Archived Opinion

Vote for Jones in 118th District

Vote for Jones in 118th District

To the Editor:

As a Waynesville resident, I’m a bystander in the NC House District 118 race, and it’s a shame, because it’s a race I’d like to cast a ballot for. In some ways, the two candidates running share a similar pedigree. Alan Jones and Mark Pless were both raised in Haywood County and both currently reside in Canton. After that, I’d say the similarities end. I wouldn’t chalk this race up to an apocalyptic battle of good versus evil, but I would say that the choice couldn’t be more stark. 

The more I come to learn of Alan Jones, the more I find to like. He is a union man, fighting on behalf of the working class. In an era when most of American government bends over backward for corporate power, it is vital to have elected officials who will fight to uplift the working poor. (I use that term deliberately, as many of us are working full-time and are still struggling to support ourselves, let alone build up savings or wealth.) Jones’ platform is centered around boosting the local economy, providing high-paying jobs to local workers. He also believes in boosting our local schools, providing much-need funding, so that we can deliver a high quality of education to our students. He understands that education creates a firm foundation for students as they become adults and join the workforce. The final key issue in his platform is access to healthcare. It goes without saying, but in the time of this pandemic, we know that access to healthcare is an absolute necessity for our community. 

In his role as a union representative, Mr. Jones has learned to negotiate between corporate and workers’ interests. He is a person who knows how to compromise, while fighting for the rights of hardworking citizens. That is exactly the sensibility we need in a House representative. Progress does not happen without a healthy dose of negotiation, and Mr. Jones has proven himself to be adept at bridging that divide. He is the candidate we need fighting for us. 

What is there to say about Mark Pless? There couldn’t be a more incompetent candidate for leadership. In his role as Haywood County commissioner, he is obstinate, and not in the good way, like firm in his resolve. I mean obstinate, in the not-so-good way, like deliberately pig-headed. Beyond the allegations of domestic assault and sexual harassment that plague his personal life, his performance on the board of commissioners isn’t very savory either. He routinely harasses community members, both at board meetings and on Facebook, often using sexist language and rhetoric to intimidate female constituents.

It’s not just the public that he can’t seem to develop a working relationship with. His rapport with his co-workers seems fraught at best. Sometimes I get the feeling that the other commissioners simply can’t stand him. Pless doesn’t work well with others, and it’s obvious in the way he routinely casts dissenting votes, even for projects that would obviously benefit the community. Haywood County knows what kind of man he is, though I wonder if Madison and Yancey counties are aware of his shoddy character. Mark Pless can’t even do his current job as county commissioner well. I’d hate to see him flop around and fail District 118 at the state level. 

In the House District 118 race, we need to choose the candidate who will fight for our community. We need the candidate who has a heart for working class folks, and who has a clear objective to represent them when they reach the General Assembly. Politics is so often messy and gray, leaving voters unsure whether either candidate would really fight for the people they say they’d serve. Every once in a while though, the choice is black and white. 

Abby Ahlberg

Frog Level

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