As a busy, but aware and concerned mom living in NC, I have my heart in many good and continued awareness initiatives this year.
2014 being one of the most important mid term elections since 2010 where we have the ability to make it a turning point to come together with common ground, because in one way or another all policy being passed effects all families. It was not too long ago where I was a voting Republican by virtue of being raised in an active, but moderate GOP public school household.
Being laid off with forty others from a Goldman Sach's funded energy tech startup the day before the 2008 Presidential Election kicked off an eye opening that has snowballed ever since and I started voting accordingly. The first year my kids were in preschool in the fall of 2012, I was canvassing as a Republican for our President to win a second time, and I rocked that "Republicans for Obama" t-shirt hard while having real conversations with Apex, NC voters. It was not until the beginning of 2013 when I took the leap and changed parties to become a democrat in order to help organize against the blatant partisanship and extreme right wing obstructionism happening nationwide, but particularly in my own district of NC2.
Over the years in learning more about my neighbors and friends and where we fall on important policy issues, even if you don't want to discuss them with me, I knew it was worth a shot in having at least 20 open minded Republican & Unaffiliated friends join us for a meet & greet with Clay for North Carolina www.clayaiken.com running against the infamous Rep. Renee Ellmers & Lisa Baker for NC 36 www.lisabaker4house.com, running against Rep. Nelson Dollar. We discussed the topics of jobs/economy, public schools and education overall, partisanship & how everything is not so "red & blue", constituents concerns from pediatric cancer research to gun reform and even marriage equality among those Unaffiliated's joining us, all sharing their direct concerns and personal experiences.
Clay & Lisa listened to each of them and provided their own perspectives and ideas for moving us forward. Clay talked about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as a President Ronald Reagan initiative and all of sudden in recent years has it come under fire and as many of us know, scrapped in our state by way of our right wing NCGA majority. Clay talked about how important it is for middle class families who earn to support their families being one of the best initiatives for us/them to get a step up in an economy still looking to gain ground, in a state where the policy being passed is not making it easy. Lisa talked about how important public schools have been to her family and her sons, and blatant cuts across the board with initiatives to privatize in the background. We talked about the negative and unnecessary steps to fast track the approval of fracking and the right to have access to clean water, which is a non partisan issue and effects all NC families.
There is an optimistic hope in me that many friends will take time to meet or learn more about these candidates and really start thinking about the best person running to serve you, and your family & friends. To be heard and listened to, and to also take part in conversations where "politics" really isn't so bad when you get down to the issues at heart and how we need to come together on them. I do hope that a few others in NC2, NC36 and all of our districts in NC will think about quickly organizing similar gatherings with those R&U's friends you know you have and the Democratic candidates you know who would like to be brought into the fold with some grown up discussion and fellowship on being a good, informed citizen. Obviously include your democratic friends and get them involved in these campaigns in upcoming weeks, but also spend some time having quick conversations with "apolitical/checked out/R or U friends & neighbors. Offer to provide some good snacks and insight to friends you have more in common with than you may think!
Email Cornelia@clayaiken.com or April@lisabaker4house.com to directly help the above candidates with this idea or a similar one on how to volunteer with these campaigns. You will be doing an easy & good action that will help make a difference in 2014 when we really do need it! Pictures from the meet & greet this week can be found on @ForwardAmerican on twitter, as well as much more in regards to what is happening in NC.