Carolina Democracy

Hacked Emails & Medicaid Expansion Talking Points!

June 13, 2022 JD Wooten Episode 23
Carolina Democracy
Hacked Emails & Medicaid Expansion Talking Points!
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome back to Carolina Democracy! Today, we’re joined by State Senator Michael Garrett to discuss the recent surprises out of the NC Senate -- Medicaid Expansion, Medical Marijuana, and "HB2, Classroom Edition" -- and his reflections on his first two terms in the state senate. Plus, highlights from the January 6th Committee Hearing last week.

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Michael Garrett: Sitting on the floor of the Senate when we were having the Medicaid Expansion debate this last time, I felt like they had hacked my emails and were reading our talking points on Medicaid Expansion. It was heartwarming to know they'd been listening to us over the last 10 years.

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JD Wooten: Welcome back to Carolina Democracy. Today I’m joined by State Senator Michael Garrett, who represents District 27 in Guilford County, to talk about some of the recent surprises, good and bad, coming out of the State Senate. We also talked about some of his background and past campaigns, and why he’s running for re-election now. We had a great chat, especially given that he was on the senate floor when Phil Berger and dozens of Republicans suddenly changed their tune to support Medicaid Expansion. Unfortunately, that means he was also there to witness and speak out against what he’s dubbed HB2, Classroom Edition, or North Carolina’s very own Don’t Say Gay Bill.

But before we get to that interview, a few reminders. First, if you enjoy this episode, please share it with a friend or two who might be interested. We want our guests to reach the largest audience possible to help spread their message, but to do that, we need your help. We have seen some amazing growth over the first few months of this project, but I’m convinced there’s a vast audience of concerned, engaged North Carolinians who would love to hear from our local and state candidates. Help us reach them by sharing this episode, or any other episode you think they might like.

Also, quick reminder that numerous counties and municipalities have run off primary elections or general elections on July 26th. Here’s a list of municipalities and counties with something on the ballot July 26th, so if you’re in one of these places, look into it: Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Hickory, Mooresville, Sanford, Cary, Elizabeth City, Erwin, Henderson, New Bern, Rocky Mount, Statesville, Caswell County, Edgecombe County, Franklin County, Granville County, Graham County, and Wake County. Early voting for these elections will run from July 7th to July 23rd, with election day being July 26th. The Absentee Ballot Request Portal is also open online, and I’ll leave that link in the show notes. Again, check your local board of elections website for details.

Now, for the news impacting democracy right here in North Carolina from this past week. There really wasn’t anything bigger or more important than the kickoff of the public hearings of the January 6th Committee. I tried not to get my hopes up too much given the impact past hearings have had, but still, I tried to at least have some hope that this committee might actually be able to tie together what happened on that day and the days leading up to it in a way that might break through to a few people. I mean, I’ve been convinced from the outset that President Trump was responsible, or culpable in some sense, for the events of that day. But to what extent was a mystery at first and has slowly come to light in the 17 months since it happened. Still, there are a lot of questions that remain.

Committee Chair Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney laid out compelling opening arguments and the roadmap for what we should expect from the hearings. I may not agree with Congresswoman Cheney on much policy wise, but on the core questions of upholding and protecting our democracy and democratic norms, let’s just say we clearly share some values. If you haven’t heard the full hearings, or read the transcript, I strongly encourage you to do so. You can even listen at 1.5 or 2x to save some time given the delivery pace of most of the speakers. I’ll leave links to both a recording and a transcript in the show notes.

The committee also laid out a road map of what the future hearings will show, and I’ll do my best to include highlights after future hearings as well. For those who haven’t heard this past week’s hearing, I pulled a few clips which I think really sum it up. I also sped some of them up just slightly to better fit the pacing of a podcast as opposed to Congressional Hearing pace, hope you won’t mind. Congressman Bennie Thompson said this:

Bennie Thompson: It was domestic enemies of the Constitution who stormed the Capitol and occupied the Capitol, who sought to thwart the will of the people, to stop the transfer of power. And so, they did so at the encouragement of the president of the United States, the president of the United States trying to stop the transfer of power, a precedent that had stood for 220 years, even as our democracy had faced its most difficult test.

JD Wooten: Congressman Thompson also included this excerpt of testimony from former Attorney General Bill Barr: 

Bill Barr: I had three discussions with the president that I can recall. One was on November 23rd, one was on December 1st, and one was on December 14th. And I've been through sort of the give and take of those discussions. And in that context, I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the president was bullshit. And, you know, I didn't want to be a part of it, and that's one of the reasons that went into me deciding to leave when I did. I observed, I think it was on December 1st, that, you know, how can we — you can't live in a world where — where the incumbent administration stays in power based on its view, unsupported by specific evidence, that the election — that there was fraud in the election.

JD Wooten: Finally, Congressman Thompson included this conclusion in his opening remarks:

Bennie Thompson: Donald Trump was at the center of this conspiracy, and ultimately Donald Trump, the president of the United States, spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution to march down the Capitol and subvert American democracy. January 6th was the culmination of an attempted coup, a brazen attempt, as one rioter to put it shortly after January 6th, to overthrow the government. The violence was no accident. It represents seeing Trump's last stand, most desperate chance to halt the transfer of power.

JD Wooten: Congresswoman Liz Cheney also had powerful words:

Liz Cheney: On this point, there is no room for debate. Those who invaded our capital and battled law enforcement for hours were motivated by what President Trump had told them, that the election was stolen and that he was the rightful President. President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Tonight, I am going to describe for you some of what our committee has learned. On the morning of January 6th, President Donald Trump's intention was to remain President of the United States despite the lawful outcome of the 2020 election and in violation of his constitutional obligation to relinquish power. President Trump ignored the rulings of our nation' s courts. He ignored his own campaign leadership, his White House staff, many Republican state officials. He ignored the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. President Trump invested millions of dollars of campaign funds purposely spreading false information, running ads he knew were false, and convincing millions of Americans that the election was corrupt and that he was the true President. As you will see, this misinformation campaign provoked the violence on January 6th. In our country, we don't swear an oath to an individual or a political party. We take our oath to defend the United States Constitution. And that oath must mean something. Tonight I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible. There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.

JD Wooten: So, there you have it. “January 6th was the culmination of an attempted coup, a brazen attempt…to overthrow the government.” I’d say that’s about damning as it gets, short of having been successful. And while I’m still enraged over the events of that day, I’m also sad and infuriated that so many on the radical right want to ignore it, down play it, or pretend it never happened. There is still a very real threat to our democracy from those who tried, and would try again given the opportunity, to overthrow our democratically elected government. I look forward to hearing what else the committee has found, and I’ll keeping doing my part to support candidates who share my democratic values.

And on that note, don’t forget that you can support many of these same candidates in the most competitive races by donating to the 2022 Legislative and Judicial Slates at Carolina Forward. Donating to the slate means your contribution gets divided evenly between the most competitive legislative and judicial campaigns, and 100% of your contribution goes directly to the candidates. Links for both of these slates are in the show notes.

Now, without further ado, here’s my interview with State Senator Michael Garrett.

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JD Wooten: With me today is State Senator Michael Garrett who represents District 27, Guildford County, in the North Carolina Senate. Welcome Senator Garrett. 

Michael Garrett: Thanks for having me JD. Good to be with you. 

JD Wooten: Absolutely. So first question for you right out the gate. What's your earliest memory of politics or getting involved in politics?

Michael Garrett: The first time I got involved in politics was the first time my mother ran for school board. I think I was 14 and wasn't able to drive yet. And I was her campaign manager. So you know, going to different community events, town halls. You know, school board campaign, so a lot of school visits, of course. That was really my first foray into politics.

JD Wooten: Oh, I love it. Now I thought introductory question out of the way, maybe next we could do something a little different than I usually do. At most campaign events, candidate, forums, political fundraisers, and the like a host often says a few introductory remarks and then the candidate gives their pitch. So for our listeners who perhaps haven't had the chance to attend one of your events yet, and I'm sure that they will I thought we could recreate that in a little bit of an abbreviated format. So I'll introduce. Again, very briefly. And then you can give us maybe the first two minutes or so of what would normally be your intro remarks at an in-person event, sound fair? 

Michael Garrett: Sounds great. 

JD Wooten: All right. Picking up from introducing you as the State Senator from Guilford County, Senator Garrett has served in the State Senate since 2018. He's a product of both Guilford County public schools and UNC Greensboro. In college, he studied business administration, marketing, and economics. And today he's a small business owner working in marketing. Senator Garrett's family is no stranger to public service with his mother having spent two decades on the Guilford County Board of Education. Senator Garrett first ran for the State Senate in 2016 against Trudy Wade, the Republican incumbent, who seemed to have a bit of a chip on her shoulder against the City of Greensboro and was frequently seen as quite adversarial to the Democratic majority in the county, to say the least. He ran a great race in 2016, but between gerrymandering and incredibly high turnout for those supporting the former president, he came up just short. Still, he built a strong coalition and supporter base that just two years later let him continue that fight to swing a nearly eight point loss in 2016 to win in 2018 and flip that Senate seat from red to blue. He continued to build on that momentum with a convincing victory in 2020. And he's now running for reelection in 2022 to continue the important work he started in the State Senate fighting to improve public education, increase access to health coverage, ban gerrymandering, and support an economy built for working families. Welcome Senator Garrett. 

Michael Garrett: Well, thank you, JD, for that very thoughtful introduction, I actually might vote for that guy you just described. As you've noted, I've run for office several times over the years, and whether those campaigns ended in defeat or victory, the core reason of why I have always run is this. And it's simple. I believe North Carolina's brightest days are ahead of us, not behind. But to believe that, and to make that belief of reality, it's not a given it takes effective, responsive leadership to turn that belief into reality. And the issues that drove me to run for the Senate are the same as they always have been. You know, I believe North Carolina government should put everyday North Carolinians first, in the forefront of their mind ahead of large corporations, special interests, and that means number one, something that we've made meaningful progress on, expanding Medicaid so that our most vulnerable neighbors have critical health coverage that they and their families need. And I am really optimistic and excited to share that last week we made an important step by passing Medicaid Expansion out of the State Senate. Number two, I think we should fully fund our education system so that classrooms are well-resourced and headed by the best teachers anywhere in this country. And number three to foster state economy that propels small businesses to succeed in which no one working a job lives in poverty. It also means combating climate change to preserve this planet for future generations. Like you said, it means ending gerrymandering once and for all, no matter which party draws the maps. And it means protecting the right to vote because nothing, nothing is more core to saving our democracy. You know, in my first two terms in office I've helped to move the ball forward of many of these issues, some more than others. Last year, I negotiated a bipartisan energy law, which forces big energy producers like Duke Energy to cut their emissions by 70% by 2030, and be net zero by 2050. I, along with our rock star team here in Guilford County, has helped to bring thousands of new, good paying, new economy jobs to the Triad like Toyota and Boom Superstar. Those are just two of the latest announcements, but we've got more to come. And I'm running for reelection to the Senate because there is so much more work still to be done to ensure our children inherit a fair, safer, and more just, prosperous North Carolina than we have today. If voters choose to honor me with another two years representing their interest in Raleigh, I promise that as always, they can have no greater advocate. Thank you.

JD Wooten: Well, thanks Senator Garrett. I might vote for that guy too. 

Michael Garrett: Ha, I appreciate it. 

JD Wooten: So that was great. Hopefully our listeners enjoyed a little bit of what they can expect when they attend your future events. So when you won in 2018, you were part of the group who gave Democrats enough seats in the General Assembly to break the GOP supermajority and sustain Governor Cooper's veto. You've now been in the general assembly for well over three years. And you've talked about some of the things that you've managed to accomplish, but how would you say overall that experience has been in those first two terms? 

Michael Garrett: Every day is a new adventure and a new battle. You know, some days are more dramatic than others. You know, making the drive from Guilford County to Raleigh every day during the week while we're in session gives you a lot of time to think and to reflect and to listen to great podcasts like this one about what you're really doing and why you're there. And breaking the supermajority was absolutely critical for the future of this state. And protecting the seats that we have and the margin we have is absolutely critical to making sure that the General Assembly can't override Governor Cooper's veto after the next election. And often, serving in the minority with a pretty partisan majority there's not a lot of bipartisan work that gets done often. I've highlighted a couple of places where we've been able to make some meaningful progress, but I've been there three years and I can count on one hand that kind of legislation that I've witnessed moving through the chamber. And often, I get a little discouraged thinking about, you know, really what we're here for is just stopping bad stuff from happening. Because sustaining the veto is the firewall on the terrible voter suppression bills we've seen in Georgia and Texas. It's the firewall between banning abortions which we fear will be coming down the pipe if the Supreme Court overturns Roe V. Wade. It is the firewall from the systematic defunding of public education in this state. And so while often, stopping bad stuff from happening isn't that inspiring, when I sit on the floor in the Senate and the picture of my kids right there, that's really what it's about. And we're stopping the state from taking steps backwards so that at some point in the near future, and it may be up to the next generation, they'll be able to take meaningful steps forward that really bring to fruition, the North Carolina, that all of us hope, aspire, and dream to realize.

JD Wooten: Yeah, it's tough to think about, but it certainly seems that the most important function for the Democratic minority right now is that critical veto sustaining effort to make sure that good leaders like Governor Cooper aren't cut out of the process altogether. 

Michael Garrett: Right

JD Wooten: So every poll I've seen has the economy and inflation as the overwhelming number one priority of people right now. That may or may not change as we get closer to the election, but if things stay the way they are, I suspect that won't change a whole lot. So as a small business owner, I'm sure you have some thoughts on what we can do at the state level to help address this. And I think you also just recently introduced legislation for a gas tax rebate. Can you tell us a little about that and anything else you think we can or should be doing to help people out right now? 

Michael Garrett: Sure. So, I mean, I think it's first, it's important, I think for folks to kind of understand how we got here. No one can say inflation doesn't exist. Whether you're going to the gas pump, you're going to the pharmacy, you're just go into the grocery store, you're seeing it every day everywhere you turn. You know, there are a couple of contributing ,factors though, driving inflation. One is just easy monetary policy and the Federal Reserve Board that's behind the curve. And for folks that don't know my past career was investment banking, so it's kinda my wheelhouse. Two, war Ukraine, which is disrupted supply chains because a lot of raw materials that go into finished goods comes from that region. But probably the largest driver is really reopening a global economy that was completely shut down because of COVID. It was shut down in the matter of weeks, and that's never been done before in human history. So when you're reopening a global economy, that is actually fairly robust, I mean, unemployment is at historical lows, demand is off the charts, supply chains are broken, inflation is going to be a by-product of all of that combined together. All of that to be said, what can we do to help folks feel the pinch a little less, because there's no escaping it? And, you know, state government, there's not a lot we can do. But we have introduced a few things. One, bring back the back to school sales tax holiday. The Democratic Caucus in the Senate have introduced a series of bills called our economic agenda, and one is to bring back the sales tax holiday so that when people are going back to school, which they will be in about two months, you know, they don't have that extra burden of the sales tax on school supplies. To bring back the earned income tax credit, which we used to have in this state, just tax break for working families. We called it, the Income Protection Act when we filed it in the Senate this time hoping maybe the Republicans would be interested if we changed the name of it. So far, that hasn't seemed to work, but it was a good college try. So, you know, that's, that's a great tax break for working families that could really go far. That's part of our economic agenda.

And then the gas tax rebate. I had a lot of folks you know, when I think Maryland suspended their gas tax, there were a dozen states or so that suspended their gas tax, that reached out, "why is North Carolina not suspending the gas tax? Why is the governor not?" The governor in our state doesn't have that authority to do it. It takes an act of the legislature. And when we started to really dig into the details if we just suspend the gas tax, it creates other issues for the state. It would have an impact on the highway trust fund, which funds the maintenance and construction of our roads, bridges, and highways in this state. Also, there was no way to guarantee if we suspended the gas tax, that the retailers would actually pass those savings on to consumers. And then folks who are just passing through North Carolina are going to get the benefit of our roads, bridges, and highways, but not be paying their fair share for the upkeep. So our solution was, let's figure out what the average North Carolina driver would pay in gas tax from July 1st to the end of the year and send them a rebate check. So that's what we did. It's about $1.3 billion, but we are sitting on a $6 billion surplus right now. So it's about 20% of the surplus that we're sending back to North Carolinians directly into tax rebate check. And it actually is an idea that's getting traction with Republican leadership. So I do imagine that we will see some form of either a gas tax rebate or credit in this budget that we're working on right now. 

JD Wooten: That's great. Speaking of things that both sides have managed to work together on, we've had some surprises come out of the State Senate here in the last few weeks. You've long been a supporter of Medicaid Expansion as you discussed earlier. And in a surprising twist, I will say, the State Senate passed Medicaid Expansion by an overwhelming margin. What are your thoughts on how that came to be? Especially if there maybe are any lessons learned that we can keep in mind for the future?

Michael Garrett: You know, it's a confluence of events that brought us to this point. One it's very strong and effective leadership from Governor Cooper who has, this has been one of his top priorities since he first was elected in 2016. You know, it is a solid Senate Democratic Caucus that has held the line working hand in hand with the Governor on these key priorities, like Medicaid Expansion. It's the American Rescue Plan that Congress passed had increased incentives for states that had not expanded Medicaid to actually expand it. And, we've also have witnessed the collapsing of rural health care systems across North Carolina. And we have had Republican board commissioners send letters to the legislature saying, please expand Medicaid. This is not a political issue anymore. It's a life or death issue for a lot of the folks in our communities. And I think all along Republicans knew it was the right thing to do. Sitting on the floor of the Senate when we were having the Medicaid Expansion debate this last time, I felt like they had hacked my emails and were reading our talking points on Medicaid Expansion. You know, so it was heartwarming to know they'd been listening to us over the last 10 years, but you know... 

JD Wooten: That's a great way to put it.

Michael Garrett: That's right. That's right. So, you know, think it's all of those factors coming together that created a great opportunity and created space for them to, you know, change their mind. And I have to give Senator Berger great credit. He had really thoughtful and borderline emotional comments, I felt like on the floor. They were as close to I have ever heard a politician say I was wrong and I've changed my mind. And I do respect and appreciate that. And, they made many of the arguments we've been making for the last 10 years, but I think it is to sum it up, it's the federal incentives that is just a no-brainer and you really can't afford to turn the money down to some additional $3 billion the state of North Carolina. It's the economics it's I think cone health foundation had a study that was updated in 2019, that it was close to 40,000 jobs created in this state by expanding Medicaid and 1700 here in Guilford County alone. You know, it's about 600,000 people that are going to have access to healthcare who don't now. And then, by the way, if you do have healthcare, it's going to drive costs down by seven to 11% based on what we've seen happen in other states that expanded Medicaid. So all of those arguments finally found a home and you know, it's, I think, lessons learned are to focus on building bipartisan coalitions with people outside the building to apply pressure. And so, you know, people that live in the real world who are not stuck in the beltway and stuck in the legislative building that are actually talking to constituents. If we can build coalitions with those people on opposite sides of the aisle on issues where we have common interests, I think we can make meaningful progress. And it shows the power of local government. 

JD Wooten: Yeah, when I read some of the comments made in support, I just kind of had this moment of well, yeah, duh. And things have been so divisive now for several years and having run on these points, almost this like internal desire to attack, you know, being so late to the game. And then I just had to pause and say, wait a minute, that's what we want. Welcome.

Michael Garrett: It was tough to listen to because you know, it's not. It had become such a partisan political issue, Medicaid expansion and Healthcare generally speaking, has become that way, but these are real people with real lives and they have come to the legislature building, in my first term, I had a lady, a non well, I had a doctor come down and told me this heartbreaking story of a patient she lost. Cause she didn't have access to healthcare and a permittable cancer or treatable cancer took her life and orphaned her child and, you know, stories like that are heartbreaking but preventable. And we've had the power to prevent it this whole time and to do something. And we just, we don't because of politics. And that is one of the most frustrating parts of this job. And whether it's healthcare, whether it's guns, whether it's gerrymandering, all of it, politics always is getting in the way of actually helping people. And that's the most frustrating part. 

JD Wooten: Yeah, so in another surprising shift, the State Senate also passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana. Did that surprise you?

Michael Garrett: I guess, yes, I would have given it a 25% chance if I'm putting odds on it. Senator Rabon who is Rules Chair, which is the most powerful Committee in the Senate was the lead sponsor. So, with that coming out of the gate, you knew it had a chance. But the caucus, the Republican Caucus, has been pretty backwards looking, I think, when it comes to some of these issues when it comes to cannabis legalization and decriminalization and things like that. So, it did surprise me. But what surprised me more was actually how many voted for it. I think there were only 10, no votes. You know, I voted for it. I don't think it goes far enough, personally. It leaves out a lot of the help that it could provide for people suffering from addiction or chronic pain. Doesn't really address that. But I'm hoping that down the road, you know, this is a baby step that down the road, we can go further and make it actually a meaningful public policy where it can have real impact for the people that need it most in this state. 

JD Wooten: Incremental steps are better than no steps at all. 

Michael Garrett: That's right.

JD Wooten: So rumors are that despite these tremendous milestones of getting Medicaid Expansion and medical cannabis legalization through the State Senate, the State House might not have the appetite to take these bills. What are your thoughts on that? Do you think there's any horse trading to be done there?

Michael Garrett: There's always horse trading to be done. And that tends to be how it plays out every time, no matter what the bill is, or if we're talking about the budget you know, it gets over to the other chamber and if it's the House, or the Senate leadership, they say, no, we're not going to touch that. And then behind the scenes negotiations are happening on other things that folks are working on. And at the end of the day, right before we're about to adjourn. Oh, all of a sudden people found, found the votes to get it passed. So the medical marijuana, I think we'll have a tougher challenge getting through the House because I think the House has an even more conservative caucus then the Senate Caucus is currently, but I I'm holding out hope that Medicaid expansion will find its way to pass the House because I think there is room to negotiate what was in the Medicaid Expansion bill? I think Senator Berger put stuff in there intentionally to create room to negotiate between he and the Speaker. And I'm confident that they'll find a way to get it passed because the Speaker has been supportive of Medicaid Expansion in the past. So he just needs to find a way to find the votes. And I'm confident in his ability to lead his caucus, to do that. 

JD Wooten: Certainly, well, I hope you're right on that. And I hope that works out. And you alluded to it. And I think that it's absolutely important to remind people this is not just a clean Medicaid Expansion bill, despite the fact that that being kind of the flagship part of it. This is like a decade long push for all kinds of healthcare reform with certificate of need laws, advanced practice certificates, all kinds of stuff in that bill.

Michael Garrett: Right.

JD Wooten: So of course we also saw the State Senate passed something that you dubbed "HB2, classroom edition." Others have noted that this is essentially a copycat of Florida's Don't Say "Gay" Bill, with Governor Cooper, having already spoken against it. I think he said something to the effect of keep the culture wars out of our classrooms. So I assume he'll veto it if it gets to his desk. Anything you want to say on that bill? 

Michael Garrett: It is, to me you know, I was pretty vocal about that piece of legislation. I spoke against it on the Senate floor. And as you correctly stated, did dub it "HB2, classroom edition." And I think North Carolinians know all too well the cost of state sanctioned bigotry. And we don't need to be going down that path again. I mean, we are having tremendous success with people wanting to move to our state, businesses, companies wanting to move to our state. People want to move here to start a business. You know, aside from it's wrong and it's bullying children and making teachers you know, rat there students out to parents and there's a lot of real issues with what it does for child protective services and certain ways that it will hamstring that. It was just a terrible piece of legislation that I don't think was really ever drafted to become law. It was something they thought would be great to fire up the base and then use to attack us in campaigns. But I think we did a good job, we introduced our own parents bill of rights, because like everyone, everybody thinks parents should be involved in their children's education. Like it was a head-scratcher we were having this debate. But you know, the stuff that they put in which it was a copy and paste, and there's been a lot of copying and pasting from Florida and Texas in the North Carolina legislature lately, but it was a copy and paste of the, Don't Say "Gay" Bill out of Florida. And you know, our kids and our teachers deserve better than that trash. So, I am confident that if the House passes it, which there are rumors now the house won't even take it up, because I think we successfully damaged the bill. I think the bringing up the ghost of HB2 reminded Republicans of what that cost them in the past. So if the House were to take it out, the Governor would definitely veto it. And then his veto would be sustained in the North Carolina Senate with all 22 Democrats backing. 

JD Wooten: That's a great reminder of just one more example of why it's going to be so critical, not just critical that we have the 22 Senate Democrats now, but so critical that we maintain, maybe grow your caucus. 

Michael Garrett: Twenty-six would be nice. 

JD Wooten: Twenty-six would be great. So we've talked a lot about what's going on right now in the General Assembly, but as we discussed at the outset, you're also a candidate on the ballot in November. Anything that we've missed, that you really want people to know about your campaign platform and why people should support you?

Michael Garrett: No. I think, you know, we covered a lot in the very beginning about the campaign and what my values are and what I've been working on and what I continue to work on and the amount of work that is left to be done. I look at folks and I judge them not by what they say, but by what they do. And I hope that people will judge my candidacy in the same light. Look at the bills that I've sponsored and my voting record and decide for yourself whether or not I'm doing a good job of fighting for you and your family and what your values are. And there are going to be people who don't share my values and they're not going to vote for me and that's fine. But I'm going to keep fighting for them whether they do or don't, that's how I approach the job. I am a Democrat, but I represent everyone, whether they can vote or not in Guilford County and in the State of North Carolina for that matter. And that's how I continue to approach the work. 

JD Wooten: So most important question of the day. Where can people go to learn more about you and your campaign? Maybe sign up to volunteer, donate, and so forth?

Michael Garrett: Well, I really appreciate you asking that question. is our website address. My email is So feel free to reach out if there's ever anything I can do to help folks. Send us an email to subscribe to our newsletter. Also find us on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and stay connected. There are a lot of negatives to social media, but the positives, I can keep conversations like the one we're having going after the cameras turned off. 

JD Wooten: Well, I can vouch for that. And I enjoy following along with your campaigns and your work in Raleigh. And thank you so much for joining me today. It's been a real pleasure. 

Michael Garrett: Thank you, JD, for having me. I appreciate it. And thanks for all your work putting in this podcast, it's very enlightening and informational and I enjoy many of the guests you have. I actually, I think I've enjoyed all the guests. I'll let you know when you have one that I don't. 

JD Wooten: I've always appreciated your feedback and I'll hold you to it. All right, thanks Senator Garrett. 

Michael Garrett: Thank you.

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JD Wooten: Thanks again to Senator Garrett for joining me today. Links are in the show notes to learn more about him and his campaign. If you have any questions or comments, send me an email at And again, please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and share this episode with a friend to help Senator Garrett reach the largest audience possible. Together, we can achieve a better North Carolina for everyone!


Interview with Michael Garrett
Closing Notes