I No Longer Stand Alone: NC Has TWO Openly-Trans Candidates For State Senate

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First…it was me.  I stood alone.  In 2018, I became the first openly-trans person in state history to publicly announce a candidacy for the State Legislature.  I originally filed my campaign committee in April, 2017.  I had intended to run for NC House in 2018.  However, a court-ordered redraw of the State legislative districts moved me from the District I had planned to run in.  In fact, I got moved from two Republican Districts into two Democratic Districts…and not just any Democratic Districts…but the Districts, respectively, of the House Minority Leader, Darren Jackson (HD-39) and the Senate Majority Leader, Dan Blue, Jr. (SD-14.)

Thus was my 2018 candidacy torpedoed.  In a year when we were trying to break the GOP Supermajority (which we happily succeeded in doing) — I had no interest in Primarying an incumbent Democrat.  Normally, I would not have a problem, if I felt I could do better, and I assure you, Party loyalty aside, I have little love for either of these two men.  Largely because of their actions and lack of actions concerning transgender rights in North Carolina.  And my feelings in this matter, concerning these two men, are no big secret.

Of course, Rep. David Lewis of Harnett County, when asked by a reporter, denied that I had been deliberately targeted…that non-incumbent candidates had not been taken into account in the map redraw in 2017 — to which my response was that they should ask Matt Calabria what he thought about that (they literally drew right around his house.)  In my case, I live in a mobile home community — there is only one road in.  So they could not as precisely cut me as they had Matt, but they did use the very first available streets both east and north of my community for the new lines.

I dropped out of my race, because I felt it was counterproductive to the efforts underway to break the Supermajority.  And I had a vested interest in making that happen.  Because of HB-142.  The so-called repeal of HB-2, which placed a Moratorium on local governments from passing civil rights legislation beyond the level of the State.  That Moratorium is set to expire in Dec. 1, 2020…meaning those elected in 2018…will be sitting in the Legislature still when that date arrives.  I fully expect the NC-GOP to try, and succeed, in passing separate legislation to extend that Moratorium.  And I fully expect Governor Cooper to veto that.  With a Supermajority, the NC-GOP could and would have closed ranks, and we transgender would never have rights in North Carolina.  That is what was at stake.  Of course, in September, we saw what the NC-GOP will resort to trying to over-ride a Gubernatorial veto when they do not have that Supermajority!  In either case, I backed out of my intended candidacy in the interest of serving the greater interest of my community.

Fast forward to 2019.  Another court-ordered redraw of Districts left me in my existing House District, but moved me BACK to my old Senate District.  Of course, I was going to run regardless, as the concerns that existed in 2018 were no longer a factor, and, as I stated, Party loyalty aside, I have little love for Dan Blue Jr.  I was prepared to run against him if it came to that — I even had “RESET BUTTONS” ready to roll out (you need to understand the history of that…I will trans-splain below)

So…when the so-called repeal of HB-2 — HB-142 was passed, Senator Blue spent SEVEN MINUTES pontificating on the floor of the NC Senate (and I know because I put a stopwatch to him from the Gallery) about how this would be “a reset button that would enable an open and honest conversation about the rights of transgender citizens of North Carolina.”  And Senator Blue has not given us seven SECONDS since that day.  We trans have waited nearly three years for the promised conversation that has never even started.  Hence my willingness to run against him, and hence the RESET BUTTONS I was ready to roll out with my campaign.

Fate had different plans, and I was moved back to Senate District 18, where I had been originally…but the District was reconfigured in a way that gives the edge to the Democrats…so the incumbent Republican in that seat, John Alexander, is not running.

And so I assumed I would be the first and only openly-trans person to run.  And I was the first to file, filing on the very first day, Dec. 2.  And I stood alone.  Articles were written about me, notably in the Wake Weekly.  And then came the last day of filing.  And Gray Ellis, a trans man and attorney from Durham…filed for Senate District 20, a seat being vacated by one of my favorite Senators, Floyd B. McKissick, Jr. so that he could take a seat on the Utilities Commission.  Had this not happened, I am pretty sure he would have had no Primary challenger.  (Author Note:  Floyd was one of six Democrats that had the guts to stand with us trans and vote NO on the so-called repeal, because of the lengthy Moratorium)  As it is, there are three Democrats in Gray’s Primary, including Gray himself.

I also have a Primary challenger — one who ran for this seat in 2014 and lost…when it was configured more in a way that favored the Republicans.  So now it is on like Donkey Kong!!  North Carolina has TWO openly-trans candidates for state Senate.

Gray, like myself, appears to be following the Danica Roem model, do not run from the trans issue, but focus on issues outside of the LGBTQ.  He and I both have staked out positions on healthcare affordability and accessibility.  I have additional planks in my campaign platform, focusing on educational parity and funding, expansion of rural broadband, ending gerrymandering and other social and economic justice issues.  In addition, I am having to take a page from AOC’s playbook.  I have to be everywhere.  Because my Primary opponent is the wife of a registered lobbyist, and thus has a source of funds that I will never tap into.  I cannot outraise or outspend her, and I don’t mean to try…I am going to out-people her.

That being said, I would appreciate the support of the PlanetPOV community in my campaign, because you cannot run a campaign without money, unfortunately.  My ActBlue is here.

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MAKE IT WORK!  This is my campaign slogan, and it is more than just a slogan.  As an out transgender woman for the last 26 years in an often-hostile society…I have had to learn how to take things that do not work…and make them work anyway.  Right now, for many of our citizens, the State Legislature does not work.  I mean to change that.

There are many voices right now in North Carolina that are not being heard.  The transgender is but one of those voices. I am running because I hear ALL of those voices, and I want to make sure our government does, too.  I want to make sure their voices are heard, their challenges addressed, and that our elected officials are truly accountable to the people.  My fellow citizens deserve no less than a government that is transparent, accountable and responsive to ALL of its citizens.

My recent public positions:
I am calling out the fearmongers who demonize undocumented immigrants, pointing out, accurately, that they are far more likely to be the victims of exploitation and violence than they are to be the perpetrators of it.

I am calling for Gov. Cooper’s intervention in the case of Lanisha Bratcher.  She faces being sent back to prison because she voted in 2016…and did not know she had lost the right to vote.  Nobody told her.  She was apparently still on the voter rolls, and was allowed to cast a ballot.  So there are screwups on all sides here…if she was to lose her right to vote, she should have been so informed…her name should have been removed from voter rolls and she should have been prevented from casting a ballot.  None of those things happened.  So, as a society, we punish only the black woman.

I see NO compelling state interest in destroying, once again, the life of this woman…after she has so painfully rebuilt her life after her release from prison.  This could have been prevented, with the passage of HB-819 in the last session.  I am now on public record supporting the passage of such legislation, which would require the state to prove INTENT to defraud, before they could convict.

As it stands now, voting while serving a criminal sentence in North Carolina is considered a “strict liability” felony, meaning prosecutors can convict people like Bratcher without proving they intended to vote illegally.  HB-819 would change that, requiring that intent be proven.  I am on public record supporting this….and in calling on Governor Cooper to intervene.

I stand for the vulnerable, the oppressed, the voices that have not been being heard.  I stand for those victimized by our society, often through legal means.  I stand for those whose voices have not been being heard…and whose challenges remain unaddressed.

I am not, at this time, aware of Mr. Ellis’ stance on any of these issues.  I am guessing he would take the same stance I am taking.

But I cannot do this alone…I need your help!  I need financial support, and more than that, I need PEOPLE POWER!!  I need volunteers…phone bankers and door knockers.  Please visit my campaign website where you will find links on how you can help.  Together, we can make North Carolina a better place for everyone!

You may also follow me on Twitter at @AngelaForNCSD18 — and you may also Like my Campaign Facebook Page.

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