Carolina Democracy

At the Table, Not on the Menu

August 22, 2022 JD Wooten Episode 33
At the Table, Not on the Menu
Carolina Democracy
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Carolina Democracy
At the Table, Not on the Menu
Aug 22, 2022 Episode 33
JD Wooten

Welcome back to Carolina Democracy! Today, we're joined by Diamond Staton-Williams to discuss her campaign for North Carolina House District 73, plus we discuss two important North Carolina court decisions from last week on abortion and constitutional amendments.

Learn More About Diamond Staton-Williams:

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome back to Carolina Democracy! Today, we're joined by Diamond Staton-Williams to discuss her campaign for North Carolina House District 73, plus we discuss two important North Carolina court decisions from last week on abortion and constitutional amendments.

Learn More About Diamond Staton-Williams:

Other Resources: 

Carolina Forward:

Contact Us:

Follow Us:

Support the Show.

Diamond Staton-Williams: So we have to be at the table. We just have to be, because if we're not we're on the menu and I don't like being on anyone's menu, I want to be at the table making decisions that impact me and my family.

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JD Wooten: Hey everyone, I’m JD Wooten, and welcome back to Carolina Democracy. Today we’re joined by Diamond Staton-Williams, Harrisburg town Councilwoman and candidate for the North Carolina House, District 73. We’ve also got two important North Carolina court decisions from this past week on abortion and constitutional amendments to discuss.

But first, let’s not forget as well that President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act last week. The legislation will implement a massive amount of his remaining campaign promises, including the largest climate and energy package ever passed as well as deficit reduction measures, several years of Affordable Care Act subsidies, prescription drug reform to lower prices, and tax reform. This comes after other incredible successes over the last 18 months 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, and more than 8 million jobs created. Sound familiar to my remarks last week? Good, I’m practicing what I preach – let’s never miss a chance to emphasize just how successful the current administration and the current session of Congress have been so far. The modern GOP obstructs while Democrats deliver.

Last week I also mentioned a messaging strategy that Dan Pfeiffer, former communications director for President Obama and host of Pod Save America, has been pushing and which he’s calling the American Freedom Agenda. Here’s the abbreviated version – the radical right has co-opted the word freedom and it’s time for actual defenders of freedom to take it back. The radical right has decided that they would rather live in an autocracy, so long as their people are in charge, than to have a functioning democracy. So for everyone who believe in freedom and democracy, here’s the message:

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 abortion and contraception, who to marry, and to not live in fear of gun violence. Democrats believe in environmental freedoms like the freedom to have clean drinking water and the freedom of living in a world not devastated by climate change. And Democrats believe in democracy and democratic freedom, the freedom to vote, the freedom 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 democracy, plain and simple.

Ok, now for some news. In a pleasant surprise, the North Carolina Supreme Court held open the possibility that two voter-approved state constitutional amendments which were on the ballot in 2018 were not permissibly on the ballot to begin with and might be thrown out. The GOP is of course beating their chest about the purported overreach of the Court’s majority and the GOP defense seems to that even they acted unconstitutionally, the people ratified it after-the-fact, so all’s fair and their unconstitutional acts stand. The Court basically said not so fast, we believe in the rule of law, and this ain’t it.

As a refresher, the General Assembly approved several constitutional amendments to be placed on the 2018 ballot after a federal court had ruled that 28 of these legislators had been elected from districts which were unconstitutional racial gerrymanders in a decision affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The two that are relevant for the current case are the constitutional ban on income tax ever exceeding 7% and a voter ID requirement. The question before the North Carolina Supreme Court was whether legislators elected under unconstitutional maps could use that unconstitutionally gained supermajority to alter the state’s constitution. In a major win for democracy and the rule of law, the Court held probably not.

I say probably not because the Supreme Court did not actually make a final ruling. Instead, it merely held open the possibility that the General Assembly’s actions were unlawful, but that further review from the trial court was needed. Despite whatever you may hear from the radical right, this was an extremely narrow decision considering a novel legal question. To the extent someone argues that no court has ever gone so far, well, no General Assembly has ever tried to overreach so far in the first place. And the GOP remarks are consistent with the Independent State Legislature theory being advanced in the sense that in North Carolina, the GOP controls the General Assembly, and they want as little of their work to be reviewed by the courts as possible. In a democratic system of government that relies on checks and balances, it further demonstrates how radical the GOP has become on basic questions of democratic norms.

I think it’s worth reading some of the opinion, at least the introductory summary of the opinion, because it’s particularly compelling and goes to the very heart of what this podcast is all about—protecting democracy. Here’s how the Court opened its opinion:

“This case involves completely unprecedented circumstances that give rise to a novel legal issue directly implicating two fundamental principles upon which North Carolina’s constitutional system of government is predicated: the principles of popular sovereignty and democratic self-rule. The issue is whether legislators elected from unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered districts possess unreviewable authority to initiate the process of changing the North Carolina Constitution, including in ways that would allow those same legislators to entrench their own power, insulate themselves from political accountability, or discriminate against the same racial group who were excluded from the democratic process by the unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered districts.”

Now, I’ll admit that in the legal world, how a court frames a question in the opening statement is usually telling of how it intends to answer that question. Since I’ve already told you how the Court ruled, this isn’t a spoiler—that was definitely true here. But the Court went further in its framing, writing:

“What is extraordinary about these events is not that a legislative body was composed in part of legislators elected from unconstitutional districts. That has occurred on numerous occasions in recent years just in North Carolina alone. Rather, what makes this case so unique is that the General Assembly, acting with the knowledge that twenty-eight of its districts were unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered and that more than two thirds of all legislative districts needed to be redrawn to achieve compliance with the Equal Protection Clause, chose to initiate the process of amending the state constitution at the last possible moment prior to the first opportunity North Carolinians had to elect representatives from presumptively constitutional legislative districts.”

The Court also noted that none of their own research, nor than of any of the parties or the numerous other groups who submitted briefing to the Court, could identify “a single previous instance of a legislative body composed of a substantial number of legislators elected from unconstitutional districts attempting to exercise powers relating to the passage of constitutional amendments after it had been conclusively established that numerous districts were unconstitutional.” So again, was the decision unprecedented? Well by definition, because the circumstances which led to the case were unprecedented, yes, so was the decision.

The Court really got to the fundamental harm to democracy in this case, writing that the issues in this case:

“… cut to the core of our constitutional system of government: if legislators who assumed power in a manner inconsistent with constitutional requirements possess unreviewable authority to initiate the process of altering or abolishing the constitution, then the fundamental principle that all political power resides with and flows from the people of North Carolina would be threatened.

In sum, the Court held that “… the North Carolina Constitution impose[s] limits on these legislators’ authority to initiate the process of amending the constitution under these circumstances. Nonetheless, we also conclude that the trial court’s order in this case invalidating the two challenged amendments swept too broadly.” The Court provided guidelines to the trial court to consider and additional factual questions to answer on remand. As part of these guidelines, the Court laid out an analytical framework in assessing whether these constitutional amendments pass muster. The first question to ask is whether their passage in the General Assembly relied on votes from members elected in unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered districts. While that’s undoubtedly true in the current case, that’s an important threshold question from a pragmatic perspective and for setting precedent because it’s basically saying hey, if these constitutional amendments would have passed with the necessary 60% supermajority votes even without those elected from unconstitutional districts, no further analysis is necessary and the amendments stand.

However, in this case, it’s clear that with 28 districts being unconstitutional at the time of the amendments passed the General Assembly, and with them only passing by a few votes, additional analysis is needed. As a 2nd step, the trial court must now consider whether there is a “substantial risk that each challenged constitutional amendment would (1) immunize legislators elected due to unconstitutional racial gerrymandering from democratic accountability going forward; (2) perpetuate the continued exclusion of a category of voters from the democratic process; or (3) constitute intentional discrimination against the same category of voters discriminated against in the reapportionment process that resulted in the unconstitutionally gerrymandered districts.”

In this 2nd step, it’s clear that the Court is basically saying that an unconstitutionally elected group of legislators cannot amend the constitution to insulate themselves from democratic accountability, entrench their power through voter suppression, or continue the same discrimination which led to them having the unconstitutional power to begin with. It would not surprise me at all if the trial court found that under this test focused on protecting democracy, the tax cap amendment is allowed to stand because it really has nothing to do with the democratic process in and of itself, but the voter ID amendment is struck down. Time will tell, but I think this was a great decision for democracy and I really applaud the analytical rigor and clear standards for protecting democracy and the constitution that it lays out. It is a prime example of the Court stepping in to serve an important function of setting guardrails to protect democracy without usurping the power of the other branches of government.

And this is probably as good a time as any to remind everyone just how important judicial races are, and to note that the court’s decision in this case was 4-3, and two of the seats in the majority being on the ballot this year. Depending on how November goes, this opinion might be 5-2 the other way next time. And given that one of the dissenting justices won re-election in 2020 by 401 votes out of nearly 5 ½ million cast, I assure you, your vote matters.

In another court decision this last week, we got a fairly predictable, but still disturbing ruling on abortion in North Carolina. A federal judge lifted the injunction on North Carolina’s 50-year-old ban on elective abortions after 20 weeks. While I hate the outcome, legally, the judge’s ruling was sound. He previously blocked the state’s anti-abortion law based on Roe v. Wade and its progeny. Roe was overturned this past summer; thus, the injunction was based on overturned precedent. That’s the way the law is supposed to work. When the situation was essentially reversed back in 2019, and that same judge first granted the injunction, our expectation then was for him to follow the law of the land, which was Roe. He did, and he blocked an unconstitutional law. Now the reverse is true, and he ruled accordingly.

On a professional note, I’ve practiced before this judge. He’s a very reasonable and well-respected judge. I may not always agree with his conclusions, but that’s true of just about every judge out there. Still, his hands were tied given the Supreme Court’s decision this summer in Dobbs. Importantly, the ban only applies to post-20-week abortions and does at least have an exception for substantial risk to the health or life of the mother. As compared to the draconian laws we’ve seen go into effect elsewhere after Dobbs, this law does at least still allow the vast majority of abortions to go forward for now. 

We need to take this as a warning shot and reminder that all that stands between North Carolina and a total or near-total abortion ban is Governor Cooper’s veto. Make no mistake, if Democrats fall back into super-minority status in the sHouse and Senate, that’s where we are heading and the state Republican leadership has openly stated that anti-abortion legislation is a top priority after the 2022 election. This is telling because it’s clear they want to ban abortions, and it’s clear they know it would cost them seats in the election. Again, your vote matters.

And on that note, here’s my weekly ask for this community – please help spread the messages of any guests you want to support, whether it be candidates, organizers, or other groups doing the hard work of fighting for democracy on the ground. Get the word out, share some hope with your neighbors and friends, and make a plan to not just vote yourselves, but to get someone else to vote too.

Alright, now it’s time for my interview with Diamond Staten-Willams, hope you enjoy.

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JD Wooten: With me today is Diamond Staton-Williams, Harrisburg town Councilwoman and candidate for the North Carolina House District 73. Welcome, Diamond. 

Diamond Staton-Williams: Hi, how are you doing JD? 

JD Wooten: I'm great. Thanks for being here today. As always first question right out the gate, what's your earliest memory of politics or getting involved in politics?

Diamond Staton-Williams: My earliest memory of, of politics, I don't even want to say as politics, but voting. I'm a child of the seventies, late seventies, so I grew up eighties, nineties, and my grandmother. I just remember her going to vote and taking me while she was go working with her and saying, this is how you make sure that your voice is heard. You have to make sure you go and vote. And I remember her doing that multiple times and, and realized, oh, this is something we're responsible to do. We have to do this. So I've been a voter ever since, ever since I turned 18. 

JD Wooten: That's brilliant. The number of people that I have heard, give some sort of similar answer with early memories of voting with a family member, friend, something like that. You are not alone. 

Diamond Staton-Williams: Good. Well, I'm glad, I'm glad.

JD Wooten: So let's start with your background. You're a North Carolina native who grew up in the Charlotte area. What are some of your early experiences that shaped your political philosophy? 

Diamond Staton-Williams: Absolutely. So one of my biggest things, my mom had me when she was 17, right before she went to college. And my grandmother stepped in and helped to raise me and made sure that we had what we needed. So through my experiences, my mom, my grandmom, always made sure that we took care of other people. We didn't have much, we grew up on the west side of Charlotte. So, didn't have much, but we made sure that people, that we loved, family, friends had what they needed and that we were able to collaborate and share and make sure that no one went without. So that is my early experiences of how to really take care of people and make sure that in whatever I do, I'm advocating for someone else. And that is important for me. That has always been important for me. My grandmother, she's a saintly woman and a lot of my philosophy comes from her, and making sure that whoever we vote for is someone that is going to take care of all the people, and not just their interest or the interest of special groups, but all the people. And that is important for me. So I picked that up pretty early on and just carried that with me. Do one to others as you would have them do unto, unto you, right? 

JD Wooten: Well, speaking of helping people, professionally, you're a nurse and you've written that your journey to nursing started at an early age. Can you tell us a little about that and the experiences in nursing that really shaped your thinking today?

Diamond Staton-Williams: Yeah, so I feel like all my stories go back to my grandmother. So she was a home health aide. So while I'm riding around with her going to vote, she was going to take care of people and making sure that elderly people, people who had disabilities, were taking care of in their homes. She worked for Mecklenburg County at the time. And my mom went to nursing school and wanted to take care of people as well. So it is just an innate feeling that I have and passion that we have to take care of other people. Nursing really drove me, and continues to drive me, to care for other people and think about what's going on out in the world where we can make an impact and really help and continue to be advocates for people.

JD Wooten: So, I think we're batting a perfect record so far for your grandmother being part of the answer and I'm loving it. Let's see if it keeps going. I'm just curious. So you're currently serving on the town council in Harrisburg. What led you to running for town council, and how's that experience been so far?

Diamond Staton-Williams: Listen, it's not grandma. I know, right? I know. 

JD Wooten: All right. 

Diamond Staton-Williams: I know, but when I asked, she was like, yeah, I think you should do it. So, so she... 

JD Wooten: So her hand was in there a little bit. 

Diamond Staton-Williams: She was in there, she was in there. Living here in Harrisburg. We moved here in 2008 and at the time it was a population of 8,000, roughly 8,000 people. Now it's 20,000 people 14 years in. There was a field right here on Highway 49, just full of corn. And I was driving by one day and I was like, oh no, what happened to the corn? Like, what's what's going on with the corn. So I went online, went to the town's website, and tried to figure out like, what is being built? What are they bringing to our area? And found out we were getting the Publix and shopping center there. And I'm a person that likes to be involved in the decisions that impact me. So I started reading more, getting more invested in what was happening in the town. And that was in 2017. I was like, well, there's a position coming up. Someone from the, the county party said, oh yeah, such and such is not running again. You should run. and the rest is history. Here I am five years in, reelected first in 2017 as a first African American woman for the entire town council, and then reelected in November 2021.

JD Wooten: Well, congratulations. 

Diamond Staton-Williams: Thank you. 

JD Wooten: So I hope we're going to be building on that track record... 

Diamond Staton-Williams: Me too.

JD Wooten: Again here in November. So let's shift to this election. You're running for House District 73 in Cabarrus County. What convinced you to run for this seat, and particularly this year?

Diamond Staton-Williams: I think the biggest thing that drove me to, to run is the redistricting of the maps. Prior to this year, March of 2022, the maps were not drawn for anyone other than a Republican to be successful in gaining a House Seat here in our county. With this new district that was drawn in particular for us Harrisburg and Concord, it was prime opportunity. It was a great opportunity for people to truly get their voices heard. Oftentimes it is the singular voice of different parties that I heard. And now this is a great opportunity for multiple people, multiple voices to be heard. And for someone different to advocate for them.

JD Wooten: I love it. Now, help me remember, Cabarrus County got two House seats with the new map? Or something like that? 

Diamond Staton-Williams: Three. 

JD Wooten: Three, okay. 

Diamond Staton-Williams: Yeah. 83, 82 and 73. I think that's right. 

JD Wooten: Okay, and you're on the kind of south Southwest side? 

Diamond Staton-Williams: Right. 

JD Wooten: Adjacent in Mecklenberg County. 

Diamond Staton-Williams: Exactly. Exactly. 

JD Wooten: All right now we know where you are and our listeners do too. 

Diamond Staton-Williams: Right behind the Charlotte Motor Speedway. You can't miss me. 

JD Wooten: Oh, hey, there you go. All right, so speaking of motors, even though gas prices are going down and job growth continues, I think that the economy and inflation will probably stay at the top of mind for a lot of voters as we head into these November elections. So in addition to being a nurse, you're also a small business owner. From that perspective, what do you think the General Assembly should be doing right now to help everyday North Carolinians in this current economic climate? 

Diamond Staton-Williams: I think one of the biggest thing that the legislature could do is just really change what our minimum wage is currently. Many people are not making a, a livable wage here in North Carolina. While many organizations have increased what they're paying individuals, it'd be great if the state could step in and make that a minimum. And even $15 currently is not enough. Especially as housing costs go up, rental rental rates go up. We know that people are, are hard pressed to really afford some of the, the basic needs. Food prices are extremely high. So Having the General Assembly step in, in that manner to help us and help other small businesses really do well. Give them the tools that they need through small business accelerators. And really helping to support them and their ideas. We need people with different ideas and different modalities to be able to help support the entire state and support all residents within North Carolina. That's just what we need. We need something new. 

JD Wooten: I certainly agree. I think you know, $15 an hour, I know has been sort of a marker that's been out there for a while. And I think the longer we fight it, the more and more out of touch even that'll be. 

Diamond Staton-Williams: Exactly. Exactly. 

JD Wooten: I've heard other people argue that we need to, we need to make a significant jump in what our minimum wage is. And then we also need to try and take it out of these annual fights that come up and tie it to something like CPI.

Diamond Staton-Williams: Exactly. 

JD Wooten: Consumer price index. 

Diamond Staton-Williams: Exactly. 

JD Wooten: So that way, when we see these sudden surges in inflation, like we're seeing right now, it it's kind of already built in. 

Diamond Staton-Williams: Yep. And nobody's getting caught off guard and everyone's still able to maintain their households.

JD Wooten: So I think education is also going to be top of mind for many voters across North Carolina. It has been for a long time and I'm sure it'll continue to be. So we've now had multiple state court judges, even Republican judge find that the state is consistently underfunding public education. It will take some time to correct, but how would you propose we start addressing a decade or more of under investment in public education?

Diamond Staton-Williams: I think one of the biggest things we need people to truly understand the true impact of public education. If our kids are not well penned in our current economic society, what organization is going to be able to come here and employ those students? We need to make sure that those children are getting exactly what they need from the school systems so that organizations can come here. I mean, it's part of the economy. If our kids are not being trained and educated to the needs of the current markets, technology, STEM classes, what are we doing? What are we setting them up for? We know that kids who do well in school and have all, all of the tools that they need are able to truly impact our economy and truly impact us and create communities that thrive and are able to survive even the harshest economic recessions. 

JD Wooten: I've heard several people talk about how much economic development we've had across the state over the last several years, and that was even cited as one of the reasons that North Carolina is now number one state for doing business. But what you're saying makes perfect sense. Okay, great, we've got a great business climate, and we're attracting all these huge companies, but they're going to need a pipeline of qualified workers. 

Diamond Staton-Williams: Exactly, exactly. And what better way to do it than investing in our school systems, our public schools need us. 

JD Wooten: Amen. So I know broadband infrastructure is also a key priority for you. What should we be doing to address those massive gaps in our state for affordable broadband access? 

Diamond Staton-Williams: Right now, broadband is not just a luxury. It is a necessity we learned during the pandemic that kids needed that tool to be able to do their, their school education items that they needed for school. It is incumbent upon us to work together with utility services, to get into those areas, to be able to push out broadband into those ruraler areas. And be able to support our children. I mean, it's just the nature of where we are. Technology rules everything that we do right now, and if we don't get in front of this, we'll be behind in, in several different ways.

JD Wooten: I've heard some people argue that we need to start treating broadband access more like a utility. And it sounds like that's sort of the direction you're leaning there too. 

Diamond Staton-Williams: It is a basic utility now. You can't do anything without having access to the internet. What is it that you would propose for us to do? Your, your cell phone is only as good as your connection, right? So your computer's not going to work if you're not able to get on the internet. You can type on Word, but how you're going to be able to submit your assignments to your teacher. That's where we need to go. It is a utility. And we should be able to provide people with needed resources to be able to afford it. We can't have a hundred dollars bills for a lot of people. A lot of people can't afford that, especially if I'm making under $15 an hour. So think about the whole picture and not just pieces of the picture. 

JD Wooten: I think the last couple of years have really highlighted that gap that was certainly there and has been growing for years. But I also wonder as we move more towards the possibility of a lot of people with remote or hybrid working and North Carolina being a great destination location because of the cost of living for those people, maybe one spouse is remote and the others at one of these new facilities, and students need that connection to be able to study at home.

Diamond Staton-Williams: Exactly. Exactly. I mean, we have to think about the whole family and just not one entity, right? 

JD Wooten: No doubt. So as a nurse, there's no way we can end this interview without talking about affordable healthcare. I know that access to mental healthcare is especially important to you. How is North Carolina doing on that front and what more can we be doing to help our people across the state?

Diamond Staton-Williams: I'll start with this. My mom suffers from a severe mental health condition. And growing up for me, if I did not have key people along the way to help guide me and push me like my grandmother, as you can tell, where would I be, you know? More kids than not currently in North Carolina are in similar situations and they don't have the emotional social supports even through school or in the community to be, to be able to, to do well. We need to really truly provide access to all of the family, not just the person that is suffering from the condition, but the kids that may be impacted as well as the adults that have to take care of and pick up the pieces at times, because that is a, is a hard burden, a huge burden for a lot of people and can cause depression. And especially if you're already in living in poverty that you're compounding several different issues. So being able to have that strong access to support systems, whether that's a licensed social worker, or a psychologist, whoever, we know that it is going to be beneficial to our children and we want to be able to support them and give them everything that they need. So telehealth works wonders, but we can't have telehealth, right, if we don't have broadband services in all of our areas, right? And we want to be able to do all of those things to help support families.

JD Wooten: So sticking with healthcare for a moment, this past summer, we saw the Supreme Court throw out Roe v. Wade and Casey / Planned Parenthood with the Dobbs decision. We know that North Carolina is currently a state where women can still get access to abortion and the reproductive healthcare that they need. But a lot of people worry that, you know, if we don't maintain enough seats in the General Assembly to protect Governor Cooper's veto, we could see a back sliding on that. So how important is your seat, do you think, to holding onto enough votes that we can sustain Governor Cooper's veto? 

Diamond Staton-Williams: I believe there are six seats that would be pivotal in maintaining Governor Cooper's veto. There's no time like now, especially for women, to be more involved and invested in what happens here in North Carolina and being able to make decisions for themselves. This is a very slippery slope. I think more people should hear that. Once people come for one right, what's the next thing that they're going to come for? It's not going to stop there. And it is other people's ideals of what life should be, that I do not want to be a part of. I want be a part of a society and community where people are given the opportunity and freedom to make choices of their own. And for me to be an advocate for them and not a judger of them, right? Living in the Bible belt, that's what, what we grew up on. I'm not supposed to judge you, but I'm supposed to be here to support you and provide you with everything that you need to be successful and to treat you as Jesus would. That is my goal. That should be everyone's goal. I, well, I don't want to say should. It, it is a goal for many people and knowing that this seat is top six to be able to maintain that for a lot of people, I need more people to be able to get out and do what needs to be done. Because the choices and decisions that come after me, they, they don't impact me right now. They impact my kids. They impact my grandkids and everyone else behind me. So we have to be at the table. We, we just have to be, because if we're not we're on the menu and I don't like being on anyone's menu, I want to be at the table making decisions that impact me and my family and other people's families as well.

JD Wooten: I love that metaphor. And I know there are a lot of naysayers that say, oh, you're overreacting talking about other liberties. Justice Thomas wrote it in his concurrence. 

Diamond Staton-Williams: Exactly. And it always surprises me sometimes when men, men of power utilize. Women's choices to benefit themselves, but not to let it benefit the other people or women. So, just know that this is something that is based in misogyny and we have to do something about it. We just have to do something about it. I, I don't want my kids to grow up in that. 

JD Wooten: It's always baffled me that so many men would feel so entitled to make those kinds of decisions at a policy level alone, and without the people most affected and impacted directly by those kinds of decisions. And I got a little libertarian streak in me too, I'm not going to lie. I don't need the government in my medical exam room. 

Diamond Staton-Williams: You need to be telling me to do.

JD Wooten: I don't know why any woman would want the government in their medical exam room either. 

Diamond Staton-Williams: Exactly, exactly. It's between me and my doctor, now leave us alone. 

JD Wooten: Exactly. You know, another big issue that I think is front and center for a lot of voters is the prevalence of gun violence and especially mass shootings throughout this country. So here in North Carolina, I think there's a lot of room for improvement with some common sense gun measures. What are some of those policies that you might support or really try and push in Raleigh?

Diamond Staton-Williams: So red flag laws I think are, would be beneficial for us. We want to make sure that individuals experiencing in a mental health crisis are protected and that they're safe and their family and friends are safe. Also those individuals who are recently been arrested for a domestic violence dispute. We want to make sure that those records are flagged. And we can do that by having a robust system of individuals who apply for a gun permit and who purchase guns. We also need to make sure that weapons of mass destruction so to speak AR-15s and those type of things are, are hard to purchase here. I don't think anyone would love to, to eat venison or, or deer that is shot by AR 15. I don't think that meat would be great to eat. So, it really begs to question, why do you truly need that in your home? We are not at war currently here in America. I could see if you were in Afghanistan or Iraq, where you have to use something of high capacity and to protect yourselves, but that's not the case here. And I don't think we as a people should be able to have and hold those type of weapons in our homes.

JD Wooten: Well, Diamond we've covered a lot of ground. And you've told us how important this seat is to helping keep Democrats and Governor Cooper at the table and making sure that some of these policies have the chance of seeing the light of day. So most important question: where can people go to learn more about you, your campaign, sign up to volunteer, donate, and so forth?

Diamond Staton-Williams: Absolutely. I'm available on all social media platforms: diamond Staton-Williams for North Carolina House. And you can also visit my website at 

JD Wooten: Thank you so much for joining us today, Diamond. It's been a real pleasure. 

Diamond Staton-Williams: Thank you.

[music transition]

JD Wooten: Thanks again to Diamond Staton-Williams 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 Diamond Staton-Williams
Closing Notes