AARON THOMAS | Staff Writer
If you ask Jessica Holmes about education, it’s something she doesn’t take for granted.
In fact, for her it’s a lifestyle.
“I care about education so much, I’ve dedicated my career to it,” Holmes said.
This year, the North Carolina native will be running for Wake County Commissioner in District 3. Education in the Tar Heel State is a top priority for her.
“Education is the number one polling issue,” Holmes said, “no matter what party or race you’re running.”
For the past six months, Holmes has had a demanding schedule. From 8 a.m.
to about 11 p.m. each day, she attends political events, does campaign work, and spends alot of time in the community.
Most political candidates appeal to the public by saying what people want to hear, such as providing better education options. While Holmes agrees that each candidate is qualified to serve in his or her position, she says she is truly the best candidate.
“My opponent is a nice guy,” she said, “the only difference is compassion. I don’t only talk about working, I do it.”
Holmes attributes her upbringing in a small, to have her and her grandmother raised her with only a 5th grade education.
Despite her circumstances, she had a strong support system.
“[My grandma] was very adamant about me having a different lifestyle,” Holmes said. “Even if I didn’t have homework, she was always putting me to work.”
As a child, Holmes didn’t understand why her grandmother made her read the Bible or a newspaper aloud.As an adult, she’s learned to appreciate it.
“She loved me just that much to push me,” Holmes said, “not just for her, but to change my entire circumstance.”
Holmes would later attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for her undergraduate and law degrees. Getting through school wasn’t easy since she had to work three jobs.
She worked at Express and as a volunteer for the Helping Hand Mission, Inc. Her work-study job for Julius L. Chambers was the most significant job she held.
It helped her understand the law, specifically education and voting rights.
Chambers, a civil rights activist and attorney known for creating one of the first integrated law firms in the country, became Holmes’ mentor and one of her personal heroes.
Today, Holmes works as an attorney for the North Carolina Association of Educators. Her job involves advocating for teachers and school employees in the state.
“Excellent teachers are disappearing,” Holmes said. “If you get rid of these teachers, where would I be?”
When she’s not doing political work, Holmes enjoys talking to her grandmother, keeping up with college basketball, and watching Scandal. An important fact Holmes wants voters to know is that even though she is running for District 3, the commissioner seat is at-large, meaning a candidate can still win the race even if they lose their district.
Holmes will be running against Republican candidate Rich Gianni in the Nov. 4th election.
For more information about her platform, visit her
website at www.jessicaforwake.com