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North Carolina Legislator Profile Update: Michele Presnell (R-Haywood, Madison, Yancey)

Rep. Michele Presnell, who represents House District 118, has served three terms in the House since being elected in 2012. She previously served on the Yancey Board of Commissioners in 2010.

Presnell’s claims of being pro-education do not coincide with her actions. Presnell falls in line with other Republicans in the General Assembly and prioritizes tax cuts for big corporations over funding public education. Thanks to Presnell’s votes, NC is ranked among the lowest for teacher pay and per pupil spending, according to an NEA report.

Instead of advocating for her constituents, Presnell accepted thousands in donations from Duke Energy and voted to allow them to pass the cost of cleaning up coal ash on to ratepayers after the devastating coal ash spill.

Presnell voted against protecting coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and blocked Medicaid expansion that would have provided health care to 500,000 North Carolinians and lowered costs for everyone. Meanwhile, North Carolina has some of the most expensive health care in the country, in part due to decisions by the Republican-led legislature.

Despite Presnell’s claims that she is “pro-jobs,” she consistently voted to give tax cuts to corporations and millionaires. Ignoring the fact that more than 50 percent of children in Haywood County live in poverty, Presnell put the wealthy ahead of everyday families. 

Read on for more about Presnell’s record.


Source: Michele Presnell for NC House

Despite claiming she is an advocate for more education funding and resources, Presnell repeatedly voted against more education funding, instead favoring tax breaks for corporations and keeping NC ranked among the lowest in the nation on education spending.

  • Presnell claims she is an advocate for more education funding and more educational resources.
  • In 2017, Presnell voted for the Republican budget that shortchanged teachers and students by failing to meaningfully raise teacher salaries and prioritized tax cuts over funding public education.
  • In 2016, Presnell voted to raise taxes for middle class families and cut funding for public schools.
  • Presnell voted to let education funding fall even further behind, keeping NC education funding ranked among the lowest in the country in 2015.
  • The 2013 budget Presnell supported cut more than $500 million from education funding, cut teacher pay, and divested public education dollars into private schools.

Presnell accepted thousands of dollars in donations from Duke Energy and voted to pass the cost of cleaning up Duke’s coal ash to ratepayers, prioritizing big corporations over North Carolinians.

  • Presnell received at least $3,000 from Duke Energy.
  • Presnell voted for the “Duke Bailout Bill” that passed the cost of cleaning up Duke Energy’s coal ash to constituents. 
  • A regulatory bill Presnell voted for allowed Duke Energy to avoid coal ash cleanup.
  • Presnell voted against an amendment that would have protected ratepayers from paying the outrageous cost to clean up coal ash. 

Presnell voted to remove protections for people with pre-existing conditions and blocked Medicaid expansion that would have covered 500,000 people and saved lives.

  • Presnell voted against Medicaid expansion that would have covered 500,000 low-income North Carolinians and was fully funded by federal money for three years, costing the state $15 billion in new economic activity. 
  • Refusal to expand Medicaid cost the state anywhere from 455 to over 1,000 lives annually.
  • Presnell voted to support an amended H933, a school safety bill that was changed to destabilize health care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

Presnell claimed her “biggest issue is JOBS;” however, she repeatedly voted for bills that cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations, following every foolish whim of the GOP.

  • Presnell said one of her main focuses is jobs and she commends the leadership in Raleigh for doing a “great job” with less regulations on businesses.
  • Despite the economic hardship in Presnell’s district, she voted for a budget that favored tax cuts for the wealthy, did not restore child care tax credits, and siphoned money away from public education.
  • Presnell voted for H998, tax overhaul legislation that benefited and cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations, including tax breaks for private jets and yachts.

Click here to learn more about Presnell.