DeAndrea Salvador, Democratic Candidate for a newly redrawn NC’s 39th Senate District, a native of Charlotte is running to deliver for the community that instilled the values which direct DeAndrea’s life today. DeAndrea is running to improve the quality of life in her community through sustainable infrastructure, affordable access to healthcare and to improve our public education system so that every child has an equal opportunity to thrive. When DeAndrea is made aware of an issue, or challenge she jumps right in— takes a measured approach– and finds an innovative effective solution. She’s currently raising her two young boys with her husband, Kirk.

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While she works as a Project Manager for Township: Digital Product Agency, has her children at home with her, and is also running to flip this Senate seat, she made a few minutes to talk to our Executive Director, Sarah Preston, about her campaign last week!

SP: Why did you decide to run for office and why now?

DeAndrea: I have always been interested in advocacy and how communities elevate issues to create positive community change. It started in high school when I worked at Youth Empowered Solutions, a nonprofit headquartered in NC, since then when I become aware of issues facing the community, I work to find solutions. When I worked at Youth Empowered Solutions, high school students like myself at the time advocated on policy issues including tobacco use prevention for teens. I saw a lot of great things that came from that, such as statewide legislation for smoke-free parks. This highlighted how engaged elected officials can be a great vehicle for positive change, especially when paired with community groups. After college, I founded a nonprofit organization focused on energy affordability, an issue that was brought to my attention as a problem for the community, and I worked towards creating the biggest impact and delivering the biggest relief. I saw there were things our nonprofit was pursuing in South Carolina, but couldn’t in North Carolina because of policies passed by the legislature here. I saw how policy can have a profound impact on communities, individual rights, and how I could bring about the most positive change to my community. Which increased how I worked to become more civically involved. When the district was redrawn, it offered a new opportunity to serve the community I grew up in, in a new way, while remaining true to my key values of community and results.

SP: What do you think is the most important thing that the government can do to help people now and into the future?

Of course, looking at the public health crisis we are facing right now, I think we need to address basic needs, first. I have been looking more and more at unemployment insurance here in NC. We need to change our policies so that unemployment insurance is expanded. That would be critical now and going forward. Two other crucial aspects would be to expand Medicaid and address affordable housing. Both would help so many people in a situation like this. We can do so much to really help care for our communities and be prepared for a crisis.

SP: What do you hope to accomplish for women and families in North Carolina when elected?

Entrepreneurship is important to me. Women are trying to start businesses, and women, especially women of color, struggle to find resources to start and grow their businesses. In the Senate, I will work to make access to capital a reality for women-owned and minority-owned businesses.

I also absolutely support women’s reproductive rights and I have been reading how other states are trying to use this pandemic to reduce these rights and remove access to critical health care. I would make sure that this never happens here. I would also look at expanding funding for institutions that are helping with access to all healthcare services

SP: What are the benefits of being a woman while campaigning?

One benefit is that, as a mom, I know how to juggle multiple things at once and be adaptable as things on the campaign change on a daily basis. I also believe in listening and then leading, not the other way around. I want to hear what is really important to my community and see how I can advocate for them. I know how to build rapport and relationships and I think that comes from being a woman and a mom.

SP: Why are you a champion of reproductive freedom and gender equity?

It is just the right thing to do! I can’t even imagine why people don’t prioritize reproductive freedom and gender equity. This is so personal. A woman’s choice must be her choice with the help of her healthcare provider and nobody else needs to be involved unless she chooses. That ability to make our own decisions is also bound up in women’s equity. I think about how I want to be cared for and how I believe we care for our neighbors, and our communities. Why would we want to make it more difficult for a person to access care? This is a fundamental need and we should be looking instead at how to support people who need care. Reproductive health care is part of comprehensive health care and it leaves people vulnerable if you don’t include it.

SP What would you recommend people listen to, read or watch, or do to bring them some joy while social distancing?

I really enjoy baking with my kids so I look online and have been following Isolation Baking for recipes or ideas to bake with the family. Other than that, if there is a green area nearby you that is safe, outdoor play is so important with little ones around. We go outside and play and invent games, just try to use our imagination. I think it is also helpful to sort of mark the passage of time so this social distancing time isn’t just one long day. A friend suggested marking each day with something in your schedule like Friday is pizza day, Wednesday is movie night and Monday is game night. You have a ritual and know it is a new day, but keeping it fun for the family.

If you enjoyed this interview we hope you’ll read through the interviews of our other 2020 Featured Candidates!