North Carolina is now home to at least 20 LGBTQ elected officials, as out candidates won big in the state on Election Day.
Vernetta Alston in Durham, Michelle Kennedy in Greensboro, Jane Campbell in Davidson, Karen Stegman in Chapel Hill, Tamara Sheffield in Salisbury, and Jerry Windle in Morrisville, are all newcomers who join other LGBTQ politicians representing the community in local and state government.
Equality NC made the announcement in a post celebrating pro-equality wins, and noting that 45 of the 65 candidates it endorsed were elected.
Jane Campbell won her bid to join the Davidson Board of Commissioners.
Campbell, a retired Navy captain, previously ran unsuccessfully for the North Carolina House, against one of the sponsors of House Bill 2 (HB2).
MeckPAC endorsed Campbell and celebrated her win, noting that it means there will now be two cities in Mecklenburg county with LGBTQ representation in local government, as LaWana Mayfield won her reelection bid to remain on Charlotte City Council.
Vernetta Alston was elected to represent Ward 3 on the Durham City Council.
Alston has worked as a staff attorney for North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services and the Center for Death Penalty Litigation.
She has also served as a member of the Durham’s Citizen Advisory Committee, the Durham Peoples’ Alliance Board, and the University of North Carolina Law Pro Bono Alumni Board.
Michelle Kennedy will join the Greensboro City Council as an at-large representative.
She has served as a member of the Human Relations Commission, the Police Community Review Board, the United Way Family Success Center Design Team, and the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro Housing Access and Services Working Group.
“I understand the power of community and I know that with your help we can build the Greensboro that all our children deserve. I will champion policies that reflect progressive solutions to the challenges that face our city and work to help Greensboro lead by example.
Karen Stegman was elected to join the Chapel Hill Town Council.
Stegman serves as the Director of Business Development at IntraHealth International, a Chapel Hill based non-profit organization working in the health care field.
She has also served as a member and Chair of the Chapel Hill Public Housing Advisory Board, and sat on the board for the Town of Chapel Hill HUD Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) program. She was also a mentor for the Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate program, which provides leadership development and college preparation for students of color in Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools.
Tamara Sheffield won her bid to join the Salisbury City Council.
Sheffield previously ran for a spot on the council in 2015. She is a senior key account manager at Frito-Lay, and has served as a member or leader on more than a dozen community and city boards, the Salisbury Post reports.
“I know I’m already an ambassador for the city,” Sheffield said. “And I want to be so in an official capacity and I want to have a whole city of ambassadors.”
Jerry Windle will represent District 2 on the Morrisville Town Council.
“I want to be a representative voice and to serve the people of our town,” Windle told the Cary Citizen. “I served as a logistics officer in the Unites States Navy for 11 years on active duty and 10 years in the reserve. I hold a degree in elementary education. I am keenly aware of the importance of personal and professional integrity and of working for our citizens.”
“I am currently a senior leader at Duke University Health System and lead the system’s Revenue Management Customer Service Organization. Service is at the core of my existence, and as such, I want to serve our community,” he added.
“The wave of newly elected openly LGBTQ candidates will be vital in our efforts to keep the state moving forward,” said Matt Hirschy, Interim Executive Director Equality NC. “In a state that still suffers the legacy of HB2 and the very real effects of HB142, out-elected and pro-equality representation have never been more important.”