By Mickayla McCann
Sen. Valerie Foushee is running for re-election to the NC Senate to continue to fight for what is right for the citizens of the state.
She first joined the legislature in 2012 as a member of the NC House, representing District 50, which includes Orange and Durham Counties. Foushee stated that she was initially inspired to run after observing a trend in cuts toward education funding, a lack of transparency in government, and an assault on women’s rights. Her career in the NC Senate began a year later, after Sen. Ellie Kinnaird retired from District 23, which serves Orange and Chatham Counties.
Since being elected to office, Foushee has devoted her energies toward promoting economic recovery and development, restoring funding to all levels of education, and increasing governmental accountability. She believes that in order to provide opportunity for her constituents, North Carolina needs to invest in education that will bolster a brighter future for all by increasing access to jobs and attracting new businesses. She also states that by increasing transparency, government and its citizens can work together to make informed, fair decisions.
“As a legislator, I think one of my proudest accomplishments has to be that, even though we are a minority [party], I have been able to secure appropriations for Orange and Chatham counties,” Foushee said.
Among the many pieces of legislation that Foushee has passed, she has stated that her crowning achievement was a bill guaranteeing that legitimate provisional ballots would be counted. She also helped provide infrastructure and utilities for 17 acres of the Siler City mega-site in order to make it more attractive for prospective businesses.
As a lifelong Orange County resident, Foushee graduated from Chapel Hill High School before majoring in political science and African and Afro-American studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. 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 the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools for three terms, serving as Chair from 2001-2003. 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 2008-2010.
Foushee has also 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 Eastern Piedmont, to the Chair of the NCACC Healthy Living Task Force, to Board Chair of the Marian Jackson Center, to the Board of Trustees for Durham Technical Community College. She is also an active member of the First Baptist Church.
Foushee states that there is much more that she would like to accomplish for District 23, and she aims to focus her next term on strengthening the economy, protecting the environment, ensuring equality, and above all, investing in quality education.
“I believe in public education,” Foushee said. “Education is that great leveler. Providing a level playing field for students such that they have access and opportunity—that is the key to the future.”
To stay updated on Foushee’s campaign, check out her website.