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A spate of early announcements by local candidates hoping to gain seats in the North Carolina General Assembly may have voters feeling like they’ve been here before — because the candidates certainly have.

After a disappointing loss to an entrenched incumbent in 2016, Beaverdam’s Rhonda Cole Schandevel announced Aug. 26 that she’ll again be a Democratic candidate for the North Carolina General Assembly in House District 118.

During the long session of the North Carolina Legislature that recently concluded, hundreds of bills were again proposed, studied and debated.

After expressing his outrage early last month over a bill that would make school board elections partisan in Haywood County, Chairman Chuck Francis and the Haywood County School Board have formally spoken out against it.

Tensions between Haywood County and a state legislator are on the rise as commissioners called her out at a recent meeting for yet again obstructing a request for legislation that has overwhelming local bipartisan support. 

A bill set to make school board elections partisan in Haywood County took current school board members — including the chairman — completely by surprise and has so far earned poor marks from a majority of the board.

Haywood County Tourism Development Authority Executive Director Lynn Collins has been making the rounds like a travelling saleswoman lately — pitching a room occupancy tax increase to anyone who will listen.

After five years of trying to merge with the town of Waynesville, the Lake Junaluska community has given up and charted a new course for its future.

Rhonda Cole Schandevel, D-Canton, ran a surprisingly good campaign that was well financed, but in the end, it wasn’t quite enough to unseat incumbent Rep. Michele Presnell, who has proven popular in her district.  

Rhonda Cole Schandevel is a survivor. 

“I hate it. I miss him terribly,” she said, a limpid pool of tears welling up in her eyes. “Sure, I’m sad that my husband died, but I’m very proud that I’ve been able to raise my son in a state that valued public education and valued the working class. Those are values our legislature does not hold today, especially my opponent.”

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