Readers may well be temporarily tired of the Lt Governor’s race, and I long ago grew tired of talking about myself. But based on a comment or two, I do want to make a point about my experience, and my years of work for progressive causes and candidates.
I would love for this election to hinge on the public sector track records of the candidates. If elected Lt. Governor, I will bring substantial executive branch experience to the job.
I’m happy to return for an extended discussion of my record and my opponents' but, for now, here are a few highlights of my experience and progressive track record as a top official in the Attorney General’s office and as the Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel, as well as in the private sector:
• Successfully challenging a state agency's decision to award the entire state government office supplies contract to a higher-priced bidder with financial ties to the agency's consultant.
• Assisting with the judicial selection process that resulted in the appointment by Gov. Easley of, among others, G.K. Butterfield and Wanda Bryant to the appellate courts and the appointment of North Carolina's first Hispanic Superior Court judge, Albert Diaz.
• Aiding negotiations between bus drivers at the Charlotte Area Transit System and a private management company to keep the city’s transit system operating.
• Working for the NAACP at the Baltimore headquarters as part of the organization's successful effort to solidify its finances and install new leadership in the mid 1990s.
• Serving as Recording-Secretary of the NC Business Laws and the Economy Commission and as a Member of the NC Governor's Advisory Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs.
I have a track record of teaming with other state employees to make government operate fairly, effectively, and cost-efficiently. At the same time, I have stood up and challenged state agencies when citizens have not been served well.
I am proud that I was part of successful efforts to protect the Appalachian Trail in the mountains and public beach access on our coast.
As the Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel, I aided with the appointment of judges and am glad that those named were of the highest quality while also reflecting our state’s wonderful diversity.
I’m also proud that I fought a state agency ready to waste taxpayer money by overpaying for office supplies. Indeed, the commonsense plan I put forward would save millions – millions -- of taxpayer dollars.
As a top official in the Governor’s Office and the Attorney General’s office, I’ve seen firsthand the crises that can confront state leaders.
On 9/11, and in the days and months that followed, I joined Governor Easley and other officials as the issue of how best to protect our state’s people and assets was addressed.
I have been part of the state’s response to summer hurricanes and winter storms, persistent drought and possible pandemics.
I’ve helped major employers keep factory doors open so that thousands of workers could stay on the job, and I aided negotiations that averted a major mass transit strike.
And no one has to take my word for it. Public health advocates such as Deborah Bryan and Randolph Cloud could talk about my assistance on major anti-teen smoking initiatives in the mid-1990s. Current and former members of the Attorney General’s office can talk about my work cracking down on industrial and agricultural polluters, and upholding critical campaign finance laws. I worked with Adam Searing and others to ensure that a conversion of Blue Cross/Blue Shield to for-profit status would include a well-funded charitable foundation. I worked with Chris Chafe of UNITE and other labor leaders to help keep thousands of textile employees in Kannapolis on the job for years longer than originally thought possible. Ask Deputy state School Superintendent (and former Governor’s Education advisor) JB Buxton about my work on pivotal public education matters or Dr. Nolo Martinez about my help with Hispanic/Latino issues. Ask (now Judge) Wanda Bryant about my work with her on issues involving civil rights, child safety, and seniors. And this list is just a start.
Politically, I’ve been working for progressive Democratic candidates and causes for more than two decades. You can ask Larry Kissell about the support my family and I have given him. I’ve helped Anthony Foxx in Charlotte, judges such as Robin Hudson and Al Diaz, mayors such as Bill Bell, Kevin Foy, and mayor-elect Yvonne Johnson. I volunteered at the Baltimore headquarters of the NAACP when the organization most needed help, and have provided free services to various legal aid and public interest groups over the years. Again, the list goes on.
I know experience matters, and I know I have the experience needed to be an effective, progressive Lt. Governor. But campaigns should be just as much about the future as they are about the past. (Plus, as I said at the outset, talking about yourself gets very old very quickly.) That’s why I’ve spent so much time talking about present and future challenges. You’ll see extended policy-focused videos and position papers on my website at www.HD08.com.
Take a look, and please consider encouraging others to do so as well.