North Carolina State Senator Erica Smith for U.S. Senate

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13 mins read

I am running for United States Senate because our delegation in Washington is not putting the people of North Carolina first. We need to move beyond party politics to create policy initiatives to ensure that workers can find jobs, fair wages and growth opportunities.

We need to reject the corruption of corporate interests so that our elected officials are held accountable by their only boss— their constituents. We need to remember what we have in common so we can promote an agenda of equal protection and opportunity under the law for all citizens of North Carolina.

We must prioritize policies that protect our sacred environment and harness resources toward promoting clean energy initiatives. We must put our children’s future first.

What is your background and special interests?

I come from a family of farmers, educators, and US Military Service men and women.  My five siblings and I (5 girls and 1 boy) grew up on a small family farm in northeastern NC after travelling around the world and country with our father who retired from the USAF.  My mom, the domestic engineer of the family, managed logistics for our family of 8 and instilled in US the importance of serving humanity. My father passed away in 2011. My mom is retired – spending 20 years as a substitute teacher, seamstress and office manager after her youngest was high school age. I live in Henrico NC, where I am blessed to share four sons (three living) and a dog. My sons are grown, 26, 24, 20 and eternally 5 years old.   

Service to Country – I was fortunate to attend the NC School of Science & Mathematics, a residential high school for academically gifted students, and fell in love with STEM.  After earning a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, I spent 10 years in high tech corporate America in defense and space research and design engineering with Newport News Shipbuilding, Boeing and US Patent & Trademark Office. 

Service to Humanity – I have served humanity through the teaching corps since 2003 as a high school math, chemistry and physics teacher, and most recently as a Secondary Math Instructional Specialist. Serving as a community grassroots, local and state leader since 2000 has empowered me with governance acumen that will enable me to continue advancing equity, and deconstructing systems of economic, environmental and social oppression.  

Special Interests – 

  • Economic Justice – We must address the growing wage inequities between the wealthy 1% and the remaining 99%. This is best done through a calibrated tax and spend plan that prioritizes entrepreneurship, strategic infrastructure investments and enhanced incentives for growing small businesses and job creation.  I support targeted and strategic investments in water and sewer infrastructure, broadband, agriculture innovation, biofuels, clean energy options of wind, solar, and our highway system in order to revitalize rural economies. Closing the rural-urban divide through these re-investments will enable us  to create jobs while stabilizing underserved communities and strengthen our economy. In promoting economic development, we must work closely with our community colleges for building a skilled workforce and k-12 education systems for promoting career ready graduates. Main street revitalization and access to federal incentive programs are key contributors to growing corporate and small businesses, creating 21st century jobs and securing prosperity for all Americans. The formulas we write in Washington DC should work in all areas of our Union.  We are at a critical juncture in our nation where we must use our economic tools to promote job creation through ensuring a healthy environment for growth and support of small businesses. Our economic policies, tax and spend planning and regulations should be constructed in a manner that provides businesses with certainty and incentives, and consumers with confidence and more income. Tax cuts, government spending and fiscal policy should build the middle class and benefit more than the wealthy. I favor conservative fiscal principles and believe that retooling our formulas for business incentives should prioritize job creation.
  • Environmental Justice – I support solar and wind energy installations, broadband expansion and environmental justice for land owners. The types of 100-year, and 500-year floods that we have experienced in two years across this nation is a warning to America that we must have a more proactive plan to deal with global warming, climate change and disaster responsiveness. Communication is a key component in responding to disasters. In this vain, we must continue to invest in satellite and communications technology that provide early prediction and monitoring of storm patterns in order to evacuate as many people as possible out of the eye of the storm. We must further perform analysis of climate change and implement policy and target goals for reducing emissions and carbon-power generation. Other necessary steps would be to relocate threatening industries outside of the flood plains so that we can limit pollution to our clean water supplies that result from spillage, pond overflow, and flooding. Our local, state and federal planners must optimize engineering designs for emergency structures that withstand category 2, 3, 4 winds and stop relying on schools – many of which are in no condition to safely house residents in a storm. There must be federal, state and local efforts to audit regulations, policies and statutes with various EPA, Emergency Management and FEMA related to crisis response and modify any current practices for more optimized results.
  • Medicare for All – When elected to serve as your next US Senator, I will fight for access to affordable healthcare, through a single payer plan that incentivizes enrollment for consumers by maintaining provider choice, and for businesses by crafting payer metrics that balance overhead costs through revenue-neutral metrics.  We must make this healthcare for all approach more affordable by eliminating direct consumer advertising and controlling prescription drug prices. Competition and demand supply principles can be advanced without the exploitation of driving up costs in this misery economy in order to exploit profit margins by treating rather than curing illness.  Still further, I support advancing medical research for curing cancer, HIV/AIDS, and access to Women’s Reproductive Healthcare. In order to control costs of Medicare for All, I am committed to improving health ratings in low scoring regions and populations in our country through coordinated strategies for improving ratings. I will work hard as your US Senator to increase access to preventative health, increase recreation access and fitness awareness and promote access to healthy food options. Nationally – we can seek more resources through Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for funding programs to address these disparities through community health partnerships. Providing more access to preventative care by closing the healthcare coverage gap through expansion of affordable healthcare for all would make a tremendous impact with reducing high costs of patient emergency care and provide early diagnosis and prevention of serious illness. Addressing food deserts and consequent lack of healthy options through farm-to-table initiatives, community gardens. USDA grants, and healthy eating public service programs. Promoting ecotourism and recreation through expanding development of walking, biking and scooter trails across underserved communities. I will also work to revise our elementary and secondary education standards of learning to include an increase in physical education requirements for students K-12, revising FDA, USDA, regulations to promote healthier national standards would also be an effort I would promote on the Hill to improve the lives of North Carolinians and all Americans.

What is the biggest problem facing our community now and how would you address it?

The biggest threat to Democracy in our country is a plutocratic ruling class that abuses power to promote wealth inequality, and economic and environmental injustices.  

  1.  End Citizens United by proposing Constitutional protections for the electorate by eliminating personhood for corporations and public campaign financing that includes limits on campaign spending.
  2. Propose legislation that raises federal minimum wage, advances equal pay for equal work across genders and demographics, and implements criminal justice reforms to provide voting rights for non-violent felons, who are incarcerated or under supervision. 
  3. Advance voter engagement and participation by promoting automatic voter registration for all 18 year olds, and reintroducing VRA Section 5 preclearance requirements to address “Rigged” ™ elections, primarily in the south, by providing federal protections for voters from unconstitutional gerrymandering and voter suppression tactics. 
  4. Monitor exponential over-earnings and unjust enrichment of congress members through transparency, compliance and oversight.

How can we help with your campaign?

  1.  Successfully lobby for the DSCC, NC Democratic Party & Governor’s Fundraising Lists.  There has obviously been list sharing. There is a monopoly on access, and we need an army helping US demand access. 
  2. Social Media Explosion Team – We must raise our profile. We need to get our following doubled on all platforms by the end of November going into December filing for NC.   
  3. Petition the DSCC, NCDP and DNC to refrain from interfering in the Primary; let NC’ian voters base their decision on the work of the candidates not the dollars of outside interests. The establishment Democrats were one of the coffin nails in 2016. We cannot embody our Party ideals of a “Big Tent Party of Inclusion” if we insist on only backing wealthy, privileged, white male candidates over competent, constituent-centered, women of diversity. 
  4. Anyone who has special access contacts to Maddow, the Obamas, Oprah, Stacey Abrams, and anyone else who could raise our profile with endorsements – we need you to introduce us. 

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Smith is a Democratic member of the North Carolina State Senate, representing District 3 – Beaufort, Bertie, Martin, Northampton, Vance and Warren counties. She was first elected to the NC General Assembly in 2014 making history as the first woman to serve the district in the Senate. Her prior political experience includes Northampton County Board of Education Member (2008-2014), Northampton County Democratic Party Chair and First-Vice Chair (2006-2013). Smith was unopposed in both the Democratic primary and general elections in 2016. Smith holds leadership as the Co-Chair of the Joint Legislative Women’s Caucus, bipartisan caucus of House and Senate members for the 2017-2019 biennium. She also serves as the Second Vice-Chair of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus for the 2017-2019 Session. Sen. Smith was selected by the State Employees’ Association of North Carolina as the Freshman Legislator of the Year in 2016 and the Lillian’s’ List Political Courage Award Recipient in 2017.

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