top of page

Rep. Wesley Harris Speech at 2024 FDR Dinner 

State Representative Wesley Harris, candidate for State Treasurer, gave the keynote speech at the Ashe County Democratic Party’s annual FDR Dinner in Jefferson on Saturday, May 18, 2024.  Sixty-nine people attended the event and gave Mr. Harris several standing ovations. Rep. Harris spoke about his vision for the future and his plans for serving vital needs in communities across the Tarheel State.


He believes that North Carolina must invest more in its citizens to unlock “the potential in all of us.” A student of history with a PhD in economics, lessons from America’s past loom large with him. In the depths of the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said: “These unhappy times call for the building of plans…that build from the bottom up and not from the top down, that put their faith once more in the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid.” On this, Rep. Harris strongly agreed saying, “President Roosevelt was spot on. We’ve got to have those who have been left behind believe that democracy has their back.”


He acknowledged that economic anxiety can lead to the loss of hope and impact the health of a democracy: “We’re living through a period where people think the rules are rigged against them.” Prospering cities should not come at the expense of rural communities being left behind, he said. “No, no, no—this is not where democracy ends,” he stated to a round of applause.


He explained that now is the time for the State to make a new investment in all of its people, stating, “We’re going to fight for our neighbors. We’re going to fight for our communities.”

As State Treasurer, Rep. Harris said he will make sound investments that keep North Carolina on strong financial ground. For example, instead of diverting part of the state’s current billion-dollar surplus to private school vouchers, he advocates using the funds for public school teacher salaries and construction projects while reducing costs to taxpayers. 


A North Carolina native who grew up in Taylorsville, he discussed his upbringing. “Democratic leadership transformed the state after World War II. That’s the North Carolina I grew up in.” Asked about how the problems facing the state now compare to those troubled times, his answer was crisp: “We can fix it.”


The son of a public-school teacher and a local banker, Rep. Harris earned a bachelor’s degree from Chapel Hill and a PhD from Clemson University in economics.  He is in his third term as NC House Representative for the 105th District, serving on committees for finance, agriculture, transportation and judiciary. In the General Assembly, he is primary sponsor for bills supporting renewable energy, working families, public safety and other issues.


Rep. Harris is a strong believer in giving people hope. “We need to show the communities we believe in them. Need to show there’s hope if we show people what we believe in. If we lose hope, our communities are at risk. FDR invested in America and brought our family lights. This is our moment in history.”

bottom of page