WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The day after Sen. Thom Goolsby (R-9th District) announced he will not seek a third term in the North Carolina Senate, a familiar face declared her candidacy for the office.
Elizabeth Redenbaugh, former New Hanover County school board member, announced her candidacy for the 9th District Senate seat Saturday at the Community Arts Center in Wilmington.
Redenbaugh says public education is the reason she is running.
"The systematic dismantling of public education by our General Assembly has sent teacher moral plummeting to an all time low," Redenbaugh said. "We are now beginning to lose our best and brightest teachers. This will have a negative impact on the instruction our children receive and, as a result, the future economic stability of our state.”
In 2011, Redenbaugh received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for speaking out against socioeconomic and racial segregation in New Hanover County’s schools. Redenbaugh says her previous experience on the New Hanover County school board and within the community qualifies her to fill the position, a position Goolsby says belongs to Republicans.
"This is a Republican seat," Goolsby said. "I know the liberals like to say it's somehow a toss-up, but it's never been a toss-up for me. I won by 16 or 17 points against (James) Leutze, and I beat my last opponent by twice the Republican handicap that we already had on it, so it was 8 or 9 points then. We've always won this seat strongly and will continue to do so."
"This seat is very vulnerable and it is open to Democrats," Redenbaugh said. "The people of North Carolina, and the people specifically of New Hanover County, want someone that is more towards the center. Someone that can bridge the gap."
Redenbaugh was elected to the New Hanover County School Board as a Republican in 2008, but switched parties in 2011 after opposing fellow Republicans during board discussion on school redistricting. Redenbaugh served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2012, but lost her reelection bid for school board that November.