Carolina Democracy

Veterans: We're Resilient (so Elect Us!)

February 21, 2022 JD Wooten Episode 6
Carolina Democracy
Veterans: We're Resilient (so Elect Us!)
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome back to Carolina Democracy! Today we discuss the North Carolina Supreme Court’s full opinion on the partisan gerrymandering case and the General Assembly’s new legislative maps in response to the Court’s order, and then I’m joined by Mebane City Councilman Sean Ewing who is running to represent Alamance and Randolph Counties in District 25 of the North Carolina State Senate.

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JD Wooten: Hey everyone, JD Wooten here. Welcome back to Carolina Democracy. Today, we’ll discuss the North Carolina Supreme Court’s full opinion on the partisan gerrymandering case and the General Assembly’s new legislative maps in response to the Court’s order, and then I’m joined by Mebane City Councilman Sean Ewing, Democratic candidate for North Carolina Senate District 25 in Alamance and Randolph Counties.

So let’s start with the North Carolina Supreme Court’s full opinion in the partisan gerrymandering case.  As you may remember, on February 4th, the Court entered a brief order holding that partisan gerrymandering violates several provisions of the North Carolina Constitution and ordering the General Assembly to draw new maps.  The Court set an ambitious schedule for the process, ordering the legislature to redraw the maps within two weeks, meaning last Friday.  The Court also allowed the plaintiffs to submit proposed maps in the event that the General Assembly failed to draw acceptable maps.  The trial court is reviewing all of the proposed maps now with the help of several experts and will make a decision regarding which maps to implement by Wednesday, February 23rd.  Assuming this stays on track to the satisfaction of the Supreme Court, candidate filing will open on Thursday, February 24th.

The full opinion from the Supreme Court runs 138 pages, not including the dissent, so I’ll just hit the highlights.  The essential holding of the Court is that the North Carolina Constitution establishes that political power is vested in and derived from the people. Further, the state constitution ensures that our government must be based on the will of the people. The Court noted that although the primary power for redistricting is with the General Assembly, that power is not unlimited and is still subject to other restrictions in the constitution.  The Court has a duty to step in to protect the people when the General Assembly violates their rights, as is the case in partisan gerrymandering.

One of my frustrations with past court decisions on partisan gerrymandering is that courts claim it is up to the legislature to fix gerrymandering because legislatures represent the will of the people.  But the obvious problem with that argument is that with gerrymandering, the will of the people is not reflected in the makeup of the legislature.  Even if a majority of the people want to see an end to gerrymandering, as polling repeatedly confirms is the case in North Carolina, gerrymandering will never end if those in power draw maps that make it impossible for those opposed to gerrymandering to be elected.  The North Carolina Supreme Court tackled this head on with the following passage:

[A] legislative body can only reflect the will of the people if it is elected from districts that provide one person’s vote with substantially the same power as every other person’s vote. In North Carolina, a state without a citizen referendum process and where only a supermajority of the legislature can propose constitutional amendments, it is no answer to say that responsibility for addressing partisan gerrymandering is in the hands of the people, when they are represented by legislators who are able to entrench themselves by manipulating the very democratic process from which they derive their constitutional authority. Accordingly, the only way that partisan gerrymandering can be addressed is through the courts, the branch which has been tasked with authoritatively interpreting and enforcing the North Carolina Constitution.

Another common refrain from those trying to protect gerrymandering is that there is no manageable standard for Courts to use when reviewing partisan gerrymandering, so the Courts are powerless to intervene.  The majority appears to have recognized this argument for exactly what it is – an excuse to do nothing in the face of an assault on basic democratic principles.  The Court observed the Catch-22 that modern data analysis presents to would-be proponents of gerrymandering: the same technology that allows for the extreme manipulation of maps in the first place also creates a manageable judicial standard for review after-the-fact.  While the Supreme Court left it to the trial court to decide which of several possible metrics to use, the Court provided numerous concrete examples of ways to measure just how gerrymandered a map really is.  The Court was also rather critical of the dissent, noting that stepping in and ending partisan gerrymandering is not a judicial overreach, but rather the Court’s most fundamental and sacred duty of protecting the constitutional rights of the people of the from overreach by their government.  

As I mentioned earlier, the General Assembly has passed new maps and submitted those to the trial court, and the plaintiffs have submitted proposed maps as well as a backup.  I should note that from a legal perspective, the trial court will almost certainly start off with the assumption that the new maps from the General Assembly are the maps that will be used.  However, when reviewing those maps, the Supreme Court has provided guidance on determining whether those new maps are constitutional.  If the trial court finds that the new maps are not acceptable, then the trial court will look to the other submissions to find an acceptable set of maps.  Unfortunately, this is basically a pass/fail test for the General Assembly, not an active competition for best map drawing among all participants.  Therefore, as long as the General Assembly passes the test, it doesn’t matter if they submitted the best or worst maps, so to speak.

Carolina Forward has a great summary article reviewing the state legislative maps which they called an improvement, but still bad.  I’ll drop a link to that article in the show notes.  Ultimately it will be up to the trial court to decide if these maps are outside the permissible bounds of gerrymandering, but there’s really no question they are still partisan gerrymanders, it’s just a question of how much.  The Supreme Court suggested some outer limits for statistical testing that the trial court can use, and at least by most of those metrics, it appears the General Assembly probably colored within the lines.  If these new maps go into effect, here’s the likely break down for the seats.  In the State House, there would be 57 safe or leans Democratic seats, and 63 safe or leans Republican seats.  Republicans would likely keep the majority, but would not likely get a supermajority absent a massive wave election.  In the State Senate, there would be 22 safe or leans Democratic seats, and 28 safe or leans Republican seats.  Republicans are obviously much more favored in the State Senate.  In Congress, it looks like the split would likely be six strongly Republican districts, four strongly Democratic districts, two slightly Republican districts and 2 toss-up districts.  Again, this obviously favors the Republicans, but at least not by as much as the previous maps.  And ultimately, none of these maps are ideal, but they’re clearly better than where we started.  Now we wait to see which maps go into effect, and then we fight like hell to elect representatives up and down the ballot who are working to advance democracy.

Ok, that’s enough from me for now.  Let’s turn to my interview with Sean Ewing. 

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JD Wooten: With me today is Sean Ewing, a fellow U.S. Air Force veteran and engineer currently serving on the Mebane City Council. Sean is running to represent North Carolina Senate District 25 covering Alamance and part of Randolph Counties. Welcome Sean. 

Sean Ewing: Good to be here JD. Thank you so much for having me. 

JD Wooten: It's a real pleasure. So before we jump into all of the usual stuff, let's kick off with the customary first question: what's your first memory of politics or getting involved in politics? 

Sean Ewing: I actually love this question. Okay. So this was, I want to say 2003, I was based in Japan at the time. I was voting for, in the little town I grew up, for mayor and city council there, and I had the styrofoam backing with the paper and the chads so you got that little poker, you could poke out who you wanted to vote for, and then you'd mail in the ballot. So that was actually my first memory over in Japan, Misawa, I was based there and voting for the town that I grew in the local elections there. 

JD Wooten: Okay. So tell us a little about yourself, your background, where you grew up, that kind of thing. 

Sean Ewing: From up north born in Northern Ohio, raised about an hour north of Columbus, hour south of Cleveland in a little town. As soon as I turned 18, I think honestly, I had a month after I graduated and then went to basic training in the military. I started out as enlisted and found out my passion with F-16s.

JD Wooten: Yeah, I had about three weeks from the time I graduated high school to the time I showed up for my basic training, so I can appreciate that. So, if I understand correctly, you served active duty in the U.S. Air Force for a few years, and then you served Air National Guard thereafter, is that right? 

Sean Ewing: Exactly. Did six years of active duty. Started basic training there in Texas, then went down to Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina. Based in Kunsan, Korea for a year, and then Misawa, Japan for another two years. Then I started in the Air National Guard and actually started by my college too. So being able to pay for my tuition, being able to afford that. And I'll be Frank. The main reason I became an engineer was because of the Air Force. And I'm ever so thankful. It gave me a good foundation to work on a good foundation to build on. And the fact that I could come out with near zero debt after getting my engineering degree was very, very helpful thing.

JD Wooten: Yeah, certainly offer some wonderful benefits for education and advancement. I certainly had the privilege of being able to take advantage of some of those myself. So you already mentioned the F-16. Let's talk about the mighty Viper. Some of my best memories in the Air Force were sitting in the backseat of the Viper. Any good stories of your time working on that amazing marvel of modern engineering, or any other interesting military experiences you want to share?

Sean Ewing: So that's my aircraft period. My job was F-16 avionics. That includes anything that pilot touched: throttle, ignition, flight controls, most of the weapon management systems, radar, things along that line, as well as all the associated wiring and components. I love fixing that aircraft. I remember I was based in Prince Sultan Air Base there in Saudi Arabia and it was hot, hot days, dry days. And I had just come off the flight line repairing one of these radios and one of these aircraft. And everyone's looking at the TV. This was September 11th, 2001, that I was repairing that radio. And we literally saw the twin towers fall there in Saudi Arabia. Needless to say things got pretty real, pretty quickly there on base, and we were one of the staging areas also for all the aircraft flying to Afghanistan. That was a moment I'll never forget. 

JD Wooten: Yeah. I think few of us from our generation will forget where we were on that day and what was going on. So, I guess building on that a little bit, I believe veterans have so much to offer their communities if they so choose. So what lessons did you take away from your time in uniform that you will bring to the North Carolina General Assembly?

Sean Ewing: I think most everyone who served has just a variety of personalities that they serve with. Demographically varied, geographically varied, people from all over the United States and even some from outside the United States serving in the military. These are personalities you've got to get along with find common grounds and you got to work with every day. You gotta trust your life with them every single day. That's something I want to see more veterans serving in governments because I know that we can find common ground right now. And with our divided country, we need that more than anything right now, right this very second to be able to say, okay, that's your beliefs. That's fine. Okay. That's your beliefs? That's fine. How can we work together? For a better Mebane for a better Alamance County, better Randolph County, better North Carolina, better America. We've got to find ways to work together. And I guess that's what I think veterans can really bring serving in government. 

JD Wooten: I couldn't agree more. I think one of the really important things for me was learning to work with people from all walks of life. At the end of the day, we shared common values, common principles. That really became the overriding factor. The details weren't nearly as important, and therefore the divisions just didn't feel as strong there. 

Sean Ewing: Exactly exactly. Veterans are a tough bunch where we've learned to suck it up. Now we learned to take commands. We may not agree with like what you're talking about with what command may say or, or, or how anyone may, what they may think about some things. But for example, being part of the squadrons, I was part of our job was to make sure those F-16s flew. So do everything you can make sure you're safe and get out there and get them up in the air. 

JD Wooten: Right. So you currently serve on the Mebane City Council, a position you've held since 2019 is that right?

Sean Ewing: Yes, sir.

JD Wooten: So what led you to run for city council and how's that experience been so far? 

Sean Ewing: I dabbled in politics in 2015, just getting out door knocking trying to motivate people to, to get to the polls. One thing I just kept on hearing more and more is that we need to see our elected officials out there in the field. I started doing that more. I actually ran in 2017. I didn't win, but I kept on going out. I kept on door knocking and I kept on hearing what people had to say and good, bad, or otherwise I listened what was happening here in Mebane. Sometimes people want to vent. Sometimes people are looking for a resolution for something that you didn't even consider, but I love hearing this feedback. And when constituents give you the opportunity to listen to feedback, I hope more politicians will shut up and listen, because that means someone isn't bad mouthing and you on the side. They're bearing their soul. They're trying to tell you what's going on. They're trying to communicate what the issues are. I love that. There's always a grain of truth and again, I kept on working. I kept on getting out there in 2017, 2018, ran in 2019 in Alamance and part of Orange. I was the highest vote getter for Mebane City Council. And I don't want to stop that. I never ever want to stop that for the people of Mebane or whomever I serve. 

JD Wooten: If somebody is coming to you to talk about their problems, that's a lot of other things they're not talking about and it's a great opportunity to listen.

Sean Ewing: Yeah, exactly. 

JD Wooten: I wish more people would adopt that.

Sean Ewing: And go full circle about veterans because we're resilient and I'm sure many of us have been yelled at multiple times. We are accustomed to that. I hope that that's not the normal way of operating, but if someone wants to rip into you, okay, shut up, listen, let them vent. Let them talk to you and then have a conversation. And I think this is what veterans can really bring to the table.

JD Wooten: I think it gives us a unique sense and ability to really be comfortable in ourselves, but to also know, okay, you hear somebody, you hear what they're saying. And you pretty quickly identify, this is not about me.

Sean Ewing: Exactly. 

JD Wooten: This is not about me. Let me just listen, let me process this. Now, let me put my engineer hat on or problem solver hat on. Let's figure out what you're actually worried about. 

Sean Ewing: I love Mebane. I love Alamance, love Randolph, love North Carolina. And if someone has critique, they're not calling my baby ugly. They want to find ways to make things better. And I want to be there for them. 

JD Wooten: Yeah. And if they are calling your baby ugly well, let's talk about it. Let's figure out what's going on. We may have some other issues we want to work through too.

Sean Ewing: Fair enough.

JD Wooten: All right, so back to Mebane, I know you've seen some great successes for Mebane during your time in office. Things like helping secure a Development Grant Program for the historic downtown, new jobs at places like UPS and the Fortune 100 company Thermo Fisher Scientific. How do you think your current work will inform you when you're in Raleigh serving as a State Senator? 

Sean Ewing: I will give a huge shout out to the staff there at the City of Mebane, they do a phenomenal job. They work their tails off in the background to make sure that a development, or industry, or whatever they're going to bring forward to us is well researched, is well analyzed. And there's months, sometimes even a year, of hard work behind that before they come to us. Like a Fisher Scientific, when we approved that rezoning over there off of Buckhorn, that was a huge development, and there is all sorts of moving parts that staff had to work on to make sure is this even possible in Mebane? And they found a pathway forward. With the staff being able to balance industry, commercial, and residential, that's really helped a lot with keeping our taxes where they're at. We haven't raised taxes, but we've also been able to offer a lot of amenities, new parks, sidewalks, there's stuff going around for free Wi-Fi. The Mebane Arts and Community Center continues to grow while also providing clean water, reducing potholes, street lights are still working, a huge shout out to staff. All of this saying when I go to Raleigh, I want to make sure that I am utilizing staff and those folks that have this knowledge about what's going on with the legislation. I really want to rely on the folks that know what's going on, know what's best, bounce ideas, maybe have some vigorous conversations, but being able to really drill down what legislation is good for the people, how it will impact the people and how it will be beneficial for every.

JD Wooten: Great opportunity to see that process that you can take with you and understand the subject matter experts too, to bring them in. 

Sean Ewing: And the other thing is just because I'm in Raleigh doesn't mean I'm not going to be reaching out to Mebane or Graham or Burlington or the county, Randolph County, the outskirts of Asheboro, Franklinville. It doesn't mean I'm not going to be reaching out. I will absolutely be reaching out Alamance Community, College, Randolph, Community College, all of these, the Zoo, all of these places. I'm still gonna be asking ideas, bouncing ideas off. Is this good legislation? Is this good for you? Will this help everyone in the community? We got to have this dialogue. And again, it kind of goes back to my passion and quality engineering is I can be thinking one thing, but I can be way far off. If I don't have that feedback loop, then I'm going to be off track. I need this feedback loop to keep me on track for what's best for the people.

JD Wooten: Perfect. So million dollar question, why you're running for the State Senate? 

Sean Ewing: It's time to get some turnout out there. This is a very important election year to keep folks in office, to get folks into office. And I want to make sure we get as many people turned out as possible to the polls this year. Not only that, but I want to expand what I have done here in Mebane, reaching out to the community, working with the community. We have an enormous tax base right here in Mebane and that's able to balance taxes. We want to make sure that continues there in Raleigh. I wanna make sure that goes, I want to make sure that the community colleges are supported. I want to make sure that our public schools are supported because even though if we dump a bunch of money in our community colleges, we gotta make sure the kids are well-educated on the K-12 level so they can get to those community colleges. That's very, very important. Especially for where we're at between two huge metro areas with everything that's happened in Mebane, with everything that's happened in Burlington, everything in Graham, Gibsonville, the battery plants there in Randolph, and everything all around. We have got to make sure that we're watching out for everyone, not only at the community college level and the university level, but K-12. Got to make sure that gets done. I know we can do that. People are flocking here. People love North Carolina. How can we make sure that not only the people moving here, that we hear what they have to say, but the people that have already been here for generations sometimes, watch out for them, make sure they're doing well, because if they get left, we're in big trouble. 

JD Wooten: Right. And as I understand that you're a product of public education. It's clear that public education is near and dear to your heart, and I think you've had the chance to be in our local schools and talk extensively with our educators. What's your impression of the current state there? 

Sean Ewing: Opportunity. At least in Alamance County and Randolph, we have lots of opportunity here for improvements for whether it be teacher pay, whether it be buildings. I know we recently passed some bonds here in Alamance County for school improvements, which is good. We still have a long way to go. We really need to watch out with the influx of people, with a growth, we're going to be getting a new high school on the south east side near Swepsonville so that'll be good. We really have to invest in our teachers. We have some of the best teachers in Alamance and Randolph. Let's give them the facilities and the utilities that they need to be successful for the kids. Our kids deserve it. 

JD Wooten: Yeah. Some people don't even realize that a sound basic education is a fundamental constitutional right here in North Carolina, and that right has been under attack for the last decade. So, in addition to teacher pay, which, critically important, anything else you think kind of low-hanging fruit, some plans that you might have to improve our schools across the district?

Sean Ewing: Listen to the experts as always seeing what they want seeing what are best practices, follow the science. One thing that is near dear to my heart are to embolden engineers. I love engineers. More engineers, the better. We'll be able to produce more. We'll be able to develop more. I want more opportunities in our schools for kids to try new things, get out there fail, but fail and learn. One thing that I always loved back in the military and I love in the college that I went to was having people that may have never learned to wrench on things, to develop things, to have them fail as long as they don't bleed too much and they can keep their fingers and their eyesight and they have a learning moment, that's awesome. I think that's the best thing ever. The more we can do that the better. 

JD Wooten: I will say as an Admissions Liaison Officer for the U.S. Air Force Academy, the military academies want to see people that are educated in science, technology, engineering, and math. The STEM education is so important, and if we can find a way to keep generating that, that's a huge part of our economic engine too. 

Sean Ewing: You want jobs in America, that's where you want to invest a lot of your money. Again, it goes back to my quality engineering days. You invest in engineers, you invest in technicians. We're going to be able to bring automation and good paying jobs back to America. We're going to be able to make more things here in America. This is great. And as far as I'm aware of North Carolina is going to be tip of the spear when it comes to a lot of that stuff. I want that to happen more than anything. I think we can. 

JD Wooten: Oh, yeah, absolutely. And I think that the STEM education is vital to being able to make sure that we have the trained workforce to do those jobs. I think they're, they're not just coming they're here, but we need to make sure that we have the educated workforce to do those jobs. And that doesn't mean that you need a PhD in rocket science.

Sean Ewing: Exactly, exactly. 

JD Wooten: But it does mean you need technical education even if it's just to our community college system so that you're qualified for those engineering jobs that are here. 

Sean Ewing: Some of the best paying jobs right now are electricians, welders, plumbers, all of these jobs out there that it's literally a dying breed right now. They are good paying jobs. They can't get enough of these tradespeople. Gosh, I hope we can see more investment right there. That would just be incredible. And it'd be revolutionary for this area. We will bring back the middle class. Once we start making those investments. 

JD Wooten: Couldn't agree more. So keeping focus on the education side of it, but shifting just a little bit to how we deliver that. I know that you've emphasized the importance of high speed internet access. And I'm sure that at least some of that comes from your experience as an engineer and just appreciating that. And of course we've seen over the last two years, access to reliable internet is so critical for supporting not just education, but also our businesses and community in general. What are your thoughts on how we make sure everyone from our children to people just trying to work from home or whatever the next iteration of our workforce may require. What are your thoughts on how we make sure everyone has access to reliable high-speed internet?

Sean Ewing: We've got to do a better job investing in high-speed internet. It's multifaceted, not only is it schools and allowing people more access to the world, it's going to help small business. You're going to be able to help small business across North Carolina and the small towns in these rural county areas, they'll be able to thrive. They'll be able to send their stuff, whatever their wares are, not only locally in the District or North Carolina, but across the United States. The more we connect people, the more we're going to support small business. It's just hands down what's going to happen. Not only that but yeah, we need to invest in that. There's going to be other opportunities too, whether it be a cell phone towers going up, there's gonna be opportunities there. It doesn't necessarily need to be copper and fiber, like we've laid in the past. Although I would support that. I think that would be great. And then we're gonna be looking at the satellite age of internet. We have companies out there. Competition's good. Competition is very, very good. Capitalism is good when it comes to getting more satellites in the sky for internet. And hopefully that price will be dropped down as we get more satellite providers. That's going to be able to reach people there in these rural areas. I hope we can incentivize that more so that people can get fiber, copper, cell, or satellite one way or another. I want to make sure that people get that because the more they're connected, the better they'll do and the better North Carolina will do. 

JD Wooten: Amen. So speaking of infrastructure, I know you also really wanted to do something about our traditional infrastructure and strengthening our transportation options, too. I know a few weeks ago I had the chance to speak with Greensboro City Councilwoman Tammi Thurm here on the show, and she talked about the transportation issues facing Greensboro. So it seems to me, it's a major issue across at least the Traid, and probably the whole state. What are some of your thoughts on the things that we can do at the state level, maybe to address some of these infrastructure concerns and transportation concerns? 

Sean Ewing: Transportation is going to be a challenge moving forward, to be perfectly honest. As we move into electrification of vehicles, we're going to have to balance some items out there in the budgets and how we pay for better roads, better bridges, better highways. It's going to be a real challenge and I'm ready to step up for that, especially when it comes to electrification. Because if we can produce our own energy here in North Carolina, if we can store that energy, whether it be battery or other, and if we can charge our vehicles, that will be revolutionary for North Carolina. Again, we will literally be bringing jobs to North Carolina if that happens. I think that'll help offset any needs for infrastructure. And I think that would really help us in the long run if we can move towards electrification. With that said when it comes to infrastructure, I can also speak on the fact that at least here in Mebane, we're a booming town and our infrastructure has some pretty significant needs. We are looking at a wastewater treatment plant expansion. We're looking at the need for a couple fire stations. We're looking at a need for a new police station. We're going to be needing to improve our Lake Michael Dam. There are significant areas around just here in town, in Mebane, that we need to improve on. I want to expand these lessons learned that we have here in Mebane to everywhere else, because I'm sure we cannot be the only one with this crumbling infrastructure right now. That's a really big reason that I'll be headed to Raleigh is to help out, so I hope we can really invest in some infrastructure to help out the people of our District.

JD Wooten: I think you just, whether you intentionally did this or not, highlighted another great thing that you could bring to the General Assembly by having been a member of a City Council. And that is appreciating just how much our local municipalities depend on the interaction with the state government and that dynamic.

Sean Ewing: Exactly. We have to work with each other, regardless about what letters are at the end of our names. We have to find common ground. We are all Americans, we're all North Carolinians. How can we work together to be better, to build better, to make sure everyone is taken care of. So that's something that's actually the crux of my campaign is to make sure that this is not a partisan campaign. We're running for everyone, and we will represent everyone. 

JD Wooten: I love it, that's brilliant. And that's what we need more of. So final area I'll ask about before giving you the chance to hit anything I've missed: access to affordable health care and specifically Medicaid Expansion. It just seems so obvious and such a terrible disservice to North Carolinians that we're rejecting the very help we've already paid for. To me, it seems almost criminal. But I mean seriously, the people of North Carolina have already paid for Medicaid Expansion, and they've been paying for it for a decade, but the GOP has refused to accept it. One of my former opponents like to use boogeyman arguments directed at making people fearful of unknown long-term costs, but it's been around for over a decade now. We have the data. She also campaigned on the idea that we need to fix our current Medicaid delivery system before expanding it, but that's also been a line for almost a decade and they haven't done it. Medicaid Expansion, I think, is critical, and I think it would be tremendously beneficial, especially for our rural communities, like much of District 25, don't you think? 

Sean Ewing: I can't wrap my head around why anyone would not want Medicaid Expansion? It's beyond me. It absolutely is beyond me. To be fiscally conservative, to be understanding of where our taxes go, and then to pay into this, and then not reap the benefits, is just beyond me. I can't imagine why anyone would not be for that. Our rural areas need improved healthcare, improved Medicaid Expansion, improved, all sorts of things up and down the hospital line. We need to invest in this. We have to invest in this. I don't know how anyone can not be for it and I, I am silenced. I'm befuddled. I have no idea why anyone would not want to lean into this moment and, and help the people of the district of North Carolina out. This is easy. Low-hanging fruit. Why would we not want to bring Medicaid Expansion to North Carolina?

JD Wooten: Yeah. In 2018, I tried to make a fuss about military veterans in North Carolina that would be covered by Medicaid Expansion we were denying affordable health care to by not expanding Medicaid. I just think it's a travesty. It sounds like given the opportunity, you'd be happy to vote, to expand Medicaid.

Sean Ewing: I would jump on that. This, this is something, this is. I don't know what I'm missing. This is something that is bi-partisan. This is something that'll help everyone out. This is something we're already paying into. Let's bring Medicaid expansion in North Carolina. 

JD Wooten: Yeah. If you look across the country, this is not a partisan issue. It's only partisan it seems here in North Carolina and a couple other states that are hold outs. Nationally, this is not a partisan issue. 

Sean Ewing: It shouldn't be. There's there's no reason for it to be. 

JD Wooten: What else do you want people to know about you Sean? 

Sean Ewing: I'm sure you'll be seeing me either knocking on your door, making a phone call here really soon. We'll see what the new districts look like. Regardless, I'm still going to be getting out there. I'm still going to be listening to what everyone has to say. This is going to be an uphill challenge this year, but I'm ready for this. Be ready to see me and be ready to have these conversations, have some good questions for when we're ready to have these conversations. I'm ready for a coffee. I'm ready for a beer. Let's see what we can do to make our District better, North Carolina better, and the United States of America. I hope we can have these conversations because right now we need to have these dialogues, even if they're difficult dialogues in our country. 

JD Wooten: I love it. All right, everyone, follow up on that. Take him up on the offer. Go pick his brain, get in touch with Sean to have these conversations. On that point, where can people go to learn about you, sign up to volunteer, donate to your campaign, all those great things? 

Sean Ewing: E W I N G F O R N C .com. I've got all my information there on the website. Please feel free to reach out. Please feel free to write. Please feel free to call or text. Let's try to find some common grounds here in North Carolina. 

JD Wooten: We'll put links to all of those things in the show notes, go follow up and support Councilman Sean Ewing, running for the North Carolina Senate District 25. Well, Sean, it's been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for joining me today, and I wish you all the best.

Sean Ewing: Thank you JD, this really means a lot. And I look forward to running across your path many, many times in the future. Thank you my friend.

[Music transition]

JD Wooten: Thanks again to Sean for joining me today. Don’t forget to visit to learn more about Sean, donate, and sign up to volunteer.  I’ll leave links in the show notes for his website as well as his social media accounts so you can keep up with his campaign.  Also check out Carolina Forward at to read more about their research and the candidates they are backing.  I suspect we’ll hear more about endorsements as soon as the legislative maps are finalized.  And as always, if you or someone else you know should be on the show, send me an email at  That’ll be in the show notes, too.

Finally, please subscribe where ever you get your podcasts to make sure you never miss an episode, like and share on social media, and share this episode with one friend. Together, we can achieve a better North Carolina for everyone!

Interview with Sean Ewing
Closing Notes