Christy is the current House Representative in District 98, representing Mecklenburg County, and a two-time Lillian’s List Featured Candidate. She was elected in 2018 and is now running for her second term. A longtime advocate for Moms Demand Action, Christy’s top priority is to enact sensible gun law reform. However, Christy is also working to expand Medicaid and increase our state’s investment in public schools. Sarah Preston, our Executive Director, had a chance to catch up with Christy (virtually) last week.
Here’s what Christy had to say about her service in office and what she hopes to achieve in 2021 and beyond:
SP: Why did you decide to run for office in 2018?
Christy: As a longtime advocate for Moms Demand Action, I knew I couldn’t get the change we needed to keep our community safe from gun violence at the local level. We really needed state action on this issue. As the filing deadline to run grew closer, I talked to the Party leadership in my area and realized that there was no Democrat running for HD 98. That didn’t seem right. We needed a champion here so I decided to jump into the race!
SP: What do you think is the most important thing that the government can do to help people now and into the future?
Christy: In North Carolina, one of the most important things we can do is expand Medicaid. We have 600,000 North Carolinians without health insurance right now during this pandemic. Many of those uninsured people are at a high risk for poor outcomes from Covid-19. They need insurance coverage and it benefits all of us if they have it.
We also really need to properly fund public education and support our judicial system, both of which have been underfunded for too long. It is also vitally important that the government do everything it can to ensure we have clean air to breathe and water to drink. We must pass legislation to protect the air and water and stop giving breaks to corporate polluters.
SP: What do you hope to accomplish for women and families in North Carolina in 2020 and beyond?
Christy: As part of the minority party, it is hard sometime to pass legislation in the House or Senate. I focus on things I can get done, but once we take the majority, I would love for NC to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. I know Virginia recently passed it and it should be ratified, but passing it here would be a significant signal to the women across this state.
I also really think we need to adopt a family medical leave act in North Carolina. Women and families need some time after childbirth and we need to ensure that their jobs are protected and they can afford to take the time they need.
And, of course, women’s reproductive rights are always being targeted by the Republicans. I am so glad that we were able to fend off attacks on reproductive freedom in 2019, but we know more attacks are coming and we must protect access to reproductive health care.
SP: What legislation are you currently working on the General Assembly?
Christy: My passion is advocating to end gun violence. I introduced several bills to make sure we are doing everything we can to save lives. I strongly advocate for a background check on every gun sold and red flag laws.
As a first term legislator in the minority party, I can’t always do much due to the highly partisan atmosphere in Raleigh. I spend a great deal of my time working to build relationships across the aisle. The current level of partisanship is not productive and prevents good legislation from passing.
SP: What are the benefits of being a woman while serving in office and campaigning?
Christy: In 2018, there were a lot of newly elected women in the North Carolina General Assembly. We were able to join the women who had been serving for a longer period. We formed a cohesive bond with those women and became a force. We sometimes are able to collaborate with women on other side of the aisle to get things done and I think that is unique to women.
On the campaign trail, people sometimes tell me I seem like a “regular person” and I think that is related to my gender. I think that I am more approachable and easier for my constituents to come to with issues. I think because I am approachable, I can also form alliances more easily.
SP: Why are you a champion of reproductive freedom and gender equity?
Christy: For a long time, women’s value was disregarded. One way in which we were sidelined was this constant attack on reproductive freedom. We are pushed aside and our momentum thwarted by legislation affecting our bodies and we can’t really move ahead if we don’t secure our reproductive freedom.
SP: What would you recommend people listen to, read or watch to bring them some joy while social distancing?
Christy: Everyone has been doing video chats with family and friends and I think that is one silver lining. Sometimes we take those connections for granted. Now that we are socially isolated, we are spending time on staying in touch.
I would also recommend podcasts on self care. I’ve listened to some very good ones on eating healthy and staying positive. We should all take some time out and try to get outside. Spending some time in nature, seeing the frogs in the ponds and deer on the trails, it can remind you that there are things beyond the coronavirus that are really important.