Representative Rachel Hunt has deep ties to the Lillian’s List Sisterhood, she used to be our Board Chair. We’re so proud to see her serving in the NCGA working hard to make North Carolina a better place to be a woman. Along with her colleagues she has been trying to expand Medicaid and other crucial services that need fixing to keep up with our current crisis.
Rachel took time from her busy schedule supporting constituents to chat with our Program Manager Devon Roberts
In what ways do you think you’ve grown or changed as a leader since you’ve been serving in the NCGA?
One of the main ways I’ve changed as a person or leader is my eyes have been opened to the importance of holding the majority party accountable. I had no idea of the incredible importance that held when I was elected. I have been very surprised and upset by the number of ways the folks in the majority can and do limit other people from doing the best job they can do. I have had to stretch my mind to accept that and move on. It’s been frustrating, but I’ve learned I can deal with that and find ways to work around it. I can make things happen in other ways.
What are you working on now to help women and families in NC?
Now that we’re in short session and just finished the COVID-19 session, I’m continuing to find ways to write and support legislation. I’m also helping my constituents access unemployment compensation and other pandemic resources. A lot of these people are women with children. We wrote a bill to expand Medicaid and that hasn’t happened. I’m also trying to support other women candidates because we know what needs to be done.
Do you have a fun story or memory from when you were the Lillian’s List Board Chair?
One favorite memory is when we went to a board meeting at Donna Lambeth’s house in Winston Salem. One of the best things about serving on the board was our board meetings were so energizing. Our board was so passionate about women’s health. Every time we had a board meeting I came away feeling so much better about our ability to change the world.
What do you think the most important thing the government can be doing now and into the future to help people?
We have a healthcare crisis because our infrastructure is not strong enough to support our people because we haven’t expanded Medicaid. We have one of the worst systems for African American maternal healthcare. We also have a huge crisis because our unemployment system is underfunded. We need to reform many of our systems and make them serve more North Carolinians. People can’t access benefits, it’s a mess.
We need to continue to support mental health services which will be absolutely crucial coming out of this pandemic. We have one school psychologist for every 2000 students. We’re supposed to have one for every 500 students. The longer we’re out of school the more this will be exacerbated. We need to fund this system. We have problems getting worse every day.
Why are you a champion of reproductive freedom and gender equity?
Reproductive freedom and gender equity are necessary to allow people to live their fullest lives. Women are more than half of the planet and we deserve to live our best lives and be successful and without reproductive freedom and gender equity that’s impossible.
Was there an idea or theory you had about serving in elected office that ended up not being true?
Yes. I thought I would be able to go to Raleigh and find a way to make what I promised on the campaign trail happen, like raising teacher pay or expanding Medicaid. I thought I could write a bill and it would be heard in committee and voted on on the floor. But those in the majority don’t allow that to happen.
What are you doing right now to bring yourself joy?
I try to do a variety of things that distract me. I watch silly animal videos or look at gardens online. I’ve been watching shows like the Great British Bake Off. I’ve doubled the amount of exercise I do a day and I do half of the exercise outside.