Dr. Amber Baker is known throughout Winston-Salem and Forsyth County for her work in education. As the principal at Kimberly Park Elementary, Baker made a name for herself as a passionate educator who was willing to go above and beyond to ensure her students had what they needed to succeed. Now Baker is looking to take that same passion and energy to the N.C. General Assembly.
Baker defeated Republican challenger John Dough with 71% of the vote for the vacant seat left by Rep. Derwin Montgomery, co-owner of The Chronicle. Baker said the afternoon of Election Day, she fell asleep before the race was called, but when she woke up and saw the dozens of text messages and other notifications, she knew she had won.
Heading into Election Day, she was the heavy favorite to win the Democratic leaning 72nd District. But Baker, who is a native of Louisville, KY and a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, said she campaigned as if she was the underdog.
“Everybody kept wanting to reassure me that I didn’t have to do a lot, but one of the things I learned right out of high school as a political science major is that you have to look at everything from all angles,” Baker said. “So when I drilled down … Yes it’s not a lot of registered Republicans, but you have a huge contingency of Independent voters … and then you had your Republicans who were energized, so the race could’ve been lost. So I ran the race as if I was the underdog; I didn’t take anything for granted.”
In Raleigh, Baker says some of her main objectives will be making much needed improvements to the education system, raising the minimum wage, and creating more programs to help individuals and families living below the poverty threshold. She also mentioned the need to expand Medicaid.
“In order to build any kind of strong economy or community, you have to have that trifecta,” she said. “You have to have a good educational system, you have to have a good workforce development plan, and you have to be able to provide a variety of housing that people have access to.”
When asked how she plans to leave her mark on District 72, Baker said, “It will organically establish itself as I make myself available to the constituents in the district.” She said she is already known throughout the community as someone who champions the right causes and now is her time to build on that and increase transparency.
“My biggest stamp that I want is that I increase transparency in terms people understand what’s happening,” Baker continued. “I have aspirations of having a local office where people can come in and get some assistance. Maybe that’s too lofty, I don’t know, but I feel like we should have somewhere locally where people can come in and get information.
“Beyond policy and legislative issues, I really want our people to understand how our government works.”
Baker said she plans to spend the first few months in office getting acclimated to the process and understanding her role. She said, “… just trying to understand the micro-political piece of it all.
“But trust me, once I get a hold of it, once I figure out how it all works, you better hold on.”
To find out more about Dr. Amber Baker and her plans for District 72, visit www.vote4amberbaker.com.