Why I’m Running

Every day we’re hearing about more things coming out of the Trump administration that in the past were unthinkable. This is our reality now. Instead of worrying about whether our kids will eventually get into a good college or find a good job we’re worried about whether we’re going to enter into a new world war. We’re worried about our neighbors and our friends, those who don’t look like us or carry the privileges we have. We’re seeing this administration target minority groups in ways that make us less safe and less free as citizens and as a nation. This is not the America I know.

I have met many people across party and demographic lines from the district in the short time I’ve been campaigning. I’ve met people who care about many diverse issues. Coal ash and affordable college. Gun control and gerrymandering. Free press and free speech. Healthcare and higher wages. Voter suppression and taking care of our veterans. We may disagree on how we address these issues, but one thing unites us; we all care. We care about the future of our families, our district, and our country.

I want to defeat Patrick McHenry. But that will require resources. We need your help. We need volunteers and we need contributions. I want the backbone of my campaign to be the individual citizens who are compelled to support the change they desire. But a blanket stand against corporate money is not representative of our district. Corporations are not just the mega-corporations who refuse to provide living wages and work to destroy our labor unions, stifling our middle class. Corporations include small businesses. They’re not the 1%. They’re hard-working Americans who have built something that contributes to the communities where they do business.

I’m not an establishment politician. I don’t come from money nor do I have big donors backing my campaign. The way I talk about making corporations pay their fair share of taxes is not going to win me big corporate dollars. But if I made a pledge of no corporate dollars, I’d be a liar if I later took money from a small business in our district who agreed with our progressive message that includes putting the needs of small businesses above massive subsidies to big corporations.

I support public funding for elections.  I believe in forcing our representatives to compete on an even playing field so that if they fail to serve the people they represent, a challenger has a fair opportunity to defeat them.  Big money should not be able to have a finger on the scales of electoral justice. I believe in overturning Citizens United. I hope, in office, I can be a leader in making those changes happen. But that is not the system that we have today and we’re in a David versus Goliath fight for the soul of our country.

I have been taking the time to get to know the people of our district- what matters most to them, what their concerns are. I have supported those candidates in municipal elections that offer an agenda of progress. When I get the opportunity to meet with citizens, I spend more time taking questions and listening than I do talking. I passionately want to represent all of the people in the district.

Right now we have a representative who does not represent the interests of the people of the district. He says that he’s “proud” to further Trump’s dangerous domestic and foreign policy agenda. He voted against quality healthcare, against protections for our environment, and against common sense gun control. He does this because he’s been paid to represent the interests of his donors whose interests directly conflict with the interests of his constituents. He doesn’t care.

I promise to remain a true representative of the people of this district. I promise to only accept funding from persons and groups that do not conflict with the best interests of this district. I promise to fight every day for a progressive agenda that will lift up our district and not line the pockets of the most affluent in this country. I hope you will support me and join in this fight. And I look forward to continuing to get to know you and listening to your concerns. We can only win if we unite behind our common goals. Apathy and passivity can no longer be what defines us. If we truly care about moving forward and prospering as a country and a district we must fight, we must resist. We are in this together. We must fight and win for District 10 and for our future as a nation. Together, we can take back our district and our future.

I’m Proud to be a Democrat

You would think that after what we’ve been through over the past few years and especially after the 2016 election, people would finally get past the false narrative that there’s no difference between the two major political parties.

I have a unique perspective on this. I served a Republican Congresswoman in the House of Representatives even though I am lifelong Democrat.

Sue Myrick was by many accounts a fair and reasonable Mayor of Charlotte. She was the first female mayor of Charlotte, elected in 1987, the year after my family moved here. In the early 90s, I was able to participate in Charlotte politics through my membership in the Youth Involvement Council. We frequently attended City Council and Mecklenburg County Commission meetings commenting and advising on matters related to youth in the community. I even spoke before each body a handful of times.

I didn’t know Mayor Myrick on a first name basis, but later, as she began her first year in office as a Freshman Representative, I was able to turn my previous interactions with her into an internship. I started with her in mid-May and worked until the first weeks of August. I was one of a few who stayed the full summer. I was only able to do the unpaid internship due to having an aunt who lived nearby in Maryland. I commuted in every day via train and walked from Union Station in the heat to her office in the Cannon House Office building.

I served the constituents of the 9th district, which at the time included a sizable portion of Gaston County. I answered phones, opened and sorted mail, gave tours of the Capitol and attended committee meetings. She served on the Budget, Science, and Small Business committees, so I attended meetings on Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, the growth of the internet and the International Space Station construction. I would collect materials, take notes, and report back. It was an incredible learning experience.

David outside of Rep. Myrick's old office in Gastonia
David outside of Rep. Myrick’s old office in Gastonia

But while I was there, I began to see what has only gotten worse since then: the villainization of the other side. This was mostly from other Republican interns and staffers, but the talk about Democrats was filled with poison.  So I kept quiet about being a Democrat, and just blended in. In the end, it turned me off from pursuing a career in politics for a long time.

In the past decades, Republican politicians have moved from being a conservative, loyal opposition to becoming intransigent, completely unwilling to either compromise or negotiate. I miss reasonable Republicans and it seems many Republicans miss being them too. In the past few weeks, several prominent Republicans stood up against partisan gerrymandering because it’s hurting their party as well. Now there is no doubt that Democrats have used gerrymandering in states they’ve controlled. But never to the degree and with the precision used by Republicans to degree that they are being challenged with being unconstitutional.

The Republican assaults on voting rights have clearly helped them. Gerrymandering dilutes Democratic votes. Voter ID laws force people, the poor and elderly especially, to get IDs which cost time and money, hindrances to voting on par with a poll tax. Voter roll purges have bumped millions of legitimate voters from the active voter rolls and several Republican-controlled state legislatures have even reduced the number of poll locations in targeted areas as well as reducing early voting hours. We must put a stop to these attacks on the core of our democracy- the ability of legal voters to access the polls. Fortunately, Democrats are fighting every day for our right to vote.

Last year’s election exposed some weaknesses and brought up some frustrations within the party for sure. But Democrats have been behind some of the most important actions in our government in the past 100 years. From FDR’s New Deal to LBJ’s Great Society. From Carter’s Camp David Accords to Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Democrats have lead the way on Civil Rights and LGBTQIA Rights. Democrats have led the fight for universal healthcare since 1945. Democrats have championed workers’ unions and consumer protections. Nothing has happened overnight, and some things took longer than they should have. But again and again, Democrats side with the American people over corporate interests. Democrats actually fight for the working class and don’t just pay lip service then turn their backs. We deserve a government that delivers on the services that our taxes pay for and consistently, it’s the Democratic party that pushes for justice and equality. I am proud to call myself a Democrat and to stand with fellow Democrats.

What Does it Mean to be a Progressive?

I am a Progressive Democrat. A progressive is a person “advocating or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas”. Liberal was once a label people would run from. Liberalism is a “political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties, considering government as a crucial instrument for amelioration of social inequities.” Basically, it’s embracing a philosophy that change can be good as we learn new information that challenges our traditional views.

Teddy Roosevelt, a Progressive Republican, said “there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us” he went on to add that “the health and vitality of our people are at least as well worth conserving as their forests, waters, lands, and minerals, and in this great work the national government must bear a most important part.” This is what we are talking about; this is the core concept that drives me and my reason for running.

Senator Elizabeth Warren tells us that “We’re supposed to build opportunity. This is about our children and our grandchildren. This is about the kind of country we want to be. This is about the kind of people we are.” How very right she is.

Where is North Carolina’s 10th Congressional District?

Asking where is North Carolina’s 10th Congressional District is a legitimate question. Due to rampant redistricting by North Carolina’s General Assembly which have been frequently deemed by the courts to be unconstitutional, the area of the district has changed frequently. In 2016, the most recent changes were applied.

distDetail_10

The district now includes all of Gaston, Lincoln, Cleveland, Rutherford, & Polk Counties as well as most of Catawba County, about a third of Buncombe County, and a small area of Iredell County.