Gail Young is not ready to take a break. She has been campaigning for non-partisan redistricting long before she first ran for the NC House in 2018. The pandemic has only served to remind her why she is fighting the good fight. Gail connects our Republican drawn districts to the state we’re currently in quite easily. Frankly, all of our safety nets would be stronger if they hadn’t been decimated by the conservatives while they had control.
Gail spoke with our Program Manager Devon Roberts from her home in Cabarrus County.
Why did you decide to run for office again?
Too finish what I started. I believe that voting is a fundamental right and gerrymandering is an extreme form of voter suppression. I think drawing districts where Republican Representatives are safe has given them the ability to create and promote bad policies for NC. They couldn’t have decimated the public schools if they hadn’t drawn those lines. It’s corruption. I first started fighting this battle four years ago. I canvassed people in Cabarrus County, Republicans and Democrats, to explain gerrymandering and ask their thoughts. Everyone thought it was horrible and said they’d like the legislature to figure out a neutral way to draw the lines. What I learned is that the General Assembly didn’t care what those voters said. The conclusion to me, was to get elected to end gerrymandering altogether. That is literally why I chose to run in 2018 and run again. When the majority draws the lines to remain in the majority, it’s plain wrong and needs to change. We will have better decisions when we have fair districts.
What do you think is the most important thing that the government can do to help people now and into the future?
Good government really matters. The pandemic has shown the healthcare disparity. People of color and those in poverty have disproportionately been affected by the virus. We will have a huge health crisis in the next couple years. We need to immediately pass Medicaid expansion. We need to make sure healthcare is accessible to all citizens. Making sure people are healthy is in the best interest of North Carolina and its good for the economy. We’re going to have huge unemployment issues now and we need to look at how we build bridges to stability. We need jobs in NC that provide a living wage and sustainable environment for workers even in a global crisis.
What do you hope to accomplish for women and families in North Carolina if elected?
My personal desire is to rebuild the structures that keep people in poverty. I used to work with a young woman, a great worker, who suddenly stopped coming to work. We contacted her to figure out what happened. We learned she left us to go back to a minimum wage job because that was the only way she could have childcare. What we paid her meant she no longer qualified for free childcare. It was financially her best choice at the moment, even though she could have built a better future for herself. That’s the kind of thing we need to fix – to support people and move them out of poverty. The system is designed to keep them in poverty. People need bridges to get them to a better tomorrow. It benefits everyone when we have people working to their full potential. Solving problems today, while well intended, often create more problems for us down the road. I’m looking forward to working with experts to design systems that support the future we are creating for North Carolina.
What are the benefits of being a woman while campaigning?
I think politics is about relationships. People are going to vote for who they know and who has their best interests at heart. I think as a woman, I connect with people on the basis of emotions and values. I think for some men, it is all about their logic. With women, you get our heart and our head. I think that gives us an advantage in campaigning.
Why are you a champion of reproductive freedom and gender equity?
America is great because of our belief in freedom. No one has the right to demand other people live by their beliefs. I believe people can be trusted to make their own decisions. It is legislative overreach to create laws to take someone’s healthcare or personal choices away from them.
What would you recommend people listen to, read or watch to bring them some joy while social distancing?
Limit the news! Music can help in any circumstance. I love every genre. It can calm me in troubled times and energize me into action. My favorite artists right now are Lauren Daigle, Nora Jones, U2, and Coldplay. The Eagles is one of my favorite bands growing up and I was fortunate to see their last concert with Glenn Frey.