural hospitals will make it. I don’t understand how we made the decision to refuse the federal funding and not help our poor.”
- North Carolina’s public schools’ funding? Public schools need more funding. “We’ve got to take care of our schools and our teachers.”
- Immigration? (Does the state have a role?) “While it’s a federal issue, I’m glad they (Department of Transportation) decided to go ahead and allow the drivers licenses” for undocumented immigrants who came into the country as children.
Who has influenced your politics?
Her father. Her family watched the nightly news growing up and routinely discussed the political and policy issues that came up.
Also former state Rep. Joe Hackney and former state Sen. Bob Atwater, both Democrats from the Chatham County area that supported her candidacy.
How do you describe your politics?
Moderate on fiscal issues and liberal on social issues.
What’s something about you most people don’t know:
Started out as an arts major in college, and has taken up wood-turning lately, creating bowls and other pieces. “I love doing it. You can’t think about anything else when you’re doing it.”
McManus is also a registered member of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, and spent her summers as a child with her grandparents who lived on the Cherokee reservation in Western North Carolina, according to her campaign website.
Contact information: (919) 733-0057 (legislative office) or Deb.McManus@ncleg.net