Finding Common Ground

I am running to support North Carolina families. In these times that often feel divisive, I want us to consider the issues that we all care about: educating our youth, ensuring access for all to quality healthcare and having a skilled workforce. Last year, I recorded a StoryCorps interview with my father-in-law, Jim White, about what we want for the future. He and I come from different political party affiliations but we’ve always respected each other’s perspectives. We had an unexpected opportunity for our interview to not only be developed into an animation but to talk about why we will always put family over politics on Good Morning America on Sept 27.

I believe that we can get back to caring for one another. It will be a long and hard road but it starts with truly listening to someone else’s point of view and finding a way to move toward a solution. We can do this. Together.

The StoryCorps interview:

 

Our appearance on Good Morning America:

 

 

 

Cheraton has been endorsed by the NC League of Conservation Voters!

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Photos were taken at Lake Thom-A-Lex Park in Davidson County

I am proud to be endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters (NC LCV) in their mission of being “dedicated to protecting the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the health of all of our communities”.

As a trained scientist and educator, I believe in climate change and the importance of environmental justice. While serving in public office, I will be committed to enacting policies and legislation that protects the quality of our air, water and land. Everyone in North Carolina deserves to be healthy and live in a clean environment. Unfortunately, there are residents in areas across our state who are suffering because of pollution. We need to bring awareness to these issues and find timely solutions in helping to improve the livelihood of our neighbors. We can do more to make sure that we can all live, work and play in the clean and beautiful state of North Carolina.

For more on the work of NC LCLV in advocating for the environment and electing environment champions, see their website: nclcv.org.

 

 

 

Freedom for all

Every day, my heart breaks as we hear about immigrant families being separated when they enter the U.S. to seek asylum. The fate of these families—how and when parents will be reunited with their children and if the adults will face criminal prosecution or deportation— is still unclear.

I wanted to do something to help so yesterday I attended a meeting led by the FaithAction International House called “What You Can Do to Help Families at the Border and in the Triad”. During the meeting, the staff provided statistics of immigration in the U.S. and North Carolina and, most importantly, shared stories from those who have been negatively impacted by these inhumane policies.

When undocumented individuals are apprehended by ICE in North Carolina, they are sent eight hours away to the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA. VICE news published an article about Stewart (or “the Black Hole of America’s  Immigration System” as they coined this detention center) in 2016.

To share one important fact about Stewart here, I’ll quote the article:

“In 2012, it provided 20 percent of the county’s revenue, money generated from the roughly 1,700 beds that are filled with men waiting to find out whether they’ll be deported from the United States. Chances are, they will be.”

FaithAction International House staff and volunteers recently visited detainees in Stewart. I wanted to share this story:

In another first-hand narrative from a family member who has visited her father in a detention center, she shared that detainees are not always given timely medical attention. She described detainees having to stretch their medication to relieve some symptoms because they did not have enough to treat their needs. Can you imagine these conditions? Can you think of this happening to you or your loved ones?

Migrating to the U.S. is not a crime. These families are seeking asylum to flee poverty and violence in their home countries. Every day that immigrants are held in detention centers, companies affiliated with private equity, banking, internet, phone, medical and food services, transportation and construction make a profit from their captivity. 

I know you’re asking yourself “what can I do to help?”

 

FA letter
It’s also important to know that we can do more to help immigrants at the state level. There are currently laws in place that continue to criminalize those who want to have a better life in our state. As a legislator, I want to ensure that North Carolina is a welcoming place that embraces opportunities for all, including immigrants. I support legislation that would provide ways for immigrant families to have access to in-state college tuition and a valid North Carolina driver’s license. I believe in a North Carolina that is the best state in the country for all who live here.

It is crucial for us to speak out and ask our federal representatives to address immigration policy with the solution of a fair and humane pathway to citizenship in the U.S.  Let’s continue to share the stories of those who have endured so much to get here. Their voices need to be heard. 

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”

—Abraham Lincoln.

 

From campaign kickoff to action!

I am running for our families and communities. I want to do my part in ensuring that the General Assembly is looking out for the best interests of all who live in North Carolina. This campaign is focused on finding opportunities for us to thrive, particularly in public education, healthcare and workforce development.

Can you help us?

Please spread the word of this campaign to five of your friends and family.

Host a meet and greet in your community—we’d love to come!

Write postcards to voters to voice your support of our campaign.

Soon, we will be reaching voters through phone banking and canvassing and we’d love for you to join us.

Also, we need financial support to spread awareness of these issues across two counties. You can donate via our secure website.

We want to offer our gratitude to Josh Cockman for providing the great music, Joyce Shields for the beautiful photography and Mikey’s Catering for the delicious food. Everyone truly made our evening so special. Now we are ready to get the message of this campaign out across the district and motivate many to vote on Nov. 6th!

My thoughts on putting public education first

We must reverse course on the current state of education in NC. Our families, schools and educators deserve better.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.wfdd.org/story/morning-news-briefs-friday-may-4th-2018

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2018/05/01/could-north-carolinas-teachers-be-next-to-strike-heres-the-mess-theyre-in/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.9997a8ccdf21

https://files.nc.gov/ncosbm/documents/files/2017-19_BudgetPresentation.pdf

 

Unions of Working People Back Cheraton Love for NC Senate in the November 2018 General Election

April 3, 2018—For Immediate Release

Thomasville, NC— After reviewing completed questionnaires and interviewing candidates, members of the Triad Central Labor Council (CLC), a federation of North Carolina AFL-CIO-area local unions, have voted to endorse Cheraton Love for NC Senate in the November 2018 General Election. Cheraton is running unopposed as the only Democratic candidate and will not face a primary on May 8.

“We look forward to working with Cheraton on making our community a better place to live,” said Triad CLC President John L. Crawford. Cheraton, whose NC Senate district includes Davidson and Montgomery counties, stated: “My core values of economic equity and ensuring that workers have living wages, sufficient benefits and a political voice to address their needs closely align with the Triad CLC and NC AFL-CIO. I thank the Triad CLC affiliates for doing their part to educate and mobilize union members and their families in support of my campaign. If elected, I am committed to enacting legislation that will improve the quality of life for workers in North Carolina”.

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Triad CLC is an affiliate of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO, the largest association of unions of working people in North Carolina, representing a hundred and forty-five thousand members, working together for good jobs, safe workplaces, workers’ rights, consumer protections, and quality public services on behalf of ALL working people.

PO Box 10805, Raleigh, NC 27605.

On education, here’s what I’m reading…

Spending per pupilImage caption: 2015-2016 Total Current Spending Per Student data chart is courtesy of the Public School Forum of NC’s 2018 Local School Finance Study.

The issues that I am focusing on (education, healthcare and workforce development) are multifaceted and complex. I want to learn as much as I can.  As I’ve been thinking about ways that policy and legislation impact the public K-12 education system, I have three top priorities that I support and that I want to partner with educators, community leaders, legislators and families to address:

  1. Ensure that all NC students have a quality educational experience.
  2. Increase teacher pay to the national average.
  3. Reinstate and enhance incentives to keep valuable teachers in NC.

In many of the articles and reports on education, I am observing a common theme: NC does not retain teachers because we don’t pay enough money or provide sufficient benefits. As a result, we negatively impact our schools, children and learning outcomes due to an increasing number of unfilled teaching positions.

One critical issue in NC is that we have a serious challenge in school resources based on where students live in the state.

The chart above is from the 2018 Local School Finance study as reported by the Public School Forum of NC. The two counties that represent District 29 (Davidson and Montgomery counties) fall short of the 2015-16 state average spending per student by $239 and $315, respectively. I met someone from Hoke county last week who explained that her entire county only had one high school. I had never even considered that to be a possibility. Curious, I looked up her county related to spending per student: $560.

Can you imagine the difference in an educational experience living in this county from others, particularly the wealthier counties? What is being done from the policy-making level and in legislation to address this? Counties, especially those that have been poorer for a variety of reasons including being in rural areas, heavily impacted by natural disasters and/or that have been historically segregated, cannot be held responsible for these disparities alone.

No student should have a “less than” education because of where he or she lives.

My mission is to keep learning and shining a light on this issues and working with others to ensure educational equity in our state.

 

On education, here’s some of what I’m currently reading:

From Public School Forum of NC (www.ncforum.org):

2018 Local School Finance Study

Top Ten Education Issues of 2018

From The North Carolina Justice Center (ncjustice.org)

*The Unraveling–Poorly Crafted Education Policies Are Failing North Carolina’s Children

*Stymied by Segregation—How Integration Can Transform North Carolina Schools  and the Lives of Its Students

*by Kris Nordstrom

Do you have thoughts or suggestions? Please share in the comments section.