In District 40, former council member Majeed challenges incumbent Waddell

The incumbent

Joyce Waddell, 71, is a former teacher and school administrator who was elected to the state senate while serving her second term on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board.

The challenger

Nasif Majeed, 70, a Vietnam veteran and former pilot, served on the Charlotte City Council from 1991 to 1999.

Where the candidates stand

Both said they consider education a top issue for their district’s 118,010 registered voters. Waddell said schools should provide more vocational training so students who aren’t college-bound are prepared and certified to enter the workforce with a job-specific skill when they graduate from high school.

She said she also thinks more should be done to attract new jobs to the area, and encourages the use of grants and incentives for that purpose. Small businesses are now fueling America’s economy, she said, “so we’ve got to enhance small businesses and entrepreneurship in the area.”

She said she’s proud of what she’s accomplished so far as a state senator, including co-sponsoring more than 70 bills. A bill to increase pay for experienced teachers “passed on the first reading,” which she said is unusual for new senators. She also sponsored a bill that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $8.80. Both bills have been referred to committees.

Majeed said increasing teacher pay and the state’s minimum wage are also priorities for him. He’d like the minimum wage to be increased to at least $12 an hour, he said.

Raising teacher’s pay is critical because “we are losing educators to Virginia, Texas and South Carolina,” he said. “We want to recruit industry and corporations to our state, but if we don’t have an adequately trained workforce, that’s mighty short-sighted.”

Two other issues Majeed said are high on his list are “equal pay for equal work” and providing “affordable child care for working people.”

The winner of the race will face Marguerite Cooke – who is running unopposed in the Republican primary – in November’s election.

In District 40, 65 percent of registered voters are Democrats and 61 percent are African-American.

Joyce Waddell

Age: 71

Hometown: Marion County, S.C.

Education: Bachelor’s degree from South Carolina State University; master’s in English, N.C. A& T University; master’s in reading diagnostics, Appalachian State University; master’s in early childhood education, UNC Charlotte; doctorate in child development and family studies, UNC Greensboro

Professional experience: Licensed real estate broker since 1974; retired school administrator

Political resume: Member of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education, 2009-2014; elected to N.C. Senate in 2014

Family: Two grown adopted children; widow of the late Dr. E. E. Waddell, for whom E. E. Waddell Language Academy is named

Website: www.senatorjoycewaddell.com

Nasif Majeed

Age: 70

Hometown: Raleigh

Education: bachelor’s in business administration and master’s in agricultural education from N.C. A&T University

Professional experience: Managing partner, Metro-Meck Land Development Co.;

Political resume: Served on the Charlotte City Council, 1991-1999; current member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission

Family: Five children

Website: www.majeedforncsenate.com