In this season of Thanksgiving and Hope, we have much to be thankful for and even though at times things seem bleak, there are many reasons to have hope for our future in North Carolina and in our Country.
It is true that we certainly had many disappointments and setbacks in 2017, but as Democrats and fighters for justice and equality, let’s not waste energy re-visiting the setbacks, but rather focus on our victories and our opportunities in 2018 and beyond.
In North Carolina in 2017, Roy Cooper was sworn in as our Governor, Josh Stein as our Attorney General, Judge Mike Morgan our NC Supreme Court Justice, Elaine Marshall continued as our Secretary of State and Beth Woods as our NC Auditor. We gained Democratic seats in the House and Senate, although not enough to sustain Governor Cooper’s veto. Governor Cooper appointed two open Lesbians to the General Assembly, who were elected at their District levels, Representative Deb Butler (District 18 – Brunswick, New Hanover) and Marcia Morey (District 30 – Durham) and he issued an Executive Order barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
In the November 2017 elections, we celebrated Democratic Victories across our state, including the election of a record breaking number of openly LGBTQ Democratic candidates (LaWana Mayfield, Charlotte City Council District 3, Robert Kellogg, Gastonia City Council Ward 1, Jane Campbell, Davidson County City Council, Michelle Kennedy, Greensboro City Council At-Large, Karen Stegman, Chapel Hill Town Council, Tamara Sheffield, Salisbury City Council, Jerry Windle Morrisville City Council District 2 and Lydia Lavelle, re-elected as Mayor of Carrboro) and Allies in municipal races, including Vi Lyles, the first African American Woman to be elected as the Mayor of Charlotte.
Outside of NC, there were significant Democratic victories in the November 2017 elections, including a Democratic sweep in Virginia, where Danica Roem was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates District 13 as the first openly Transgender person ever elected to a state legislature. Many see the Democratic victories in November as a signal that Democrats can win in 2018.
Here in NC, the 2018 elections will be critical! We have a great opportunity to win back enough seats in the state legislature to end the GOP Super Majority and sustain Governor Cooper’s veto. The Judicial races will perhaps be even more critical. As we know all too well, it’s the Judicial Branch of government that rules on whether legislation is Constitutionally sound. We have personally seen the impact that fair and impartial Judges can have when the courts struck down Amendment 1, which paved the way for the US Supreme Court to rule in favor of Marriage Equality, HB2, Gerrymandering District lines, etc.
Judicial races in the past were non-Partisan, as they should be, however the GOP is doing everything the can to stack the deck in their favor. Judges will now have to run in Partisan races from the District-Court level to the state Supreme Court, but with NO Primaries. They are hoping they can direct the GOP voter to focus in on their chosen candidate(s), while the rest of the votes are split between the many Democratic Candidates who may be running. We cannot allow that to happen!
There is scheduled to be one (1) Supreme Court and three (3) NC Court of Appeals races on the ballot in 2018. These are the only statewide races. One of the NC Court of Appeals races will involve the seat currently held by Judge John Arrowood, the only openly LGBTQ Judicial statewide office holder and one of the founding members of the LGBTQ Democrats of North Carolina. We need to do all that we can to make sure Judge Arrowood is elected, as well as other Democratic Judges who’ll be on the ballot.
LGBTQ and Ally citizens simply cannot afford to sit on the sidelines any longer, we must become actively involved in identifying and electing Democratic Party candidates to office at the Local, State and National levels. It is the Democratic Party who has the backs of LGBTQ citizens with a Platform that strongly supports fairness, justice, equal opportunity and full equality for ALL.
As an Auxiliary of the NC Democratic Party, the LGBTQ Democrats of North Carolina worked hard in 2017 and are gearing up to do our part in 2018. Sincere thanks to the LGBTQ membership for your hard work in 2017!
It’s an exciting time for the LGBTQ Democrats of NC! We have the most diverse President’s Council that we’ve ever had in our history, our membership is growing, new Chapters being organized and we will be doing great work and planning some exciting things for 2018. We hope you’ll consider joining us as a member, organizing a Chapter in your area if there’s not currently a Chapter, serving in a District or Committee position or running for office!
Enjoy your holidays with friends and family, get some rest and let’s go to work together in 2018 to elect Democrats!