Aimy Steele is a candidate for the North Carolina House in District 82, representing Cabarrus County. She is a former school principal and her number one priority is to increase funding for public schools. She also wants to expand Medicaid and fix the affordable housing crisis.
As we all practice social distancing and schools close down, Aimy, a mother of five, has all of her kids at home with her keeping her very busy. She took a minute out to talk with our Executive Director, Sarah Preston, last week. Aimy and Sarah talked about the meaning of service and how growing up as a 27 year Army brat made Aimy deeply committed to our military personnel. She carries the weight of being part of a military family with her in everything she does and that sense of duty is so prevalent for her. It may have even guided her towards running for office. Here’s what Aimy had to say about her decision to run for office and what she hopes to accomplish once elected.
SP: Why did you decide to run for office and why now?
Aimy: One of the main reasons I decided to run in 2018 was to make changes around education policy. Back in 2017, I became very aware of how the legislature really started to intrude into the office of the principal. I faced potential closure of the library and the cafeteria in my school to create classroom space. There were people in Raleigh making decisions that don’t know anything about education.
I lost that first election, but learned so much about my community and the needs of my neighbors, as well as the many issues that are affecting them. I decided I had to run again in 2020 to finish the job I started in 2018.
SP: What do you think is the most important thing that the government can do to help people now and into the future?
Aimy: One of the most important things that the government can do is make sure that people feel like they are really a part of the process and understand how decisions are being made. At the local and state level, we don’t do a good job of bringing decisions down to the people impacted by them. We need to communicate and hear from our community so that people who are most impacted are part of the process.
We also need to do the work to make sure that our communities understand how much of a role state and local government plays in their life. Sometimes we think everything is done at the federal level and we only look at what is happening nationally, but in reality, it is the state and local governments that do the work to meet our most basic needs. We’re seeing that now as we observe the roles of the Governor, local mayors, county commissions, and city councils in responding to this public health crisis.
SP: What do you hope to accomplish for women and families in North Carolina if elected?
Aimy: I want to make sure that women have reproductive freedom and their wombs are not legislated. Women also need to be paid equal pay for equal work. Women are at such a disadvantage because of perpetual underpay. That needs to be addressed.
Children are such a vulnerable population. I’ve seen clearly as an educator that they need an advocate and I will always fight my hardest for children. They need access to a better quality of life and that means that every child must have access to high quality education. We need to make a substantial investment in education in this state.
SP: What are the benefits of being a woman while campaigning?
Aimy: Women understand what people are going through in a different way from men. We have to see problems with a balanced eye. We have lived in a patriarchal society where men’s philosophy and rules have shaped the infrastructure. The perspective women bring lets us question not just the solutions we have come to, but if we are even asking the right questions about the needs in our communities.
As women, we have learned to juggle more. We can multi-task. We have the stamina to balance everyone’s needs, be responsive, and problem-solve.
SP: Why are you a champion of reproductive freedom and gender equity?
My womb and what I do with it are nobody else’s business. I don’t think I should have the burden of making decisions about other people’s bodies either. I am a mother of five. I am an advocate for mothers and families, but that is my choice. It is not anybody else’s business what we do with our bodies.
SP: What would you recommend people listen to, read or watch to bring them some joy while social distancing?
My favorite thing to do is peruse Hulu and Netflix for comedy. I love standup so I look for good standup or comedic movies. I watch Trevor Noah, Sinbad, old movies, things that will make me laugh.
Just like everyone else, I am working hard, trying to run a good campaign, take care of my children. Just getting the food organized in the house for my kids is a full time job! We need to give ourselves a break. When work is over, you should tell yourself that it is time for your family, for some fun. Just because you are working from home, doesn’t mean you should keep working all day. Hit the pause button and give yourself a break.