Carolina Democracy

Democrats Deliver!

August 15, 2022 Episode 32
Democrats Deliver!
Carolina Democracy
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Carolina Democracy
Democrats Deliver!
Aug 15, 2022 Episode 32

Welcome back to Carolina Democracy! Today, we're joined by Mary Wills Bode to discuss her campaign for North Carolina Senate District 18, plus thoughts recent Democratic successes & the American Freedom Agenda!

Learn More About Mary Wills Bode:

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Welcome back to Carolina Democracy! Today, we're joined by Mary Wills Bode to discuss her campaign for North Carolina Senate District 18, plus thoughts recent Democratic successes & the American Freedom Agenda!

Learn More About Mary Wills Bode:

Other Resources: 

Carolina Forward:

Contact Us:

Follow Us:

Support the Show.

Mary Wills Bode: JD, we call this actually the best Senate District in North Carolina. So Senate District 18, the best Senate district in North Carolina.

JD Wooten: Well, I will let that stand just cause the district that I previously ran in no longer exists. 

Mary Wills Bode: There you go. Well, thank you. I appreciate that.

[music transition]

JD Wooten: Welcome to Carolina Democracy. I’m JD Wooten, and today we’re joined by Mary Wills Bode, an attorney and non-profit director who is running to represent the newly drawn North Carolina Senate District 18, covering Granville and northern Wake Counties. But first, let’s review some of the highlights from a wild week in national news.

On the plus side of the ledger, the House voted to approve the Inflation Reduction Act last Friday and President Biden is expected to sign it into law this week. The legislation will implement a massive amount of President Biden’s remaining campaign promises, including the largest climate and energy package ever passed. It also includes deficit reduction measures, several years of Affordable Care Act subsidies, prescription drug reform to lower prices, and tax reform. 

This comes as we’ve already started seeing gas prices come down from their summer highs, national inflation has started to dip, at least slightly, and job numbers are booming. The stock market is following along and generally, it appears that perhaps there is hope on the horizon that the economic climate is improving. Heck, even crypto seems to be stabilizing, to the extent that’s even such a thing, and maybe even ticking back up. The Inflation Reduction Act will hopefully make all of that progress just that much more likely to stick or get even better and target other areas not so easily addressed in the markets like prescription drug prices and energy initiatives.

Now, as with all things economics, I say that with an incredible amount of caution because any of those things could change quickly, for better or worse, and based entirely on factors out of the control of anyone in particular. And even if the current numbers and trajectory hold, we likely have a way to go to get inflation back down to more manageable levels. Regardless, let’s not overlook the good news at least as of today, a lot of economic indicators are moving in the right direction.

When combined with other major accomplishments of national Democrats like the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Chips and Science Act to bolster semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S., the first gun safety law passed in 30 years, more federal judges appointed at this point in a Presidency than any time since JFK, including appointing Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, more than 8 million jobs created, and so many other accomplishments, I think every Democrat running for office should be shouting from the rooftops that “Democrats Deliver!” Quit the bickering, naysaying, and all the grumbling for a bit about what didn’t make the cut and amplify the hell out of the message that Democrats Deliver.

Now, to be clear, that doesn’t mean we quit working on all those other things. But the media is like a hungry dog running around for scraps of food, and it will jump at every opportunity to highlight division, discord, and disarray. And all of those words marry too easily with the word Democrat for lazy clickbait, so quit feeding them the dumb shit and stay on message – Democrats Deliver. Al Gore was giving an interview with the Pod Save America crew last week and they tried multiple times to get him to comment on the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago. You could almost hear the screeching of the tires as he slammed the brakes every single time to pivot back to talking about the largest climate bill ever passed. That’s what every single Democrat running for office needs to do every single time there is a microphone or camera in front of them from now until November. Side note, if you don’t listen to Pod Save America, you should.

I’m not advocating that Democratic candidates should campaign on the “Democrats Deliver” message alone. We need to be forward looking in our campaign messaging, but don’t hesitate to start every speech, interview, candidate forum, etc., with that positive message to set the tone and bolster credibility, and then pivot to the American Freedom Agenda, credit to Dan Pfeiffer for the name and I like it. Others have adopted the idea and built on it, but basically, it involves taking back the word freedom from the GOP domain because it’s clear they are not interested in freedoms.

So how does this go? A candidate gets asked why are you a Democrat, or why are you running as a Democrat, or why should I (as a voter) cast my ballot for a Democrat? The answer goes something like this: “Democrats stand for freedom. Economic freedom, personal freedom, environmental freedom, and democratic freedom. Democrats believe that all people deserve the economic freedom that comes with livable wages and affordable healthcare. Democrats believe everyone deserves the personal freedom to make their own decisions on healthcare, including on abortion and contraception, who to marry, and to not live in fear of gun violence. Democrats believe in environmental freedom, the right to have clean drinking water and to live in a world not devastated by climate change. And Democrats believe in democracy and democratic freedom, the right to vote, the right to have one’s vote counted, the right to be free of dark money and gerrymandering so that your vote actually matters. Democrats believe in freedom, and I’m asking you to support freedom too.” Just some thoughts, take it or leave it I suppose.

Now, in other national news last week, we obviously had the FBI raid down at Mar-a-Lago. The right-wing ecosphere was quick to judge and jump to conclusions that the raid was unwarranted, abusive, unprecedented, etc. Most reasonable people simply acknowledged it looked bad, but we didn’t know enough to reach any conclusions. As the week went on, we learned the raid had to do with classified information possibly remaining after Trump sent back several boxes earlier this summer full of classified materials improperly transported to Mar-a-Lago. I remember thinking man, there has to be something there, or believed to be there, that poses a current national security threat for that level of intervention. Never in my wildest dreams did I actually think there might actually be classified materials related to nuclear secrets down there. I mean, that’s just brazen,  and dumb at its most basic.

The care we gave to those kinds of materials when I was in the military would make most people never again complain about two-step verification or long passwords for work computers and bank accounts. We’re talking entire facilities dedicated to not just keeping adversaries out, but also to keeping those secrets in. Some materials are only meant to be reviewed and discussed at such facilities, and at least based on what we know so far, it certainly looks like at least some of the 11 packages of classified information recovered by the FBI contained information that sensitive. And the irony of all this after Trump built an entire campaign around Hillary Clinton’s emails leaves me feeling like we really need a word much stronger than irony.

Anyways, I also commend Attorney General Garland for his press conference to defend the FBI and DOJ later in the week. He got in front of the media and clearly and unapologetically confirmed that he authorized the warrant and that the federal law enforcement agents he serves with are dedicated, patriotic public servants whose integrity was being unfairly attacked. We’ll see what comes of all this, but at the moment it certainly doesn’t look good and at least from what I can tell, a lot of national Republicans are trying to run away from this as quickly as possible because it’s hard to see how this doesn’t do some serious damage to those involved. But hey, we’ve been saying that since the Access Hollywood tape, so I’m also not going to get my hopes up just yet that we’ve finally hit a breaking point.

Ok, that’s probably enough with news. Earlier in the week, my plan was to discuss CPAC and the dangerous anti-democracy messages being thrown around down there, including by North Carolina’s own Lt. Governor Mark Robinson, but that material isn’t going anywhere. I think focusing on the major accomplishments of Democrats we have seen in the last few weeks, the good news on the economy in general, and some thoughts on messaging are plenty for now. Just know that CPAC continued to confirm that democracy is under serious threat from the radical right.

And here’s my weekly ask for this community – our efforts to help candidates spread their message relies on you helping spread those messages. We’re creating the content and spreading it as far as we can, but we need you, in your local communities, and in your friend group or coalition of supporters to spread it more. So please share this episode, and any others like it , to help our guests reach the largest audience possible.

Alright, now it’s time for my interview with Mary Wills Bode, hope you enjoy.

[music transition]

JD Wooten: With me today is Mary Wills Bode, who's running to represent District 18 in the North Carolina Senate. 

Mary Wills Bode: Welcome Mary Wills. Hey, thanks for having me JD. 

JD Wooten: You bet. All right, so first question, right to it. What's your earliest memory of politics or getting involved in politics? 

Mary Wills Bode: Oh my gosh, earliest memory in politics. So my parents actually met on a political campaign phone banking, so quick plug for phone banking. You never know who you're going to meet. So, I have the good fortune of growing up in a household of people who have been very civically involved. And I guess my earliest memory is my parents used to put me outside on let's see coats and name tag duty. So I got my early political experience taking folks' coats and handbags and writing their names on name tags. When I was, you know, in elementary school. 

JD Wooten: I think that's amazing. You know, also, you know, great plug for phone banking. I haven't heard a sell that was quite that good yet. And then in terms of, you know, that first impression, that's fascinating, but also just awesome. I mean, what better way to set the tone for just a relaxed, fun environment where everybody's just having a good time than to be met with the face of a young child who's excited about whatever event's about to happen. That just, that seems genius to me. 

Mary Wills Bode: Well, I will definitely let my parents know that. 

JD Wooten: Yeah. So we've started down your background. Let's go further though. You're a North Carolina native, a nonprofit executive director, and an attorney. Your parents have been very civically engaged. How did, aside from what you've already told us, you know, meeting and greeting people and, and those things, how did that general civic involvement of your parents, you know, shape your thinking today?

Mary Wills Bode: Yeah, great question. So you know, I grew up, like I mentioned, in a household of people who deeply devoted to North Carolina and to our country and to democracy and the values that we hold here. I think for my mom, my mom has always been an advocate for children. She was part of the team that started Smart Start, a program under Governor Hunt's administration for early childhood development and education. She worked very hard on juvenile justice. And from her, I have really learned the power of public policy. And bringing people together to solve problems to make people's lives better, and feel so fortunate that I've had an up close and personal view on a success story. And how we, we have to work towards that. How critically important it is to solve these problems and collaborate and make folks' lives better. And, you know, for my dad, you know, as someone who has fought for this country, I mean, he went to West Point and when he was 17 and then was sent to Vietnam in 1965, and was wounded and had to come back to the United States to learn how to walk. He spent a year learning how to walk again at Walter Reed. You know, what true sacrifice and commitment and patriotism looks like and how Republican and Democrat, this whole grand experiment is something so much bigger than that. And it's about making sure that we're working hard to make this a more perfect union and to really uphold and live up to those highest ideals. So, you know, between the two of them, they've given me so much in terms of insight into great leadership and people who are devoted to our state and our country and you know, looking forward to handing the torch as they pass it on.

JD Wooten: Well, that's great. So from there, how did that lead to, I think it was Wake Forest for your undergrad in economics, and then law school at Carolina. Tell us how that came to be. 

Mary Wills Bode: Go Deacs and go Heels. Yes, so I was an economics and psychology double major at Wake Forest. And actually my senior year at Wake Forest, I guess the summer between my junior and senior year, I had the opportunity to intern at the United States Supreme Court working for General Sutor who was the Clerk of Court there. And you know, my father's an attorney. We have a handful of attorneys in our family. And I'm also the youngest of three and the only girl, so I, I had to learn early on about the power of my voice and advocacy with two big brothers. So I, I, in that regard, I came by it, you know, honestly but also watching my parents be advocates you know, my watching my mom be an advocate for children. But that experience at the United States Supreme Court really solidified my interest in pursuing a career in justice and was fortunate to get accepted to UNC Law and be able to be a Tar Heel and, you know, meet so many wonderful people across the state who are also interested in pursuing justice. And from there, I was able to go to New York and practice transactional law. 

JD Wooten: So I know that you went to New York right away, but I also think I recall seeing it didn't take you very long to come back home to North Carolina with your law degree and start your practice back here. So what led to transition back here after the Big Apple? 

Mary Wills Bode: So I actually went to New York to practice a very specific type of law -- leveraged finance and capital markets. And I was asked to come back to North Carolina in 2018 by Tom Ross and Representative Chuck McGrady to run a bipartisan nonprofit focused on redistricting reform. And you know, I jumped at the opportunity to come back to my home state where my whole family was and do something that I really believed in. Redistricting reform is so needed, not just in North Carolina, but you know, across the country. And to do it in a bipartisan way was so exciting to me. And, you know, the folks that Representative McGrady and Tom had brought together to be a part of this was true bipartisan board. And we believe that we can bring folks together around a bipartisan solution and move the ball forward. And we had really hoped that we were going to get a constitutional amendment passed but the 2019 three-judge panel for the legislative and congressional maps borrowed heavily from our solution for their remedy to extreme partisan gerrymandering. So we had been set on a constitutional amendment and turns out the judiciary actually implemented much of our solution through their remedy. And we had been, you know, full speed ahead hoping to still get the constitutional amendment passed up until COVID hit and, you know, the time, attention, and energy, obviously and importantly, turned to COVID relief and the pandemic.

JD Wooten: So out of curiosity with extreme partisan gerrymandering being prohibited under our State Constitution that we saw back earlier this spring from the State Supreme Court, would there still be a benefit to a constitutional amendment that y'all were arguing for in addition to?

Mary Wills Bode: Absolutely, I think there's, there's always room for improvement. You know, one of the things that we were really concerned about that our bill set forth was eliminating any data from the process that can be used or correlates with political information. So not just, you know, voter registration or past elections, but you know, we know that there's a lot of information out there, big data about us that correlates with how we're going to vote. And so we really saw that at NC4RR as a huge issue that really needed to be reckoned with and, you know, would certainly be something we would want to see going forward in any type of long term solution. There are a lot of different things on the table that can be done. We just have to make sure that we get the right people to the table rowing in the same direction and focused on making sure that that's a priority. And the truth of the matter is, is that typically it's not a priority until right before the redistricting process is slated to happen. I'm glad you're sitting down JD when I told you that, cause I know it's shocking. Doesn't really become a thing of interest until, you know, the balance of power is up for question. So, I think the next real window of opportunity is probably going to be in about six years. So lots of good work to do in the meantime, and certainly up until then.

JD Wooten: Well, my my listeners, won't be surprised to know that I have no intention of waiting six years to keep talking about gerrymandering and redistricting. However this interview today is about you and your campaign. So we will table and I will extend the open invitation for you to come back and we'll do it an entire episode, just on the work there with redistricting and gerrymandering.

Mary Wills Bode: We can do a whole series, JD.

JD Wooten: Just dedicated to that. 

Mary Wills Bode: Yeah. Yeah. 

JD Wooten: Okay. So in March, 2020, you were appointed to the North Carolina Real Estate Commission, any insights or lessons learned in that experience that you think will really impact your work either in the State Senate or your campaign now?

Mary Wills Bode: Yes, absolutely. So basically the week before everything shut down, I had the honor to be appointed to the North Carolina Real Estate Commission by Governor Cooper to represent the public. So there are two of us on the commission who are appointed to represent the public. And it has been, you know, we talk about COVID babies. I was a COVID appointee. So I've had a little bit of a different experience doing remote work in a body of co-equals you know, the real estate commission oversees the education, licensing, and enforcement of real estate agents across the state. It has been such a tremendous learning experience, not just about the real estate industry and licensing but really about how to work in a body of co-equals and learning just so much about how the machinations of that, and, you know, really, really lucky that the North Carolina Real Estate commissioners that I work alongside, I mean, they are heavy hitters. Everyone brings their best a game and is really, really invested in making sure that we're doing the absolute best job that we could possibly do. It's a tremendous group of people and I've learned a lot about myself as a leader. And also just about how, how we work together in a group of people which I think those skill sets will translate very easily over to the North Carolina State Senate.

JD Wooten: So, as promise let's turn to, to the current campaign. You are running for the newly drawn District 18 in the North Carolina Senate covering Granville and Northern Wake Counties. What led you to deciding to run this cycle?

Mary Wills Bode: So JD, we call this actually the best Senate District in North Carolina. So Senate District 18, the best Senate district in North Carolina. 

JD Wooten: Well, I will let that stand just cause the district that I previously ran in no longer exists. 

Mary Wills Bode: There you go. Well, thank you. I appreciate that. So Northern Wake and Granville County, as you mentioned, because of the population growth that Wake County has experienced over the last decade. Last decade, Wake County had five Senate seats, now because of the population growth has six and this six seat is the Northern Wake. So North Raleigh, Wake Forest, Rolesville, and then all of Granville County. I am A Wake County native and live in Granville County now. My mom is from Oxford in Granville County and her family has been there for decades. So this senate seat really is home for me. And the reason why I decided to run is because I think like many of us, I felt like democracy was in a really tender spot. And I remember having a conversation with Governor Hunt at the end of the 2020 election cycle, last December, I had been calling a lot of people, you know, getting their takes on what went right, what went wrong. And really wanted to know from folks who had been in the fight for a really long time, where they thought I should go and what they thought I should do and how I could be helpful to make sure we're getting great candidates elected. And Governor Hunt told me, you know, keep your eyes open and your powder dry, and you will know the right opportunity for you when you see. But just be patient and keep doing what you're doing, stay involved, and something's going to come up that peaks your interest and is going to feel right. So sure enough, you know, 10 months later out of the blue got a phone call from the Senate Caucus and they said, you know, we, we think there's going to be a senate district that might be in this area and what do you think would you be interested? And I said, you know, yes. I would, I want to do my part and I will step up and make this commitment. So you know, it's been, this is my first foray. I've never worked on a political campaign before. I've been in and around politics as mentioned for a very long time. But this has been the most amazing, exciting privilege and honor to be so fully invested in North Carolina's future and what's at stake. 

JD Wooten: I'll echo I similar sentiment, I call my time running for office, the best civics lessons I ever had. And it's been a lot of fun watching yours from afar, so thanks for all you're doing out there. 

Mary Wills Bode: No problem. 

JD Wooten: The economy and inflation are top of mind for everyone right now. I even recently saw polling that nearly 50% of voters rank stabilizing and strengthening the economy is one of their top two priorities, regardless of whether they're Democrat or Independent. What do you think the General Assembly should be doing right now to better help everyday North Carolinians in the current economic climate?

Mary Wills Bode: Yeah, certainly. Great question. Folks are hurting. You know, thankfully gas prices are going down but buying food, everything is more expensive right now. And that's for a myriad of reasons, right? We all know kind of the systemic shocks that the economy has been facing, war in Ukraine, supply chain shortages coming out of COVID. There's been a lot going on. And you know, this is obviously an issue bigger than the North Carolina State Legislature or any other State Legislature, but I certainly think there are things we can do and take and learn from this. You know, when I think about when you, when you go through something like this, I'm always thinking about what can we do immediately to make things better, but then also what can we do to learn from this so that it doesn't happen again, or maybe when it does happen again, we're better prepared for it. And so I think, you know, one thing right is labor shortage right now. In COVID we had, I think it was around 2 million women leave the labor force in COVID, taking care of kids and schooling and remote schooling. You know, I would love to see a recruitment and massive effort to get a lot of these women back into the workforce, to help with that labor shortage that we're seeing. Making sure folks are reentering the workforce from COVID and getting, and, and, and getting back into the employment arena. And I think there are a lot of issues why that, that hasn't happened. You know, I think we learned a lot about childcare and the patchwork childcare system that we have in place right now. So that's got to be a big piece of a solution that we learn from going forward so that folks can stay in the labor market and don't feel like they have to make a decision about, you know, being supportive of their families in remote schooling or earning a living. So that's, that's one thing I think that, you know, the North Carolina General Assembly can certainly learn from. 

You know, another one is economic development and bringing these jobs back to North Carolina and that we have previously shipped overseas. So my opponent, when he was in charge of a manufacturing plant here in North Carolina, he sent jobs to China and Mexico. We need to bring those jobs back specifically, you know, in my district, we have a vacant 427 acre industrial park. Perfectly primed and ready to bring, you know, living wage, great jobs back to North Carolina. So that's another thing that I would like to see the General Assembly do and continue to do. 

And then the third thing is I think, you know, what's top of mind for a lot of folks is housing supply. We see a very tight housing market in North Carolina right now. And so what we can do from an infrastructure perspective to help make sure that we have homes at every price point for folks who want to purchase a home in North Carolina. And we've got some, some infrastructure issues, not just in my district, but I'm sure throughout North Carolina we're talking water, or highway, or otherwise that really need to get solved so that areas can expand and have the ability to build homes and bring people there who want to live in North Carolina? 

JD Wooten: Absolutely. So for a lot of voters, other concerns include making healthcare more affordable, protecting the right to abortion, reducing gun violence. You know, it's just a whole hodgepodge. So let's start with healthcare. What are we doing , right now? And what could we be doing differently here in North Carolina to address making healthcare more affordable? 

Mary Wills Bode: Yeah. So I think the biggest thing something that we have been doing right is, is fighting for Medicaid Expansion. We need to get that across the finish line. We've seen the numbers, we've been fighting this fight, you know, especially going through a global pandemic, we are leaving money on the table that is out there and available that could be so critically important and deployed to North Carolina healthcare infrastructure that's going to make a difference. So I tell people all the time that right now, our, our tax dollars are going to other states to pay for them to expand Medicaid so that they're healthier, more prosperous, and better position for the future. And I want to make sure that those North Carolina federal tax dollars are reinvested in North Carolina so that we can be healthier, more prosperous, and better positioned for the future. 

When I think about healthcare in North Carolina, when I've been talking to folks across Senate District 18, you know, mental health is so top of mind. We have so much work to do to make sure that we have the mental healthcare that we need. You know, addiction services, opioid addiction services, and making sure that our rural hospitals can stay afloat. You know, I read some devastating statistics about I guess they're calling them maternity deserts places, counties in North Carolina, where there is no OB GYN for women to be able to deliver. That that's super scary. And we have tools in our toolbox that we can use to help our, our healthcare infrastructure and that, that starts with expanding Medicaid.

JD Wooten: Couldn't agree more. And it's long overdue. I was glad to see the State Senate finally took it up. I was disappointed to see that the State House suddenly flipped and no longer had appetite. But we'll hopefully keep that fight going. Sticking with healthcare for a moment, but going to a very specific aspect of healthcare. We recently saw Roe v. Wade get overturned with the Dobbs decision, terrible tragedy for individual rights, privacy, bodily autonomy, and, you know, just freedom from government interference in healthcare. So as I understand it, you and your opponent have starkly different views on this. And I would love maybe if you could, why don't you characterize how those views differ, especially yours and why your sheet is so important to which of those visions might actually become reality in North Carolina? 

Mary Wills Bode: Yeah, definitely. So my opponent does not believe that reproductive healthcare is justified under any circumstance, you know, not rape, incest, life of the mother. He doesn't believe that that, that it should ever be allowed. You know, my grandmother's best friend died from a back alley abortion. I have very close friends who have had to have reproductive healthcare options because they had ectopic pregnancies. I mean, this comes down to healthcare and making sure that as you mentioned, you know, the government is not in the exam room with a woman in her physician when she needs healthcare. And you know, anyone who says that there's no situation where this should be allowed is not tethered to the reality of a very complicated, personal healthcare decision that many people face. And so, you know, we're going to be fighting very hard through November to make sure that folks are very educated about the clear choice, as you mentioned, that's in front of them. My seat and Senator Sydney Batch's seat will be the two seats we have to win in order to make sure that governor Cooper has veto power in the North Carolina State Senate. This is about protecting the health and wellbeing of women in North Carolina. I don't want to go back to a world where women are dying in back alleys cause they couldn't get healthcare. And, and the truth of the matter JD is that vast majority of people agree with that. Right. They agree that we don't want to go back there. And so we're seeing this as a very serious issue that folks are really concerned about. 

JD Wooten: Yeah, we just saw the results of putting the question directly to the voters in Kansas, ultra conservative Kansas, that went overwhelmingly Republican in just about every election. And yet with a 60% plus vote, they voted that abortion would continue to be constitutional under their state constitution. I suspect we would see much, much higher than that in North Carolina if the vote were put directly to the people. All right. So in another issue that is top of mind for voters gun violence and in light of the recent Supreme Court decision extending the individual right to carry a firearm outside the home, how do we strike the right balance in keeping people safe while also respecting the boundaries set by the Supreme Court's very broad interpretation of the second amendment?

Mary Wills Bode: Yeah. So, gun safety measures are certainly top of mind, we've seen, you know, in my lifetime. You know, so many tragedies in schools, in churches, in supermarkets, in concerts and every time it happens, it's a tragedy and it's made more of a tragedy when we can't move the ball forward. We have seen, you know, a lot of folks galvanizing around this issue and wanting to make sure that you know, we can prevent a lot of these tragedies from happening and doing everything we can to ensure that and ensure our health and safety. I think, you know, one thing that folks talk a lot about are red flag laws. I understand and respect the Second Amendment, but I also understand this idea that people who have mental health issues that are going to harm themselves or others, they don't need to have access to a gun during that period of time. And I think a vast majority of people understand that. So that is something I'd certainly love to see happen in North Carolina. And I think there are a lot of other folks that would too. 

JD Wooten: I wholeheartedly agree on all of that, these are just common sense measures. So in a recent bright spot, North Carolina was ranked number one state for doing business. What do we need to be doing to keep that ranking and translate that business friendly environment to improving the lives of all North Carolinians? 

Mary Wills Bode: Yeah. So was thrilled to see North Carolina hit that number one spot. I think we've been circling around it for a couple years. So it's always good to be number one, hard to be bad. I think there are a couple things. So we like to talk about how economic development is just, you know, doesn't exist in a silo. You know, healthcare, education, infrastructure. These are all really important and very much tethered to one another. If we're going to have a strong workforce, fertile soil for businesses to thrive, people got to be healthy and they've got to have access to healthcare and quality healthcare. And then the second piece is, you know, education. We have to have a really strong education system that's preparing our students for the workforce of tomorrow. And then infrastructure. We're going to need to make sure that internet infrastructure is widely available throughout North Carolina. That North Carolina has the resources it needs on the water and sewer front and highways if we want to continue to compete and attracts talent. So those four, I tell people it's kind of like a Jenga tower, you know, you can't pull out too many pieces or try and rearrange too many things. You have to really take a much more cohesive, comprehensive approach to make sure we're doing everything we can to make sure we're really well positioned for the future. 

JD Wooten: Amen. Well then on that note, most important question of the day, where can people go to learn more about you, your campaign, sign up to volunteer, donate, and so forth.

Mary Wills Bode: Great question, JD, I'm glad you asked. So my website is and on our website, you can find links to all of our social media, how to donate, how to sign up to volunteer, whether that be canvasing, or phone banking, or post carding, we've got it all. And we would love to have as many people get involved as possibly can. This is a really, really important election. We're running hard and fast and we're not going to leave anything on the field. 

JD Wooten: That all sounds wonderful. Thank you so much for joining me today, Mary Wills, it's been an absolute pleasure. 

Mary Wills Bode: Thank you for having me, JD. Look forward to our next podcast series on redistricting reform.

[music transition]

JD Wooten: Thanks again to Mary Wills Bode for joining us today, and to everyone for listening. Links are in the show notes for everything from today’s episode. If you have questions or comments, send me an email at And again, please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and share this episode with a friend. Together, we can achieve a better North Carolina for everyone!


Interview with Mary Wills Bode
Closing Notes