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North Carolina Legislator Profile Update: Debra Conrad (R-Forsyth)


Photo: Winston-Salem Journal

Debra Conrad was on the Forsyth County Commission for 18 years and has been in office since 1994. While there, she caused tension between the County Commission and the school board. She repeatedly voted against funding more education, instead voting in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy, claiming to vote any other way would be to “sell your soul.”

Conrad has failed to stand up for working families by blocking Medicaid expansion, which would lower health care costs for all. Now, North Carolina is the third most expensive state for health care. Conrad opposed funding a health center in Winston-Salem that would provide uninsured families in her district with health care, claiming Forsyth County does enough for the poor with Medicaid.

Conrad repeatedly attacked North Carolinians’ voting rights to protect her own position, claiming that “voting is a privilege.” She voted for multiple Republican-drawn districts, including drawing her own district, that have been ruled unconstitutional. She sponsored a bill that established photo ID requirements in NC which was ruled to have targeted African Americans with “almost surgical precision.” Conrad supported multiple bills to lessen early voting periods – lengthening lines for all voters. She also supported bills that eliminate judicial primaries and make judicial elections partisan. 

Conrad consistently votes against the needs of North Carolinians, prioritizing her wealthy friends and her self-interest rather than her constituents.

To learn more about Conrad, continue reading below.

“You can’t cut without cutting out of the school system.” -Rep. Debra Conrad (Winston-Salem Journal, 5/3/09)

As a Forsyth County Commissioner, Conrad repeatedly prioritized tax cuts over funding public education, blaming education cuts on students and saying, “you can’t cut without cutting out of the schools system.”

  • In 2011, Conrad supported budget cuts for Forsyth County that cut education by $300,000, and after making cuts, Conrad still claimed her top priorities included improving public schools.
  • During her 18 years as a county commissioner, Conrad continually feuded with the school board over funding education cuts and failed to adequately pay teachers, which she blamed on students.
  • Conrad consistently prioritized lowering taxes over funding public education, claiming “that’s selling your soul.”

Conrad does not support Medicaid expansion, and voted against funding health centers that serve her uninsured constituents.

  • Conrad has been vocal about not supporting Medicaid expansion, however she did support creating an independent authority to oversee Medicaid in North Carolina.
  • Conrad opposed funding for Winston-Salem’s Downtown Health Plaza, which serves uninsured families, claiming Forsyth County does enough for the poor with Medicaid.

Conrad repeatedly voted to restrict voting rights, from voting for unconstitutional Republican-drawn districts to sponsoring bills that establish photo ID requirements to making judicial races more partisan.

  • Conrad voted for the Republican-drawn Wake County Commission districts, Greensboro City Council districts, and NC Congressional districts, all of which were ruled unconstitutional.
  • Conrad sponsored a bill that established ID requirements for voting in North Carolina and shortened the early vote period.
  • Conrad was the only Forsyth County Commissioner to vote against using state money to fund opening more early voting sites.
  • Conrad limited voting rights even more by supporting a bill that eliminated primaries for all judicial and DA elections.
  • Conrad also helped “bring politics into the courtroom” by supporting and sponsoring bills that reinstate judicial elections at many different levels.

To read the full profile, click here.