I am so excited to announce that I am running again to represent you in the North Carolina Senate. I am grateful that you gave me this opportunity, and I have loved serving as your state senator. Since you’ve supported me before, I ask you to show that support again by making a donation. Your support is critically important now as I anticipate having at least one challenger in the Democratic primary.
Though it is difficult for a freshman Democrat to get anything done at the General Assembly, I am proud of my accomplishments:
- I was part of the small team of Democratic Senators who worked closely with Governor Cooper to craft bi-partisan, groundbreaking energy legislation that will usher in a new era of clean energy in North Carolina. Signed into law in October, HB 951 requires a 70% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and 100% carbon neutrality by 2050.
- I have shepherded H400 — which changes the Asheville city school board from appointments to elections — through the Senate and anticipate its passage into law.
- I sponsored SB 611, which made it easier for local governments and the state to issue stop-work orders for construction activities that are polluting waterways. Though it did not become law, similar language was included in another bill that did become law.
- Similarly, I sponsored SB 698, which also did not pass. However, one of its provisions is included in the state budget and will provide $250,000 in grant funds for local schools to purchase feminine hygiene products for their students.
- I offered a successful amendment to a bill tightening ethical requirements for local government officials.
- I helped a constituent de-annex his property from the town of Weaverville, an outcome that requires an act of the legislature.
I also introduced many bills that I knew would not move but that reflect the priorities of most District 49 voters, including:
- SB 179 that would allow the City of Asheville to create a dedicated source of funding for its transit system through a sales tax rather than continuing to use general fund dollars.
- SB 180 that would allow undocumented people to obtain drivers’ licenses.
- SB 426, 428, 436, and 437 that would have authorized local governments to adopt inclusionary zoning to increase affordable housing, green building standards, tree ordinances, and impact fees on new development.
- SB 438 that would have repealed the last vestiges of HB 2.
- SB 444 that would have amended an existing property tax exemption so it is more accessible for long-time homeowners to help reduce displacement and gentrification.
- SB 447 that would increase the minimum wage to $15/hour statewide.
- SB 451 that would ban single use plastics and other non-recyclable products in food service and ban plastic bags.
And much to my disappointment, though I worked with my Republican colleagues, we were not able to push through long-sought changes to the Buncombe County Occupancy Tax law or create a new program requested by the Asheville police chief to relieve his officers of the legal obligation to respond to traffic accidents. I was trying to copy an effective program in the City of Wilmington under which civilian crash investigators respond instead, saving police time and resources for more serious matters. I will continue to try to advance both of these next year.
I also had some good moments on the floor of the Senate, including speaking against the farm bill that will essentially lock in place the outdated and damaging lagoon and sprayfield system used at massive hog farms in eastern North Carolina. I also offered a strong defense of former NC Dept. of Environmental Quality Secretary Dionne Delli-Gotti on the day her nomination was voted down by Senate Republicans, and I spoke in favor of the energy bill the day it passed.
I was elected treasurer of the bi-partisan, bi-cameral Women’s Caucus, and I am part of the WNC legislative caucus. I will seek to make both groups more effective from a policy perspective in the future.
I have also met with countless groups and individuals, responded to thousands of emails, and helped dozens and dozens of people navigate their way through the maze of state government to solve problems, answer complaints, and get answers. My office has helped over 500 people with unemployment and housing assistance this year alone. Helping you, my constituents, is perhaps the most meaningful part of my job.
I have also done the hard work of building relationships with Republicans and starting to work on bills with them, as that is really the only way to get something done. Fortunately, there are several Republicans whose interests overlap with mine and who are joining me in these efforts.
So, I’m just getting started, and I’m not ready to stop. But here’s the deal – it appears that I will have at least one challenger in the Democratic primary, so I need your help and support starting now. I will file for office in December, and the primary is in March, so it’s a really short campaign. Please make a donation now so I’ll have the resources I need to ensure I am as successful in the 2022 primary as I was last year.
Thank you all for your support. I wouldn’t be here without you, and I can’t stay here without you. Please help keep me in Raleigh, working for you!
PS: If you want to join the campaign as a volunteer, please check out my volunteer form and indicate how you would like to help!