Profile: Rep. Robert Reives II
North Carolina House Representative Robert Reives II is running for re-election this November to continue his pledge to give back to his state and its citizens.
Born and raised in Sanford, NC, Reives has dedicated his life to bettering his community. After graduating from the University of North Carolina School of Law, Reives returned home to Lee County to serve as an assistant district attorney. There he was exposed to the realities of the criminal justice system and quickly realized the importance of crafting and applying fair legislation to protect marginalized populations. He became a partner at Wilson, Reives, and Silverman, where he has worked for over two decades. Throughout his law career, Reives has consistently prioritized community involvement, whether by sponsoring education scholarships, hosting community events, or actively participating in his church.
Following the resignation of Deb McManus in 2013, Reives was encouraged by the Chatham County Democratic Party to take her seat as the representative of House District 54, which encompasses Chatham County and portions of Lee and Durham Counties. In 2014, following an outpouring of community support, Reives successfully won his seat in the NC House and has since served three terms.
Over the course of his political career, Reives has emphasized the importance of improving public education, advocating for the environment, and protecting the rights of his constituents. Reives has demonstrated his values through action – both in enacting progressive policies and blocking destructive legislation.
“As for successes, we’ve been able to halt a lot of the bad policies that we’ve seen over the last eight years,” Reives said in a virtual town hall meeting hosted by the Chatham County Democratic Party. “We’ve been able to prevent an expansion with charter schools at the expense of our public education system. We’ve also beat back what could have been some pretty harmful environmental bills that otherwise would have passed. We’ve been able to play really good defense.”
Reives has proposed numerous influential policies, notably legislation to ensure access to clean water, minimize environmental damage from fracking, and incentivize clean energy. With regard to education, he has worked to increase teacher pay, reduce class size, and devote more resources to early education. Reives has also sponsored legislation establishing a domestic worker’s bill of rights, assuring fair redistricting, protecting voting access, and adopting the NC Equal Rights Amendment.
Since entering office, Reives has served in a multitude of leadership positions. In his first term, he was picked to be the Freshman Caucus Co-Chair and the Sergeant at Arms of the NC Legislative Black Caucus. He currently serves as the Deputy Democratic Leader of the House, Vice Chair of the Education-Community Colleges Committee, and the Vice-Chair of the Judiciary III Committee.
In seeking a fourth term, Reives aims to continue his quest to help North Carolina flourish. He states that his top priorities upon re-election will be passing independent redistricting, expanding Medicaid, and continuing to invest in education, despite decreases in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve looked at forecasts that put us at more than 4 billion dollars down, as far as expected revenue,” Reives said. “We have to figure out how to get a good, robust investment in education. Our public education system is the only thing that’s going to get us out of this, and we’ve got to invest in it, and we’ve got to figure out ways to make it better.”
With much uncertainty surrounding the logistics of the upcoming election, Reives urges his constituents to request an absentee ballot as soon as possible and to vote, in spite of the many forces attempting to undermine that right. As an experienced representative, a trusted leader, and a man who has a demonstrated record of putting the needs of the state first, Reives believes that, with your help, he can lead North Carolina to greatness.
“The most important attribute in an elected official is that they desire to work for the things the district cares about, and our district has said time and time again that we, and this state, need good healthcare, great public education, to be stewards of the environment, and to invest in responsible economic development,” Reives said. “I will continue to fight for those things every day.”