Carolina Democracy

Primary Mashup - Congressional Candidates

May 09, 2022 JD Wooten Episode 18
Carolina Democracy
Primary Mashup - Congressional Candidates
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Selected highlights from past U.S. Congressional candidate guests currently on primary ballots around North Carolina!

Valerie Foushee:

Wiley Nickel:

Crystal Cavalier:

North Carolina State Board of Elections:

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JD Wooten: Hey everyone, JD Wooten here. Welcome back for another special edition of Carolina Democracy, this time featuring highlights from the Congressional candidates that have been guests so far.

First, a little housekeeping. I thought it might be helpful to note that the fact that a candidate has been on the show does not mean Carolina Democracy is necessarily endorsing that candidate over another candidate, at least not when both are advocating positions that advance democracy and democratic rights. And the fact that other candidates who are quite clearly fighting for democratic values don’t make it on as guests is also not any slight against them. Sometimes schedules just don’t line up.

I’ll give you an example. This week I originally anticipated having a guest who is in a tough primary fight. He had to make the hard call at the last minute that his time was better spent driving voter turnout for the election that’s currently underway than jumping on a podcast interview. For what it’s worth, I agree with his decision. Getting people engaged in the democratic process is exactly where the focus needs to be as we fight for democracy, especially as we get closer to November, and that’s the whole point of this podcast.

So again whether a particular candidate makes it on the show is not an endorsement of any particular pro-democracy candidate over another. I don’t have any set rules or litmus test for selecting guests, aside from the fact that I have no intention of having guests who fights against democracy. I look to a few simple indicators – where does a candidate stand on gerrymandering and voting rights. If you support gerrymandering or voter suppression in any form, you won’t be a guest on this show. If you've supported those in the past, you won’t be a guest on this show unless it’s to profess your change of heart and beg forgiveness from the democracy gods.

And I mention all of that as a reminder that with primary elections under way, do your homework on your candidates and then go vote. And don’t assume that because you have or haven’t heard from a particular candidate in a particular forum that that single piece of information should determine your vote. Do your homework, figure out which candidate aligns with your values, and then go vote. Or even better, do something like help that candidate campaign, whether that’s just donating a few bucks or becoming a super volunteer. Democracy takes work, and as Aimy Steele of the New North Carolina Project reminded us a few weeks ago, Don't just think everyone else has got it under control. No, they do not. Stand up, speak up, and do something.

And don’t forget -- in person early voting runs until May 14th and the primary election is on May 17th. Although you can still request a mail-in absentee ballot until May 10th, at this point, please consider going to vote in person to make sure your vote gets counted. Given the delays that can happen in mail, it would be a real shame for your ballot to arrive too late to be counted. If that’s the only available way for you to vote, by all means, that’s infinitely better than not voting. I’m just saying that if you have the choice, take a few minutes to visit a polling place and cast a ballot in person. Whatever you do, please, go vote, and take a friend. Given the news of the past week, hopefully I don’t need to remind you that engaging in the democratic process and getting other democracy allies to do the same is the most important thing we can do right now to protect democracy.

Ok, now with all that housekeeping out of the way, let’s turn back to that doozy of a draft opinion that leaked from the Supreme Court last week and the reactions that have followed. First, the irony and hypocrisy of complaining about the Court's breach of privacy to deliberate its decision to eviscerate privacy rights is just mind boggling. Now, is the leak bad for the Court? Perhaps. But is it anything close to as bad as overturning a half-century of precedent and for the first time in our nation’s history taking away a fundamental right? Of course not. So quit deflecting and trying to distract. The leak is an internal problem for the Court to figure out and deal with. It’s none of our concern, and let’s leave it at that.

The obvious problem here is the draft opinion itself. I’m not going to spend a ton of time on the details of that draft because it’s just that, a draft. But if that draft, or anything close to it, becomes law, it undermines and eviscerates the fundamental rights to privacy and autonomy that serve as the foundation for a whole host of rights that we have fought for decades to have recognized, including things like the right to contraception, the right to gay marriage, even the right to interracial marriage. I know Justice Alito tried to make a distinction that abortion is different because it terminates a potential life, but that's imposing a moral judgment on others and doesn’t change the legal reasoning at the heart of this draft opinion.

The legal reasoning, at its core, says that for something to be a constitutional right, it must either be written in black and white, or it must be deeply rooted in our nation’s history and traditions. Justice Alito goes back to the old English common law, and cites heavily to Sir Matthew Hale, an English jurist who put women to death for witchcraft and defended marital rape. Of course you’re not going to find anything that supports women’s reproductive health in those writings, and it’s incredibly insulting that Hale would even be cited as a source for such matters. To me, that’s like citing a plantation owner from the Antebellum South to support a modern voter suppression law. No. Just no.

Also, the common law didn’t ban all abortions. Abortion was only illegal after “quickening,” or when the baby starts moving, which guess what – usually happens in the mid-second trimester. That’s not much different than the timeline Roe recognized for a constitutional right to abortion, so if anything, the English common law supports Roe. Guess who else didn’t generally ban abortions in history? The colonies which adopted the Constitution. It was probably unthinkable that the government would get involved in private medical decisions, so why on Earth would we need a constitutional amendment for it? But we did explicitly ban government intrusions into private life which had been occurring by banning the government from housing troops in private homes under the Third Amendment. So I respectfully dissent from Justice Alito’s reasoning that there is support in the English common law or early American law for the radical positions in this draft.

But more broadly, you know what else isn’t deeply rooted in the nation’s history and traditions? Most privacy rights involving intimate sexual relations, contraception, and marriage. And while this draft may make a distinction between abortion and other rights like that , what’s to say the next case will continue to respect that line? Afterall, each and every one of the justices who are reported to support overturning Roe and Casey testified, under oath, before the U.S. Senate that Roe was established precedent and law of the land. At a minimum, they’ve obviously changed their minds.

We’ll see what the final decision looks like, but I’m praying that this was Justice Alito’s wishful thinking of what he could muster five votes for, and when the Court eventually does release its opinion, that we get at least a watered-down version of this. I’m not going to hold my breath, but I can hope.

So, what’s next? Whatever the final opinion looks like, it’s quite likely that the issue of abortion gets kicked back to the states in some form. Perhaps someday there will be national laws protecting privacy in medical decisions, but right now there simply aren’t enough votes in the U.S. Senate to pass anything protecting women’s reproductive rights. And make no mistake that the GOP controlled North Carolina General Assembly will try to restrict or ban abortion altogether. Even when they didn’t have the votes to override Governor Cooper’s veto, they recently tried to push forward such measures any way. If they get supermajorities again in the state house and senate, you can rest assured they’ll pass those laws.

So the single most important thing we can do right now is to stay engaged, get others engaged, and support candidates for the state house and senate in critical districts that will protect Governor Cooper’s veto. If the tide suddenly turns and we can pick up enough seats to take a majority, even better, but that has to be the icing on the cake and it cannot distract from protecting the governor’s veto first and foremost. We also have to make sure we’re electing state judges who will uphold democratic rights and norms. Thankfully, our friends at Carolina Forward have made our job a little easier by identifying key candidates for the State Supreme Court, State Senate, and State House who are best positioned to do just that with their judicial and legislative slates. Links in the show notes for both of those slates where you can learn more about all of those great candidates and support their campaigns.

Now, let’s hear some interview highlights from a few of our North Carolina Congressional candidates currently on the ballot, all of whom I am confident will fight to protect and defend democratic values.

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JD Wooten: With me today is state Senator Valerie Foushee who has represented District 23 in the North Carolina Senate since 2013. Senator Foushee is running to represent the North Carolina Fourth Congressional District. Welcome Senator Fouhsee. 

Valerie Foushee: Thank you, JD. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be with you today. 

JD Wooten: Well, thank you so much for taking the time. Education funding, I'm sure that's been a constant issue in every position you've held. So you've served on a school board, a county commission, you've been a state representative and a state senator. How do you think those experiences, especially that breadth of experience, will inform your work when you get to Congress?

Valerie Foushee: What I've learned most in serving in elected office is to always be reminded that representatives don't determine what the issues are. The people determine the issues. And it is our responsibility to be responsive to and to address the issues. What I like most about serving is finding resolutions or finding solutions to issues. I think that having dealt with situations at the local level and at the state level gives me an experience that will certainly be helpful because I have sat across tables in kitchens. I've sat on porches. I've sat on daises you know, I have sat and listened. And I have learned how to find points of intersection for any of our discussions, understanding that all of us are genuinely affected similarly, on those issues. At our core, we all want the best for our children. We want our children to be educated. We want to have clean and safe housing. We want to have clean air and water. What I've learned is that since we all want the same thing, we have to figure out how we get to those goals in a way that all of us are served. And so those experiences having served on so many levels have taught me that again, we're all striving for the same goals. Maybe in different ways, maybe deploying different strategies, but ultimately we want the same things. And so being able to take those experiences to the next level, I'm hoping will not just benefit my ability to serve, but certainly benefit the people whom I serve.

JD Wooten: Turning to your current campaign. What are some of the things you hope to do in Congress to help strengthen our economy? 

Valerie Foushee: Thank you for that question. And certainly I would continue to fight for a minimum wage of $15. We see where people are from the pandemic and people have lost their jobs. People coming back into the workforce. With all of the increases in what we're purchasing for our everyday needs, we need to ensure that there is no less than a $15 minimum with built in increases that will adjust for inflation. I think that we need to make the child tax credit permanent. We saw how that helped families during the pandemic. I would continue to fight for universal childcare and pre-K because families are using a large chunk of their income for childcare services, then that doesn't leave a lot to participate in the economy, such that we can continue to keep it strong. And I, of course I would oppose anything that would suggest that we cut benefits to Social Security, Medicaid, and we need to continue to work to expand Medicaid eligibility. So those are a few things that I think that we could start to work on with me being representative in Congress right away.

JD Wooten: What do you hope to see Congress do to strengthen some of our basic democratic rights and democratic norms? 

Valerie Foushee: I believe that there should be a national standard. It's such that people understand what their voting rights. think that one of the things that I want to do is to push forward the passage of the for the people act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, because part of this, as we know in this state has to do with gerrymandering. And so to ensure that voters are choosing their representatives rather than representatives choosing, who gets to vote for them is essential to strengthening our democracy. I think that the John Lewis voting rights act is a mechanism to limit gerrymandering and at the same time, expanding access to the ballot box. So those are a couple of things that I think that I would like to work on right away. 

JD Wooten: I think you've written that quality healthcare is a right, which should be guaranteed all Americans and the support Medicare for All. So what do you think would be some of our first steps towards ensuring everyone has that access to quality, affordable health care? 

Valerie Foushee: Well, first of all, the state of North Carolina needs to expand Medicaid. 

JD Wooten: Amen. 

Valerie Foushee: We can do that right here. And I'm proud to say that I think we are closer to getting there than we've ever been. I came to the General Assembly in 2013, and that was one of the first pieces of legislation that we passed, that we would not expand Medicaid. And so being at a point now where that is a conversation that has gained support broadly in the General Assembly certainly makes me feel good about that. But I think that, you know, there are a number of things we can do. One of them is you know, we can support policies that would require pharmaceutical companies to negotiate with the government to lower prescription drug prices. When we talk about healthcare in general and access to affordable health care, then you know, it shouldn't be that just those people who are well employed or well connected can have access. It shouldn't be that given where we are after having not expanded Medicaid and coming through the pandemic with the number of rural hospitals that have closed. As I said to some folks last week, when we don't have access to healthcare, when we have people who live in communities where they can't get emergency care within a reasonable amount of time, then when those emergencies happen, people die. And that's not necessary. We can do better because we can ensure that these hospitals are able to remain open, that they are there for folks when they need emergency care. We can ensure that people are not making choices about whether or not they're buying groceries or they're buying medication. And if they're not buying that medication, then they are committing themselves to early deaths or in living conditions where their quality of life suffers because they're not healthy. Everything is tied to healthcare. Whether, you know, we have the ability to work, whether we have the ability to learn, whether we have the ability to just interact with other folk, because we are healthier, we're not passing on some type of health conditions. All of that hinges on the right to access quality and affordable health care. So certainly I would continue to work on providing that access. And I think that Medicare for All is one way of doing it. Expanding ACA is another way, whatever works. Here's what we should try and we should complete that task so that that is not a situation where we're talking about people not having access. It just does not make sense in a country like America for that, not to be a given. 

JD Wooten: So Senator Foushee, anything else on your campaign platform that we've, that we've missed or that you'd like to highlight?

Valerie Foushee: Yeah. I do think JD, if there is any one thing that we haven't talked about would be criminal justice reform. And I think that with that we really do need to talk about, how should I say, what is happening with guns in our country. That there needs to be a national standard again, about what is permitted that there should be a ban on assault rifles. There should be a ban on these high capacity magazines. All of these things that we know are not connected to the Second Amendment rights. Certainly I'm not a proponent of doing away with Second Amendment rights. But what I am concerned about is the number of shootings that we're having. Almost to the point where it seems that we're becoming numb to mass shootings. And I would hope that that is never the case. But certainly we need to move towards addressing the proliferation of guns in our country. So I would say criminal justice and guns violence are two other issues that I'd like to work on, should I be elected to Congress.

JD Wooten: Perhaps the most important question yet. Where can people go to learn more about you and how to support your campaign? 

Valerie Foushee: I'm glad you asked. You can simply go to www dot Valerie Foushee dot com. Thank you for that. 

JD Wooten: Absolutely. Senator Foushee, it's been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for taking the time to join us today.

Valerie Foushee: It was certainly my honor and my pleasure. Thank you, JD.

JD Wooten: With me today is State Senator Wiley Nickel who currently represents District 16 in the North Carolina State Senate. Senator Nickel is running to represent the newly drawn 13th Congressional District, which includes Wake Johnson and parts of Harnett and Wayne counties. Welcome Senator Nickel.

Wiley Nickel: Thanks so much. It's great to see you. 

JD Wooten: Likewise. You've been involved in Democratic politics for a long time prior to running yourself. So what are some of the past experiences and lessons you learned along the way? And some of those individuals, you had a chance to work for?

Wiley Nickel: Working for the Obama White House was really an honor and something that stays with me and everything I do as a State Senator. And I think the really important thing that I learned from President Obama is when you run for office, when you're in elected office, you always have to be honest with the voters and you have to be yourself. 

JD Wooten: So you ran in 2018 for the then newly created District 16. You won a very competitive primary and then went on to win the general election, making you part of the group who gave Democrats enough seats in the general assembly to break the GOP super majority and sustain Governor Cooper's veto. Since you're facing another primary now, are there any lessons from your 2018 primary that you think will help you in this fight for the congressional nomination?

Wiley Nickel: Politics number one is just about educating people on the issues. If you educate them on the issues they're going to be with you. And the way you got to do that is you gotta be there with them in their community, knocking on their doors, being available all the time. And that was what we did. We worked two times harder than our opponent, and put in four times more hustle. And when you do that and your constituents know that you're going to be there, you're going to listen to them. Talk about the issues that matter at the kitchen table. They're going to be with you and that's what we did then. And that's what we'll continue to do in the primary and in the general election for this seat, which is going to be one of the most competitive seats in the country. By the time we get to November, but this is a seat that could go either way. And it's what you want. It's what you live for in politics to have a seat where you can't hide behind your Republican primary voters, , you have a bad idea. You're on the wrong side of an issue. You are going to pay a price at the ballot box. So if you're someone who's going to be supporting the NRA line, , district like this, there is nowhere to hide when you talk about ending gun violence. So, it's an exciting district and , like you said, 435 seats in Congress, there's probably only 30 that are going to be this competitive. In the entire country and it's an open seat. Most of these seats that are competitive, like this have an incumbent, this one has no incumbent. So, there's nobody who's done years of constituent services to sort of skew the results one way or another. This is one that's fair game. And it's a Biden district seat, the Biden one. So we're, we're really excited about taking the fight to Republicans in November and being part of a net gain of two seats in Congress from North Carolina, something that we thought was just impossible weeks ago. 

JD Wooten: So you won reelection in 2020, meaning you've now been in the general assembly for a little over three years. What are some of the accomplishments you're proud of there? 

Wiley Nickel: Number one, just what we're talking about, redistricting. I serve on the Senate redistricting committee. I've fought for these maps for the last year. Every week meetings about strategy, how we can get to where we are with these, and we've gotten much better maps. So that's something that I think is really important. And there's so many issues that sort of follow from getting to fair maps, but really the biggest thing that we've done in the Senate is we have been able to sustain vetos. Governor Cooper has not had a single veto overridden since I've been in the Senate, and that's a host of issues from a tax on voting rights attacks on women's reproductive health rights tax on the environment, we've been able to say no, and it's been incredibly important for North Carolina to be able to, get compromise on issues and to stop bad bills from becoming law. 

JD Wooten: I really do think that that's critical for stopping bad things like HB2 coming back to the forefront. 

Wiley Nickel: For everybody listening, the races for the state legislature incredibly important, again, this time it's going to be a real fight to be able to sustain vetoes for the governor's in the last two years in office. And if we don't get to that number, Republicans will meet in private and create laws, the governor will veto them and they will override his veto over and over and over again, and all the things like, HB2, we will see that kind of stuff, the attacks on voting rights, and our women's reproductive health rights those will come right at us. So it's critical that folks get out and vote all the way down the ticket. Cheri Beasley would be the Chief Judge on the Supreme Court right now. If, folks just continued voting and, so that's just going to be critical. But at the top of the ticket, we've got Cheri Beasley now running for the U.S. Senate. You have two Supreme court races that truly matter. And this Congressional seat will be the most competitive by far in our state. 

JD Wooten: If you were forced to focus on just two top priorities in your first year in Congress, what would they be? 

Wiley Nickel: The top of the list is gotta be voting rights. We got to make it easier to vote, not harder. We have a number of bills that have moved through the House that are stalled in the Senate that would just do just that. So that's going to be a top priority for me. And then number two, jobs and the economy, we've got to tackle wealth and income inequality and a system that just doesn't work for everybody at the same time. So one of the first places I would start would be renewing the child tax credit that was hugely important for my constituents, but there's a lot we can do to help improve our economy. And that's the main question we've had in the state legislature, , are we going to continue massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, are going to make those investments in public education, in the environment, and our infrastructure? And it's the same in Washington. We need to make those big changes so that everybody's got a fair shot. 

JD Wooten: Senator Nickel, anything we've missed that you'd like to highlight for our listeners today?

Wiley Nickel: No, I'm just glad to be with you today, and I think it's just important to say when you run for office, you lived run for a seat like this. This is a seat where every vote will really matter, every dollar will matter, and if you're on the wrong side of an issue, there's nowhere to hide in a seat like this. So we're excited about doing a positive message about things we can do to improve people's economy, improve the economy, improve people's lives and have a real competition for the best ideas. And Democrats only control the U S House with six seats. So every seat like this, especially as the competitive ones are critically important and winning this race could literally be the difference between holding control of Congress, , in the U S house or not. So this is one that, , we're really matter and we're excited about the chance to get out there and talk about who's got the best ideas. 

JD Wooten: Yeah there not a whole lot of candidates who can get out there and say, this really may be the bellwether race. This really may be the tipping point race for who controls the chamber after the election. I think when we are talking about one of those races, like the race for the 13th Congressional District, it's tremendously important to amplify that because you're right. Every vote, every dollar, every message is critical. So on that note, where can people go to learn more about you, your campaign, sign up to volunteer, donate, and so forth? 

Wiley Nickel: The best place is our website. It's Wiley Nickel for Congress, and they'll have links to our social media pages, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all places where you can learn more. 

JD Wooten: Thank you so much for doing this. 

Wiley Nickel: JD, thanks again. It was great to be with you.

JD Wooten: With me today is Crystal Cavalier, an Alamance county native running to represent the North Carolina fourth congressional district. The newly drawn fourth congressional district includes Alamance, Orange Durham, Person, and Granville Counties. Welcome Crystal! 

Crystal Cavalier: Oh, thank you so much. no hall PP say me and my crystal, me and my Watson.

So I just gave you a traditional two to low grieving. I am relearning our language that our ancestors spoke here. And it's the language that the land recognizes because this was the first language that was spoken here. So thanks for having me on your podcast. 

JD Wooten: You bet. So can you tell us a little more about yourself, your background? 

Crystal Cavalier: My grandparents would always hold these events or attend these parties locally to meet the candidates and one candidate was State Senator George Daniels. George Daniels would come and he would just come through our community. And I remember just sitting down and talking to him when I was in high school. And he was talking to me about the Senate page program and where you could go work with your legislator. And I was like, wow, that sounds so exciting. And, you know, I did it and I worked with his office. I can't remember how long it was, but I learned so much about the general assembly and how things worked. You know, that just kind of really got my involvement in politics.

 I just want the listeners to know that the reason I'm running is to represent the underrepresented and the unrepresented people. Because I feel people like me and the life experiences that I've had such as working for the federal government, living in the community, living in a rural community, growing up on a family farm actually living in two different parts of North Carolina. I found myself in a pre pandemic immersed in local justice battles for the environment. Local battles for equal treatment and justice under the law. And just personally being manipulated by the medical system social service systems in the judicial system. And I told myself that something has got to change because I know if I'm experiencing this there's hundreds and thousands of other people experiencing this. I'm just running to give people their voice back and to give back a sense of community.

JD Wooten: Turning to your involvement here in North Carolina and the Democratic Party, I understand you actually founded the North Carolina Democratic Party's Native American Caucus, and I believe you helped charter nearly a dozen, maybe more county caucuses across the state while you were president of the state caucus?

Crystal Cavalier: I did. 

JD Wooten: That's a lot of organizing,

Crystal Cavalier: It was hard to tell you the truth. I only wanted to just do Alamance County, but then I talked to one of our party chairs. Then he suggested that we go to the state. Sean Ewing was like, you should do it for the whole state. We actually wrote the bylaws in the constitution and we presented it at one of the SEC meetings and it was adopted. And I was like, wow, I can't believe this had never happened before. But then I was like, what am I going to do? How am I going to find other people like me that want to be involved?

And what we did was we just started to locally outreach and then it kind of spread out. And then I reached out to a couple of friends that I had made in some grassroots work and they would introduce me to their friends and say, oh, they might be interested in that. And so that's how we were able to organize and mobilize throughout the state. I had an ambitious goal of getting a hundred counties chartered, but that would take years to do that. 

JD Wooten: That's a long-term plan.

Crystal Cavalier: That's a long-term plan. But getting those getting that those 10 counties chartered was huge and it helped give visibility to invisible group of people, because we always knew there was native Americans here. If you didn't learn about them in college or other places like attending pow-wows or something, you would never know that there's a whole state of Native American still here in North Carolina, because in the K-12 curriculum, we only learned about the Eastern Band of Cherokee who were federally recognized. We didn't learn about the other seven state recognized tribes such as my tribe. They didn't even teach us about the local indigenous people here in Alamance County. And I'm just like, you guys have a whole host of lived and learned experience that you can bring into your classroom and have them talk about their contributions to Alamance County. But again, that's a whole curriculum issue and it's being able to address this invisibility issue. I really think the K-12 could benefit from learning about local indigenous people. I do honestly feel that sometimes these divisive tactics or politics that are being spewed or spoken about it's just ignorance. People are just not using common sense when they're talking about things like this. 

JD Wooten: I do want to turn to healthcare access. I understand you've had some challenges navigating the healthcare system yourself and your own family. Can you tell us a little about that, and some of the changes you plan to fight for in Congress? 

Crystal Cavalier: So I'll give you two examples. So one coming from active duty military family. When we became retired, our access to care changed, going from living two hours away from army installation, you know, our copays changed, we went to Tricare Standard. It was hard to pay for these annual enrollment fees and network copayments. So my daughter, she actually experienced another healthcare crisis. She was diagnosed with another autoimmune disease, type one diabetes. And that was the reason that I actually moved home. What I found is insulin is a lot. My daughter needs insulin daily because she no longer has the ability for her pancreas to make it. Insulin is very expensive without insurance. Without insurance, it was $2,000 a month. But now with insurance, we pay $300 a month. And coming from a working family, $300 is still a lot of money.

JD Wooten: $2,000 a month is a nice house payment, that has a nice house. And that's a tremendous reduction to go down to $300 a month, but even still $300 a month. That's huge. 

Crystal Cavalier: Right. And that's just one medicine. We pay probably about six, $700 a month just buying medicine.

JD Wooten: I'm sure that doesn't cover the regular visits you've got to have and yeah. 

Crystal Cavalier: Yeah, it's crazy. But at the beginning of my campaign in January, my mom suffered a healthcare crisis. She actually suffered a stroke. And she's on Medicare. And I had to quickly learn to navigate Medicare for her because she had a really bad stroke. And what I found out is sometimes Medicare doesn't pay for the necessary things that she needs. And so we've been taking care of her at home while going through this campaign. So I've experienced that. I'm really for Medicare for all. 

All of these things that I'm fighting for are all intertwined together. Like affordable housing is intertwined with medical care because at the end of the day, people have to live and they have to have livable wages. So we've seen the cost of living rise exponentially, but the cost of what they're paying these people. I'm telling you $7.25 for minimum wage, that's nothing you're still going, you know, from check to check and people cannot continue to live this way. Not sustainably. 

JD Wooten: I love this idea that it's all interconnected together. What would be your top three priorities, knowing that all of these things are interconnected and they all impact each other?

Crystal Cavalier: First, the international introduction to the rights of mother nature and grandmother earth. What we're talking about, giving rights to rivers, to the water. To be represented as a person, because we have to be able to sue these corporations or take action against these corporations who continue to do these detrimental things. Because I always say the health of the water determines the health of the people. 

Secondly, I would talk about medicare for all and healthcare for all, we should not have to worry about just having access to that. 

 Then finally affordable housing for people. There's a huge epidemic in Durham. I've seen it in orange county. I've even seen it here in Alamance county. Well, we have these people who have just had a bad turn in life and they are out on the streets and there's nothing that we can do to help them and they need affordable programs that they can access. 

 And that all ties in together with women's rights, equal pay for women, that also ties into veterans, because I see a lot of veterans who have mental health issues coming back from a war. And it is heartbreaking that we turn our veterans loose. The VA health care system is not the best in the world and they need mental health solutions. They have to be able to learn to cope and deal with these traumatic experiences. 

JD Wooten: What else do you want prospective voters to know about you before they go cast their ballot? 

Crystal Cavalier: I want them to visit my website, you can learn more about me and I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to be on your podcast. 

JD Wooten: Crystal, thank you again for being with us today.

Crystal Cavalier: Thank you so much.

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JD Wooten: Thanks again for tuning in today. If you want to hear the full interviews for any of these candidates, or learn more about them and ways to support them, links are in the show notes. Share this episode with a few friends so we can help get out the word about these great candidates, and if you haven’t already, GO VOTE! Together, we can achieve a better North Carolina for everyone!

Interview with Valerie Foushee
Interview with Wiley Nickel
Interview with Crystal Cavalier