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Kamala Harris visits Asheville

Sen. Kamala Harris speaks in Asheville Sen. Kamala Harris speaks in Asheville Cory Vaillancourt

Last Thursday, Democratic vice presidential nominee and California Sen. Kamala Harris was forced to cancel a planned trip to Asheville after two staffers tested positive for COVID-19, but that didn’t stop her from returning Oct. 21 to speak at an event at UNC-Asheville. 

“We were supposed to be here last week and it was so important that came so we recreated the schedule to be with you,” Harris told a small crowd of masked, socially distanced Democratic supporters. 

The Biden campaign has been spending more and more time in the Old North State; presidential polls remain neck-and neck in North Carolina, and with just under two weeks remaining until Election Day, millions of North Carolinians have already headed to the polls during the state’s early voting period, which runs through Oct. 31. 

Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer, who spoke before Harris appeared at the socially distanced outdoor event in a campus parking lot, revealed that she’d assembled a top-ten list of reasons for people to get out and vote. 

“Number 1,” she said, “electing the first woman vice president to these United States.”

Harris went on to disparage President Donald Trump’s record on handling the Coronavirus pandemic, on supporting public schools, on rushing to confirm a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and on health care. 

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“This is stranger than fiction,” said Harris. “Have you ever heard that expression that fact is stranger than fiction? We’re living it. We’re living it, sister. And so what are we seeing? Right now, in the midst of a public health pandemic, Donald Trump and Bill Barr are in the United States Supreme Court trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.” 

For voters primarily concerned with health care, Harris said that Biden is the best candidate.

“This is why we need Joe Biden to be elected President of the United States,” she said. “He will expand health care, bring down the cost of premiums, bring down the cost of prescription drugs, lower Medicare eligibility to age 60.”

Before boarding her plane, Harris had a lot to say about North Carolina’s role in the upcoming election, telling The Smoky Mountain News' Cory Vaillancourt on the tarmac at Asheville Regional Airport that the state remains crucial for a Biden/Harris victory. 

“We need North Carolina and that’s why I’m here, that’s why he’s been here,” she said. “The people of North Carolina are very much going to be a very big part of deciding this election, so we’re here to encourage the vote,” Harris said. “Vote early. But also we’ve been here to listen to folks because we know the people of North Carolina want the kind of support they deserve from their president.”

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