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SPRING HOPE — After one term in the N.C. House of Representatives, Lisa Stone Barnes is seeking election to the N.C. Senate.
She sees it as an opportunity to continue a public-service career that also includes six years as a Nash County commissioner.
“I believe serving in the Senate will allow me to serve North Carolinians and work with other senators to continue the work of making our state a unique place to live, raise a family and improve our overall quality of life,” she said in an email response to questions from the Johnstonian News.
Barnes is seeking the Republican Party nomination in Senate District 11, which includes Nash County and part of Johnston. She says she has the experience and the agenda to serve.
“As a member of the (House) Agriculture Committee and a conferee on the 2019 Farm Act, I worked on a myriad of legislation for our agricultural community, particularly the provision for the branding and marketing of N.C. sweet potatoes,” Barnes said.
“Expansion of broadband into rural areas has been another important issue for my district and one that I have been instrumental in advancing,” she added. “As a county commissioner, I worked to bring greater broadband access to unserved and underserved areas, and in the State House, I continued working on this critical need.”
If elected to the Senate, Barnes said she would build on the agenda she brought to the House. “I will continue to fight for our number one industry, agriculture, as well as access to quality health care and the best possible resources for our public schools and universities,” she said.
“I will also defend our constitutional right to keep and bear arms and stand up for voter ID requirements on behalf of N.C. citizens who voted to put this law in our constitution,” Barnes added. “Lastly, I will work with other senators to pass responsible budgets that reduce taxes on families and cut wasteful spending.”
Barnes is proud of the legislature’s 2019 accomplishments, especially the budget it passed. “The Republican-led General Assembly has done an excellent job crafting a balanced budget that would benefit the citizens of North Carolina through tax cuts, teacher pay raises and adding millions to the rainy day fund,” she said.
Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, vetoed the budget, but lawmakers were able to work around that veto to some degree, Barnes said. “Even though the budget was vetoed by the governor, we were able to pass several individual budget bills that funded school-safety initiatives, salary increases for state employees and disaster-recovery measures,” she said.
Barnes also credited Republicans with creating a tax environment that’s luring jobs to the state. “North Carolina ... has one of the lowest corporate income tax rates in the nation and was recently named the best for business in the South and No. 6 in the U.S. by 247wallst.com, thanks to efforts by Republican legislators,” she said.
“I am proud of my work in the North Carolina House helping lead these critical initiatives for our citizens,” Barnes added.
Still, some work remains, Barnes said. “We need to pass a budget,” she said. “And I would not overlook an override by the Senate of the vetoed budget when the Legislature convenes for the short session in April. If, however, the budget impasse continues, I would expect more ‘mini’ budget bills to fund critical needs across the state.”
Barnes, one of three candidates for the District 11 nomination, is listening to voters — and spreading her message — in Johnston. “I spend a lot of time traveling all over Johnston County to speak to any available audience, meeting folks and listening to the issues that are important to them,” she said. “I believe that my strong conservative record speaks for itself, and I believe getting the message out to voters about my record and experience, while listening to their concerns, is what will make my campaign successful on Election Day.”
Barnes thinks a strong primary campaign will aid her in the fall should she win the GOP nomination. “One of the benefits of winning a primary is that it helps with name recognition for the general election,” she said. “With five previous successful elections under my belt, I have learned that hard work in the primary pays off in November.”
The GOP winner on March 3 will face one of two Democrats, either Albert Pacer or Allen Wellons, in the fall.
“While I believe the general election will be more competitive than in the past, I am certain a sound message that appeals to a cross-section of voters, along with hard work and the necessary resources, will be the winning formula in November,” Barnes said.
If elected, Barnes said she would like to serve on the Senate’s agriculture, rules, judiciary and health care committees.
About Lisa Barnes
Born July 16, 1966, in Rocky Mount, Barnes has been married to Johnny Barnes for 32 years, and they have three adult children.
A graduate of Southern Nash High School, she earned an associate’s degree from Peace College and a bachelor’s degree from N.C. State University. Barnes is also a graduate of the paralegal program at Meredith College.
She is a self-employed rental property manager and agribusiness owner.
Barnes was a Nash County commissioner from 2012-18. She has served in the N.C. House of Representatives since 2019.