My Open Letter to Chatham Democratic Women

Reprinted with permission from the Chatham County Democratic Women Newsletter, January 2012.

As a proud long-time member of the Chatham County Democratic Women, I am especially grateful to have this opportunity to tell you why I am running for the new open seat in State House District 54.

As you know, Tea Party Republicans in the N. C. Legislature have been waging a war on women, most notably with legislation to eviscerate women’s right to reproductive choice and freedom. In my view, such attacks on women hurt women, men, children, families and communities — in other words all of us.

Not surprisingly, the  Tea Party is also leading a crusade against the environment: They don‘t believe in climate change, they want to fast-track fracking before we have enough information about its long-term consequences, and they want to loosen environmental regulations on industries that pollute our air, soil and water.

Tea Party legislators have also been working against public education, which is essential for all citizens to have a fair chance to succeed in life. These politicians would rather balance the state budget on the backs of teachers and school children than invest in quality public education from pre-school through community colleges and universities.

In fact, the Tea Party crowd  in Raleigh seems to have forgotten that many North Carolinians are still out of work.  Instead of focusing on strengthening our schools, environment and infrastructure to attract good jobs, they’ve been hyperventilating about social issues designed to divide and distract us, rather than unite us.

You deserve to have someone in Raleigh from our district who is not afraid to speak out on these and other vital issues.  As a long-time community advocate, I have been speaking truth to power on the local level for years. As a “tell it like it is” newspaper editor and publisher, I promoted more open government and worked hard to give voice to all people, not just the chosen few. As a civil rights attorney, I represented the rights of workers, women, minorities and those with disabilities.

Most recently I have been working to support local businesses and attract good jobs and affordable housing as a board member for the Chatham Economic Development Corporation and Triangle South Workforce Development and a former chair for the Chatham Affordable Housing Advisory Board.

I believe that is why local Democratic leaders drafted me for this race. And that is why I would be honored to earn your support and your vote, so that we can work together on these issues in Raleigh and here at home.

Finally, I have to confess that I have a very personal reason to take the long view in running for legislative office. I want to make a difference on the issues that will affect the next generation, including my granddaughters right here in Chatham.

Thanks for all that you do for our community. Let’s keep on.

–Jeff Starkweather

Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: