I have been very appreciative of the many people who have encouraged me to apply for the vacant House 50 seat. Especially since many are current elected officials, local leaders, and respected friends and neighbors in the area.
When I was first urged to apply by some local officials, it took me by surprise. Even though I had spent a good deal of time this summer involved with the Moral Monday movement, expanding my knowledge of what goes on in our General Assembly, as well as committing civil disobedience on the June 3 Mega-Moral Monday, I had never considered actually signing on to enter the current snake pit as a representative.
As I considered it, the idea began to grow on me. I realized that I could be effective because of several levels of experience. I’ve spent years within governmental bodies such as OWASA (including two terms as Chair), the Orange County Economic Development Commission, the Carrboro Recreation and Parks Committee, and the Orange County Planning Board. On the other side of the podium, I’ve spent years as a citizen activist, successfully defending my community against a landfill and an airport, lobbying for waste reduction & recycling, raising the issue of fair representation for rural Orange County citizens long before actual reform occurred, promoting our local business community, calling for energy-efficient school construction years before it became accepted policy, and advocating for renewable energy and efficiency – an advocacy that I’ve incorporated into my “green” construction business of 25 years.
It is clear to me that we are at a unique moment in state politics. Whoever goes to Raleigh to represent us must not delude themselves that their primary obligation is simply to help craft and pass sensible legislation. We need someone with an activist’s sensibility that will call out the hypocrisy of the renegade Republicans who are harming our state and organize with like-minded allies to pave the way for their ouster from the Legislature. That person must also have experience working cooperatively with colleagues and constituents to create and implement sound policy when the opportunity arises. I began to realize that I fit the bill and became intrigued by the possibilities.
In the end, this notion of serving in the Legislature was overtaken by my decades of involvement in the local issues of Orange County. I’ve been committed to strengthening our local economy, our clean environment and water resources, the way we relate to our local democratic process, and the educational and public health systems that undergird our communities. I always figured that when my kids were raised and out on their own, that I would like to serve my community as a county commissioner.
And that is what I have decided. I plan to seek a seat on the Board of County Commissioners at the next opportunity. I hope the House 50 appointment process goes well and whoever is chosen takes a fighter’s spirit into the den of thieves over in Raleigh.