Q&A with Cynthia Wallace (NC-09)
“Be flexible in your life. You make a big decision as an 18-year-old freshman about your major which set up a large part of your post-college life. BUT have the courage to go a different direction after you graduate based on your passion if your interest changes.”
Off The Sidelines: Tell us about yourself. Why did you decide to get off the sidelines and run for office?
Cynthia Wallace: In 2019, the 9th district went without representation in Congress for 9 months after the discovery of election fraud by Republican operatives canceled the results of the 2018 election. The current Republican congressman missed 33% of the votes in his first month in office. By that time, I had served as the 9th Congressional District Chair for the Democratic Party across all of the district’s eight counties for nearly three years. My deep commitment to the district — and seeing the Republican incumbent only show up in Congress when he could vote against the interests of his constituents — drove me into this race in December. I decided to use my 25 years of Financial Services experience and my knowledge of the needs of the district to get off the sidelines and show up for the people of the 9th district!
OTS: Tell us about where you’re running and what your district is like.
CW: North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District includes eight counties that extend from urban Charlotte (Mecklenburg County) in the west to rural Lumberton (Robeson County) in the east. The District covers all of Union, Anson, Richmond, Scotland, Hoke and Robeson counties, a portion of the southeast of Mecklenburg county and the southern portion of Moore county. The party registration is 35.2% Democrats 30.9% Republicans 33.9% Other (mainly unaffiliated). Four of the eight counties are listed per the NC Department of Commerce in the top 15 of the most economically distressed of the 100 counties in the state. Three counties are in the top 15 of the least economically distressed of the 100 counties in the state. The district, then, very literally crosses the urban-rural divide, encompassing some of the richest and poorest areas of North Carolina. The district is 65% White, 19% Black, and 8% Native American. About 35% are college educated.
OTS: What one piece of advice would you give your younger self?
CW: Be flexible in your life. You make a big decision as an 18-year-old freshman about your major which set up a large part of your post-college life. BUT have the courage to go a different direction after you graduate based on your passion if your interest changes.
OTS: What issue do you believe deserves more attention on the campaign trail?
CW: The issue about broadband expansion is one that impacts so many areas of life in NC-09. Expanded infrastructure for high speed internet would be a game-changer for rural communities. It would mean greater access to telehealth, remote work opportunities, and improved equity in education as remote learning is a way of life due to COVID-19
OTS: What’s a fun fact that people might not know about you?
CW: I lived in Paris, France for one year.
OTS: If you could have dinner with three people (living or deceased) who would they be and why?
- My dad. He was a civil rights activist and first African American County commissioner in our small town. He died in late 2016. I would love to discuss my political journey with him. Get his advice and wise counsel. I’d like to know that I’m making him proud.
- Dovey Johnson Roundtree. I’d like to discuss her life and how she accomplished so much in such a time when opportunities for women especially women of color were so limited. She was a Class of ‘38 graduate of Spelman College, my alma mater. She became a civil rights activist, ordained minister, and attorney. She was a protégé of Mary McCleod Bethune, becoming one of the first African American women trained as an officer, and won significant wins as a lawyer. Her life of firsts inspires me to continue to strive for greatness.
- Bill Nye the Science Guy. As a mathematician and statistician, I love and believe in science and data! A lighthearted dinner with someone that makes science fun would be cool. Taking on racism via TikTok was outstanding! He could show me how to do my own TikTok video.
OTS: How do you de-stress/unwind?
CW: I love to take a walk first thing in the morning before the NC heat takes hold; I also like to binge watch shows like the Daily Show with Trevor Noah since I can’t keep up with it on a regular basis anymore!