D.D. Adams's Profile
North Carolina 5th Congressional District
DD Adams is a former union worker who worked her way up from a beer bottling line to leading a quality control team for one of the biggest technology companies in the world. She grew up in a two-bedroom duplex on a dirt road, and was the first person in her family to complete college. She is a member of the Winston-Salem City Council and has served on a half-dozen charitable boards.
People’s House Project proudly endorses her as a candidate meeting our principles for election to Congress. She:
• Has first-person experience with the economic crisis
• Directly represents America’s diverse working class
• Is more connected to her community than to elites
• Will not make a good villain for the other side to campaign against
• Holds Progressive economic priorities central to her campaign
We believe DD Adams will be an invaluable addition to the House of Representatives, a passionate and energetic advocate for all the people of North Carolina's 5th Congressional District.
The 5th Congressional District of North Carolina is mostly rural, with Winston-Salem being the big city. People here used to make their living off tobacco, textiles, and furniture. All that went away starting in the 80s, and right now it’s rural and poor.
When I was young, everybody had an opportunity. It wasn’t just in cities. On the farms and in the high country – it was all over. Now they’re struggling just like my ancestors had to struggle. My story is their story. My dad worked three jobs, my mom worked two. Their thing was they believed if you got an education you could be anything you want to be, as long as you’re willing to work hard, and the opportunities are there for you.
I was the first person in my family to finish college. When I came home I couldn’t get that job that you dream about, a nice job, an office job. They weren’t available, just like now. I worked in the Schlitz brewery as a filling machine operator. I stayed at that plant for over 18 years, 10 of them union. I was laid off a lot. I collected unemployment. I was a substitute teacher. I worked for UPS during the holidays. My life is no different from most of the people in the 5th District. I’ve been without insurance. I know what it’s like to be downsized out of your job because I was downsized out of mine.
I saw in the paper where Johnson Control needed a shipping supervisor. I took all the gender-specific things off my resume, used my initials “D.D.” instead of my name, went to the post office, and put that letter in the mail. That was Sunday. On Tuesday they called me and wanted to talk to Mr. D.D. Adams. I told them I was Miss D.D. Adams. I went in as a shipping supervisor on third shift. They made me a process quality engineer. They gave me three or four goals, and if I could accomplish them in four months they would increase my salary. I did that. I was a process quality engineer until they promoted me to a high-performance team coordinator. My whole job was to identify and solve problems, and I was good at it.
Government runs like a business nobody really understands. I think we need to have systematic approach to how we solve problems. You start by talking with different people in the community and listening to what they say their needs are. You need to look at the numbers, the data, at what they have now, the infrastructure that is left. Politicians come around with promises. I don’t have anything against that, but until you can show me a plan backed-up by numbers that will result in opportunities and successful results, I can’t sign on to another initiative.
The people have been voting Republican because they felt like Democrats weren’t talking to the things that are important to them. I’ve been listening to the people of this district my whole life. They’ve been telling me they don’t have adequate health care, not just insurance but infrastructure of doctors and facilities. They can’t access the internet. Cell phones don’t work up in the high country. We have community colleges and those are doing some good work, but I figure we should partner our smaller towns with some of the cities in the district to solve problems so there’s not such a big urban-rural divide. We should get a think-tank together in every county to prioritize what are the one or two things we can achieve in less than a year so people see they can make a difference.
I’ve always been involved in causes in the community. I ran for the state house in 1990.
There were 4 people running for the seat and nobody thought I had a chance. Nobody knew me. But I worked really hard – even with my full time job at the brewery. I came within a hundred votes from a runoff. My mom told me if I wanted to win, I should have worked that much harder.
I’ve been the Council Member for the North Ward of Winston-Salem since 2009. I’m currently serving as Vice Chair of the Finance Committee and the Community Development/Housing/General Government Committee. I’ve been telling people for five or six years I was going to run for Congress. We need new people. We need people who’ve lived the actual American dream life. We don’t have people who’ve worked themselves up. We don’t have people who’ve worked two or three jobs, people with pre-existing conditions, people who know what life is like. We don’t have that. That’s why I’m running.