GUILFORD COUNTY — Two local Republican state legislators say they intend to have continued leadership roles in the House for the full N.C. General Assembly session that begins early next year.
Rep. Jon Hardister, R-Guilford, is assured of remaining in the House GOP leadership as majority whip after being renamed to the post during the recent Republican House caucus.
Rep. John Faircloth, R-Guilford, said he wants to continue as a co-chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which makes decisions about allocations from the state budget. Faircloth, a former High Point councilman, is seeking to serve in his third consecutive legislative session as an appropriations co-chairman.
He said he has spoken with Republican House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, about his interest in continuing as a co-chairman.
“I expect to be, but we won’t know all that until the next two weeks or so,” Faircloth told The High Point Enterprise. ”That’s my preference is to be appointed again.”
During his time as a co-chairman, Faircloth has secured state money for the High Point Market and for nonprofits and other groups serving the community.
“One of the things I’m determined to do is make things better for Guilford County,” Faircloth said. “That appointment puts me in the position to do as much as I can to help our county.”
Faircloth, a retired High Point police chief, also expects to serve on a House committee on criminal justice and police matters.
Faircloth defeated Democratic challenger Brandon Gray in the 62nd House District during the Nov. 8 general election. Faircloth will serve in his seventh consecutive term for the upcoming legislative session.
Hardister was first elected to his House seat covering eastern Guilford County in 2012 and has served as majority whip since 2016.
“I feel like I have the skill set to continue in leadership,” Hardister said.
“I like having a seat at the table and feel I can have a positive influence. I’ve proven I can work well within my party and also work across the aisle to get things done.”
Hardister defeated Democratic challenger Sherrie Young in the 59th House District during the general election.
The state Senate GOP caucus won’t meet until next week about its leadership roster for the upcoming legislative session.
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This time last year, if you had told Rejoice Dumas what the coming year would hold for her and her family, she might’ve found it difficult to express even a mustard seed of thankfulness.
Within a span of about nine months, her teenage daughter, Journee, would be diagnosed with COVID-19, heart failure — which would require a lifesaving heart transplant — and lymphoma.
Happy Thanksgiving, indeed.
Today, though, as Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and all that goes with it, Dumas and her family can still find room in their hearts for gratitude.
“It’s been a challenge,” says Dumas, formerly of High Point but now living in Greensboro. “I couldn’t imagine going through something like this when I went through it, so to be in this predicament and to make it out, I’m truly thankful.”
The good news is that Journee, 14, shows no lingering effects from her bout with COVID last December, and this spring she received a new heart and has suffered no complications. And while she’s not quite through with her chemotherapy treatments for the lymphoma, her latest scans indicate the chemo’s working, and doctors expect her to be cancer-free.
Journee had been a healthy, free-spirited eighth-grader at Cornerstone Charter Academy until late December, when she came down with COVID. She recovered from the virus except for a lingering cough, which led to a chest X-ray in mid-January. The X-ray showed fluid around Journee’s heart.
“They told us the left side of her heart was failing, and she would need a heart transplant,” Dumas recalls. “We don’t know why (her heart was failing). Her tests came back that it was nothing genetic or anything like that. All we know is that the COVID attacked her heart.”
On March 3, she was listed as Status 1A on the transplant waiting list — the highest priority of medical urgency. In the meantime, she was admitted at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, where she had a left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, implanted in her chest to help her weakened heart pump blood to the rest of her body until a new heart became available.
The wait for a new heart was understandably nerve-wracking.
“Every time the phone rings and it’s the hospital calling, or every time a doctor walks in the room, you’re expecting them to say, ‘Hey, we have a heart,’ ” Dumas says. “When it happened, it was like, ‘Wow, we finally got what we came here for.’ ”
The call came on April 28. Journee was in the playroom — she was the Uno champ on her floor — when her favorite nurse came and shared the good news with her.
“She runs back to her room and says, ‘Mom, guess what — I have a heart!’ ” her mother recalls.
Dumas wept tears of joy.
The surgery took place the next day. It lasted more than 10 hours, but there were no complications. Journee was released on May 13, returning to her home for the first time in weeks.
She takes up to 10 pills a day — about half of them to stave off possible rejection of the new organ — but her heart’s doing great.
“She’s like full throttle now,” Dumas says. “She wants to cheer. She wants to play basketball. She wants to make her TikToks. She calls herself Journee 2.0.”
Journee 2.0 was doing great until late August, when she began feeling unwell. A series of tests and scans led to an unexpected diagnosis — diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, an aggressive type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Dumas admits the scary diagnosis rocked her.
“Why?” she remembers thinking. “We just came out of something life-threatening, and then to be hit with something else? Why?”
The good news is that doctors believe they caught the disease early, and chemo seems to be working. Journee goes for her final treatment Monday, and then she hopes to be lymphoma-free.
“That’s another reason to be thankful,” Dumas says.
Want another reason? Dumas received a letter from the family of Journee’s heart donor, along with a photo of the young man whose unexpected death made Journee’s new life possible. In addition to his heart, the family also donated his eyes and kidneys.
The joy is bittersweet, of course. Another family had to lose a loved one in order for Journee to live, a fact that’s not lost on Journee’s mother. She plans to write a letter to the family thanking them for saving her daughter’s life.
She’s also thankful for the support system of people who have helped her through Journee’s health issues. They donated their money and their time. They organized fundraisers. They helped care for Dumas’ son, 11-year-old Kyrie, when she needed to be at the hospital with Journee.
“Family, friends, my community — they were all there for me,” Dumas says. “A lot of people who didn’t even know me were willing to help. And the prayers — oh, the countless prayers. We weren’t in this fight alone.”
Above it all, Dumas says, she’s thankful to her God.
“On days where I felt like it was too much, my faith kept me together,” she says. “To be able to see my 14-year-old daughter smile and be her normal self again, even going through what she’s going through, I give all glory to God.”
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HIGH POINT — High Point City Councilman Cyril Jefferson said Wednesday that he is running for High Point mayor in next year’s elections.
A first-term councilman elected in 2019, Jefferson said in an interview that he decided to seek the city’s highest elected office over the summer. Mayor Jay Wagner has not announced whether he plans to seek reelection and could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Jefferson is the first candidate to declare publicly his intent to run in the November 2023 city elections, when all council seats and the mayor’s seat will be on the ballot for a four-year term. Candidate filing for city elections is scheduled to open in July 2023.
He said he decided to announce his campaign early so that he has nearly a full year to get his message out to voters.
“We’ve had success and we want to sustain that success,” he said of the current council’s term. “Whoever steps into this next role has to be able to pick up that mantle so we can continue the great momentum the city has been on.”
Jefferson has enlisted the help of campaign consultant and political strategist Brandon Lenoir, who said the campaign has already started raising funds.
“We have amassed a pretty good war chest for the campaign,” said Lenoir, who also works as an assistant professor of political communication for High Point University. “The response has been very positive. The goal of the city is to attract and retain young professionals, and Cyril embodies that.”
Jefferson, 30, is the owner of Change Often, a “social innovation” consulting firm. If elected, he would be the youngest mayor of High Point in the modern era, if not ever. He would be the second Black mayor in the city’s history, following Bernita Sims, who was elected in 2012.
Jefferson said he’s aware of this, but it’s not why he’s running.
He said he’s running on a platform organized around the themes of the city’s mission of “creating the single most livable, safe and prosperous community in America.”
He said he wants to continue the city’s current economic development strategies, but add more of a focus on creating opportunities for small businesses and putting more resources into workforce development programs.
“High Point is ranked and known for its incredible economic development efforts and accolades, and we want that to continue,” he said. “A significant portion of our employment comes from small businesses. How do we continue to partner with the business community to create opportunities for investment that supports (small business) growth?”
Another priority he said he wants to pursue is investing more in infrastructure, specifically “complete streets” principles of transportation planning, where roads are designed to accommodate not just vehicle traffic, but pedestrians and cyclists as well.
This would improve safety, he said, especially in the downtown catalyst area around Truist Point stadium.
He said he wants to expand public transportation to give residents better access to jobs. City officials have said for years they can’t do this because of bus driver shortages and other factors. Jefferson said he wants to explore ways around this, such as smaller transit vehicles that wouldn’t come with as many requirements for drivers.
Another area in which he wants the city to expand its role is providing more housing to meet the demands brought on by growth, with particular focus on steering development to the core and away from urban sprawl.
On the theme of safety, Jefferson praised the enforcement and community outreach work of the High Point Police Department, and said he supports continuing this approach.
“The great efforts of our police to engage with the community have worked well to mitigate criminal activity,” he said. “We believe crime is a symptom of a lack of economic opportunity, which is why our focus all starts with jobs.”
HIGH POINT — The first donations have been received for the 2021 Christmas Cheer Fund.
Today’s donors are:
In Memory of Bill Anderson by the Kiwanis Club of High Point $500
Michele & Pat Levy $100
In Honor of the Kiwanis Christmas Cheer Committee by Joan Campbell $100
In Memory of Sandy Cain and Bill Guy Jr. by Martha & Wiley Stockton $35
Ann & Groome Fulton $100
In Memory of Jimmie and Leo Kidd, Boyce and Eloise Stinson, and Arthur and Dot Dickens by Jerry & Louella Stinson $100
In Honor of our Grandchildren — Ben, Ava and Livia by Sissie & Bill Burgess $100
Beeson Hardware Company $100
In Memory of Raymond Carr, MD and Jim Carr by Mrs. Anne Carr $100
In Memory of Melinda Ann Teague by Robert & Barbara Teague $50
In Loving Memory of Dottie Woodell by Wayne Woodell $50
In Memory of JC, Ruth, and Greg McAllister by Martha & Edwin Bass $50
In Memory of Jimmy Fulton and Martha Nell Tucker by Bruce & Nancy Laney $250
In Memory of Edward Silver by Suzanne Silver $100
In Memory of my Brother by Linda Hassell $10
Today’s daily total is also our first Grand Total and amounts to $1745.
Today’s total $1,745
Previous total $0
Grand total $1,745
Donations should be made out to the Christmas Cheer Fund and mailed to P.O. Box 5467, High Point, NC 27262. Lists of donors will be published in The Enterprise through Christmas Day, with a final listing being published in early January.
The fund, operated by the Kiwanis Club of High Point, will provide Christmas gifts for about 150 underserved children identified through the Boys and Girls Clubs of High Point.