Why I’m Running

North Carolina has been my home for over 31 years. When I moved here in 1990, I volunteered for the campaign of Harvey Gantt, the first African-American mayor of Charlotte, in his effort to unseat U.S. Senator Jesse Helms. While I didn’t have much money, or experience in politics, I wanted to help.

Mainly, I went door to door with flyers during my hours off from work. I did it because I thought Harvey Gantt had a vision for North Carolina and the country that was grounded in the equality and dignity of all people. This resonated with me as a member of the LGBTQ community. I was sure he was going to win—and was devastated when he didn’t. I felt powerless in the face of something that I, frankly, did not understand. But what I took away from that experience was a deep need to find a way to have an impact.

Lisa in a graduation gownI decided to go to law school, believing this was a way to get the tools I needed to make change. After I graduated, I took on workers’ rights issues like discrimination and wage violations. I also managed several statewide campaigns for Democratic judges, and I volunteered in other races because I believed those efforts were valuable in making positive change in North Carolina. Now I work at a non-profit law firm that advocates for the civil rights of people with disabilities, which gives me a direct route to challenging unjust policies that hurt people who have been marginalized and undervalued in our society. 

A constant through these experiences is that systems of power do not yield easily. I have spent decades fighting against the harms caused by bad policies. As Desmond Tutu said, “There comes a point where we have to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.” Even as we work to counter the harmful effects of bad policies, we need to go to the source.

These policies come through the North Carolina Senate. I decided to run for the NC Senate because there is so much good we can do—and bad we can stop—if we take back the power that belongs to the people and use that power for the good of the people. It is really that simple. I hope you will join me in this effort.