Another Chance to Bridge our Divides
A long election season is over and I am again grateful for the support of voters in Orange and Caswell Counties. I am proud to be your State Representative for another two years. With campaigning behind us, now it is time to turn our sights toward the work of making our communities better. It is in local work that I find the most hope for healing our divided country.
I have learned a lot about serving the people of North Carolina by representing these two counties. At first blush they could not be more different: One is very Democratic, home to our state’s flagship university, and has residents from all over the world. The other is mostly Republican, has the most fishing and hunting game lands in the state, and is home to many farmers, including plenty who continue to raise tobacco.
Both counties are home to hard-working North Carolinians doing their best to support their families and foster community. Most residents are regular folks more concerned about issues closer to home than any headlines that flash across a news channel screen.
As our nation struggles to bridge divides between red and blue, rural and urban, across race and class, I find hope at the local level. Although the national news can’t seem to find a single story about people working together to bridge these divides, I see it happening every day.
I’m a Democrat, but in Caswell County I’ve found plenty of common ground with Republican elected officials. We’ve worked together on addressing local challenges such as economic development, environmental protection, and literacy. Inside the General Assembly, Senator Phil Berger and I might not agree on much, but after listening to our constituents in Caswell County we have been able to collaborate on addressing broadband access.
In Orange County, I am largely surrounded by people of similar political mind, and we often share in our outrage, indignation, and jubilation as our political fortunes ebb and flow. But the issues I actually work on usually have little to do with big divisive issues. This fall, I spent a significant amount of time working with small business owners impacted by COVID. During an average week, I’m likely to help constituents who need assistance with mental health care, unemployment, or getting licensure for their career. And yes, broadband access is an issue in Orange County as well.
As I embark on my fifth term in the General Assembly, I have met enough of my diverse constituents to know that we have many shared values and interests, despite geographic, racial, economic, and yes, political differences. I am ready to continue my work to address the impact of COVID-19. I am anxious to secure resources for our schools and our children. I am eager to get back to work on the best way to close our rural-urban resource gaps. I know the residents of House District 50 will join me, and our work together will help close our divides. You elect me to serve you, and that is what I will do. Thank you for giving me another chance to carry on this work. I won’t let you down.
Graig Meyer is the State Representative for House District 50, covering portions of Orange and Caswell Counties. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article first appeared in the News of Orange and Caswell Messenger.