JARVISBURG – State Sen. Terry Van Duyn says the job of the lieutenant governor is to “amplify the governor’s vision for North Carolina.”

That’s why the Buncombe County Democrat is running for lieutenant governor, Van Duyn told an audience of about 30 supporters Tuesday evening.

Van Duyn campaigned at Sanctuary Vineyards Tuesday evening, a night marked by low temperatures and steady rain. Introducing Van Duyn was Currituck Chamber of Commerce President Josh Bass, who said the best strategy for Democrats was to get as many good candidates “up and down” on the ballot in the 2020 general election.

Senate Democrats stand firm in their support for Gov. Roy Cooper, who’s also a Democrat, said Van Duyn.

In North Carolina, the lieutenant governor is elected to a four-year term and is president of the Senate. The lieutenant governor has no vote in the Senate, except in the rare instances to break a tie. That’s why electing a Democrat to replace incumbent Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, a Republican, is so crucial, Van Duyn emphasized.

“I will always break the tie favorably when North Carolina benefits,” Duyn told the audience.

Van Duyn listed three primary concerns of Cooper, the first of which is “real” salary increases for teachers.

“Not these pretend raises,” she said, referring to a near 4% salary increase approved recently during a budget stalemate between Republicans and Cooper, who thinks the pay hike should be twice that amount.

Secondly, Cooper wants a bond issue to build more classrooms to serve overcrowded schools, Van Duyn said.

And third, she said, Cooper supports Medicaid Expansion, a comment that received a round of applause.

Van Duyn said she has witnessed how difficult it is for some residents who lack health insurance. That was when she served as a volunteer navigator for residents registering for health benefits under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

“What I saw firsthand is what happens to people when they can’t afford to go to the doctor,” Van Duyn told the audience.

Without saying any names, Van Duyn criticized some lawmakers by saying it appears holding on to their elected seat has become their priority.

“It seems more important to be re-elected than to do the right thing for North Carolina,” she said.

Van Duyn recalled past Democratic governors Terry Sanford and Jim Hunt and how they were strong proponents for investing in education. She called for a return to those values that made Hunt and Sanford such popular governors.

“That progressive beacon we remember so fondly,” she said.

The Senate Democrats are holding together in their support for Cooper, she said.

One issue that scares her is gerrymandering in North Carolina, she said. That’s why she supports an independent commission to determine voter district boundaries. In fact, she is among the primary sponsors of Senate Bill 673, which would amend the state constitution to create the North Carolina Citizens Redistricting Commission.

She cited the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, which was created in 2010, and said officials in that state have seen a sharp increase in voter turnout as a result of the commission’s work.

Van Duyn was appointed to the Senate in 2014 following the death of Senator Martin Nesbitt.

According to her campaign website she was elected Democratic Whip in her freshman year and has called for improvements of public schools, better environmental protections and has urged better government transparency.

Also attending Tuesday’s campaign event was State Rep. Brian Turner, D-Buncome, who was there to show his support for Van Duyn.