One year ago the people in Cumberland County voted to have a new voice represent them in Raleigh. A voice that would stand up for public education, access to affordable health care and clean air and water, and to ensure that everyone, no matter your zip code, has the opportunity to succeed. I am honored to serve our community in this role, and I thank each of you for the opportunity and for your trust to represent you in Raleigh.
I was hopeful when the session first started back in January that Republicans and Democrats would come together, find middle ground and policy areas that we agree on, and ensure government works for everyone, not just some. Senator Phil Berger, president pro tem, talked about this in his comments during the Senate’s opening session. “But this session, hopefully, will be different,” Berger said. “Republicans will have to work across the aisle, but so will Democrats. If we are to have a successful session, we all will have to accept outcomes that don’t cater to the extremes. I know we’re capable of this, and so do you.”
While we did see some bipartisan work in the areas of criminal justice, we stalled on many issues that affect our working families and how we invest in our children’s future. Discussion and dialogue really broke down around healthcare, public education, and corporate taxes. I truly believe that the people that elected all of us want to see us work together to make things better for all North Carolinians.
This year’s session has been longer than normal because, for the first time in almost 10 years, the House and Senate leadership have not had a supermajority, and we have a governor that now has the ability to use a veto. This forces the leadership to have conversation and negotiate. This community’s vote for me in the Senate seat allowed these conversations to happen because we were one of six seats across the state that helped break the supermajority in the Senate.
We still have work to do. We must have a real conversation around how our state will transform our health care, invest in public education, grow our workforce, protect our environment, and ensure our economic opportunities are equitable. Good government will happen when we can have real dialogue and talk about these issues and allow everyone’s opinion to be part of the process. This is how democracy should work. I remain optimistic that we can get there but not under the current leadership in the senate or with “recycled” politicians who will be “yes” men. If we want to change the conversation and change the policies that affect our families then we have to change the leadership in the Senate.
We saw this week in Virginia where the state House and Senate changed from Republican majority to Democratic majority. We saw in Kentucky where voters chose a new direction for their state. We saw it locally with races in Fayetteville, Spring Lake and Hope Mills that people want representatives that will put the people first. Last year, in District 19, voters made the same decision and rejected corruptions and the bad policies that hurt working families. I have worked hard this year to ensure I stood up for people and against policies that don’t put people first. My voting record shows that commitment. As the 2020 election cycle officially kicks off, locally, we have the opportunity to truly debate our ideas about creating access to affordable healthcare, investing in public education, protecting our environment, and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to succeed and access to opportunities.
Senator Dan Blue, Senate Minority Leader, joined me here in Cumberland County in May of this year to support me as I announced my plans to run again for Senate District 19. I am committed to changing the conversation in our state Senate and committed to representing the people of our community. I will continue to fight for the things that are important to the people of Cumberland County.
Thank you again for the honor of serving our community — and you — in Raleigh. I do not take this lightly and will continue to work to represent you and put people over politics.
We still have work to do. We must have a real conversation around how our state will transform our healthcare, invest in public education, grow our workforce, protect our environment, and ensure our economy opportunities are equitable. Good government will happen when we can have real dialogue and talk about this issues and allow everyone’s opinion to be part of the process.