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Every Child Deserves an Opportunity to Reach Their Full Potential

My family knows all too well the value of a public school education. My father was one of eight siblings born into a family of very modest means. He was the first in his family to go to college thanks to a public school teacher who helped guide and mentor him. He worked his way through college and then medical school. I too am a product of public education, as are my daughters. North Carolina public schools pledge to provide every child, regardless of their ZIP code, an opportunity to reach their full potential. It will be a high priority for me in Raleigh to work toward fulfilling that mission.

North Carolina schools rank 37th in the nation, and our teachers are some of the lowest paid in the country. Our schools have been starved of the funding they need to provide every child a sound basic education. Our teachers have been demoralized by low pay, elimination of teaching assistants, and defunding of classroom supplies and curriculum resources. Our schools lack the school nurses, psychologists, and social workers that our students need. And the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated all of these deficiencies. We fund what we value, and the North Carolina General Assembly has demonstrated over the past decade that they do not value public education.

Health Care is Personal for Me

When my daughter was in ninth grade, she started fainting. That was the first sign of what was to become a four-year odyssey of doctors visits, tests, misdiagnoses, missed school, and missed work. There were also many tears of frustration and concern as my beautiful daughter cycled through illness after illness.

I was incredibly fortunate because I had a good job with excellent health insurance and schedule flexibility, which enabled me to get my child the care she needed. There were constant bills for the copays and coinsurance and deductibles, and I was lucky to be able to pay them, although often on extended payment plans. I’m grateful my daughter has a diagnosis, is receiving the care she needs, and is able to work a part-time job, but she still struggles.

Having been through these experiences with my daughter, health care is personal for me. The average cost for health care in North Carolina is $8,015 per year, making it the eighth most expensive state for health care in the United States. Health care costs were out of control before the pandemic, but the pandemic has made things worse.

Prioritizing Public Safety

My opponent, and dark money groups that are supporting her, have made false statements about my positions on public safety. Let me be clear. I do not support defunding the police. I’ve never said that and Joyce Krawiec’s trouble with the truth shows how desperate she is to win.

What I have said is that we should improve our systems of public safety to ensure we are protecting our citizens. The majority of Americans agree that we need to work together to improve law enforcement agencies. This is where my opponent and I disagree.

Krawiec’s harmful bill demonstrates lack of understanding and empathy

As a mother, I can’t imagine the anguish of having my children taken from me. As an attorney, I represented children and families in termination of parental rights and child placement hearings. The standard for termination of parental rights is high, and rightly so. As a teaching parent in a group home, I worked closely with youth who’d been removed from their homes. For most of these children, the goal was reunification.

Substance use disorder is complex and requires access to trained counselors and a variety of services. North Carolina is battling an opioid crisis. People need safe, medically assisted treatment.

Instead of addressing substance use disorders and providing funding for treatment, my opponent did something else. My opponent, Joyce Krawiec, introduced and sponsored a bill that vilifies and punishes parents and expectant parents. Her bill would potentially remove a child from their parents within a month. Her priority was a bill that could allow the permanent termination of parental rights after nine months. This bill, HB 918, disproportionately impacts women of color and women with low incomes. That’s because they’re less likely to have access to treatment and healthcare.

Joyce Krawiec doesn’t care about the harm this bill could cause North Carolinians. She said it herself on the floor of the NC Senate.

Attack Ads…This Early?

Our campaign recently learned that an independent expenditure PAC, aka dark money group, launched attack ads against me. They accused me of being a “liar” and “playing politics.” We don’t know for sure, but it’s likely this PAC is tied to Phil Berger. There’s good news about these ads though.

Words Matter, Actions Mean More

To be silent is to be complicit. I’ve sat with that sentiment for days. I know not posting on social media about George Floyd may be interpreted as silence and complicity. I also know that saying the wrong thing can be worse. I believe words matter. I see politicians post thoughts and prayers and some believe the sentiment. However, I believe actions matter more.

Adjusting to a Pandemic World

I first want to acknowledge the anxiety and uncertainty that many of us are feeling right now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic is affecting us all in many different ways. I will be driving 13 hours each way this weekend to bring my daughter home from college.

Our campaign is quickly adjusting its processes to keep our volunteers and the community safe.

Why I March

In April of 2004, I attended the March for Women’s Lives on the national mall in DC. It was my first march, my first protest. I went alone, driving to Greensboro in the middle of the night to board a bus at Temple Emanuel. I have no recollection now of how I learned about that bus trip or what really compelled me to go other than it was a protest against restrictions on access to abortion and other anti-woman policies. I don’t remember any of the women I met that day, but I remember the camaraderie developed on the six hour ride. I remember looking out over a sea of women and experiencing a thrill of excitement and swell of emotion. I remember being astonished, as a 38 year-old, by the many older women there. It was the first time I had seen an older woman holding an “I cannot believe I still have to protest this…” sign. A sentiment I have seen expressed many, many times since.

It’s official. I’m in!

I am running for NC Senate District 31. With new maps, our race is expected to be the most competitive opportunity to unseat a Republican state senator in 2020. In fact, SD-31 could be the seat that flips the NC Senate.

I am running for the NC Senate because I believe we have lost our way. In our state government, divisions are wide, compromise is missing, and moral and ethical behavior is lacking. We need to send legislators to Raleigh who truly want to work together across party lines.