Profile: Sen. Valerie Foushee
North Carolina Senator Valerie Foushee is running for re-election this November to continue fighting for equality and justice for all.
Foushee began her tenure in the General Assembly after observing statewide cuts to education funding, a lack of transparency in government, and an uptick in women’s rights violations. Compelled to take action, she joined the NC House in 2012, where she began to generate change by passing local legislation. A year later, following the retirement of Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, Foushee began her career in the NC Senate representing District 23, which includes Orange and Chatham Counties.
Since being elected to office, Foushee has focused her platform on expanding Medicaid, increasing governmental accountability, promoting economic recovery and development, and restoring funding to all levels of education. She believes that North Carolina must invest in education, as quality education increases opportunity for all by expanding access to jobs and attracting new businesses. She also thinks that by increasing transparency government becomes accessible to its citizens, so that together, elected officials and their constituents make more informed decisions.
Foushee has sponsored legislation to increase funding for public education, increase teacher pay, and enable income-eligible children to participate in the NC Pre-K program. She has also sponsored bills to repeal HB2 in its entirety, amend NC labor laws to end wage theft, end the gender pay gap in NC, increase the scope and punishment of hate crimes, and provide education for prisoners in order to reduce recidivism. Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foushee has supported legislation to mandate hazard pay for state employees fighting COVID-19 on the frontlines; allocate funds to support farmers, restaurants, hotels, and small businesses; and provide economic relief for North Carolinians. In 2019 Foushee was named Legislator of the Year by the NC Teacher Association of Teacher Assistants and Senator of the Year by the NC League of Conservation Voters.
A lifelong Orange County resident, Foushee attended Chapel Hill High School before graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in political science and African and Afro-American studies. She then devoted 21 years to serving in the Chapel Hill Police Department, where she supervised two units. After retiring, she turned her focus toward politics and was elected to the Board of Education for Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools for three terms, serving as Chair from 2001 to 2003. She then became the first African-American female elected to the Orange County Board of Commissioners in 2004, where she served two terms and became Chair from 2008 to 2010.
Foushee has held many leadership positions within her community, ranging from serving as a member of the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of the Eastern Piedmont, to the Board of Trustees for Durham Technical Community College. She has a demonstrated passion for minority representation in government, as the former president of the NC Association of Black County Officials, a member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch of the NAACP, and the current chair of the NC Black Alliance. She is also an active member of First Baptist Church of Chapel Hill.
Foushee believes that there is much more that she can accomplish for District 23. In seeking re-election, she aims to continue ensuring equality, strengthening the economy, protecting the environment, and investing in quality education. She recognizes that North Carolina, along with the rest of the country, is experiencing new difficulties on all fronts—from unprecedented economic challenges as COVID-19 continues to ravage the state, to continual police brutality and demands for government reform. In the face of adversity, Foushee pledges to fight to protect and provide for her constituents and work to build a brighter future for all.