When National Public Radio approached Women AdvaNCe about participating in a story about unmarried women voters, we jumped at the chance. Women make up 54% of eligible voters in North Carolina, and yet half of us never make it to the polls during midterm elections. With controversial budget cuts to healthcare, education, and public programs, all eyes are on North Carolina’s women voters as we head into one of the most important midterm elections our state has ever faced.
Four unmarried women voters—Ashley Perveiler, Hannah Jernigan, Kara Davies, and Valerie Evans of Wake County—took an hour out of their busy schedules to join Women AdvaNCe and NPR in a recording studio in Durham. In the following excerpts from the interview, these women share what they care about as they consider voting in 2014.
“TEACHER PAY is definitely a hot topic right now. Most of my family members are teachers, so I’ve grown up around education, knowing the importance of having quality teachers in our school system. Most of the teachers I know just don’t have that sense of job satisfaction that you always want to leave with. You want to know that the work you’re doing is appreciated. Because of the cut-backs and everything that is happening in our state, they feel a lack of appreciation. Two teachers that I know, who are wonderful teachers, recently left for the private sector because there’s better pay for those jobs. I think it’s unfortunate that we’re losing so many wonderful teachers because it seems like our government isn’t making education a priority.” – Hannah Jernigan, practice development manager at a Durham law firm.
“AFFORDABLE EDUCATION is my issue. I just graduated last May from Appalachian State and there are not jobs for people who are graduating right now. I’m having trouble paying my bills. It’s just not working out. I have a college degree and I’m working at Macy’s in the ladies’ shoe department. I look at my college diploma every day and think, “What am I doing? I’m $30,000 in debt and I’m 23 years old.” That’s definitely a huge concern for me.” – Ashley Perveiler, recent college grad living in Wake County.
“ECONOMIC SELF-SUFFICIENCY is what I really care about. After graduating with my Master’s degree, it took me over a year to find a job, causing me to go into massive debt. During that time, my son received services from the early intervention program and had Medicaid as his secondary insurance. Those types of programs helped me get to where I am today, able to take care of myself and my family. There have been so many cuts to Medicaid, early intervention programs, and to our schools. It scares me that the working poor aren’t going to have an opportunity to get ahead. I have a great interest in helping to make sure others have the same opportunities I did.” – Kara Davies, global non-profit program manager.
“WOMEN’S HEALTH is very important to me. I’m an avid voter, but I wouldn’t say that I’m an activist, until last summer. When all of the legislation was going through impacting clinic sustainability and a woman’s right to choose in NC, it really got my attention. I went to Raleigh to attend rallies and visited the legislative building to watch elected officials doing their thing. It was an important example of how decisions they make can impact our lives.” – Valerie Evans, assistant professor at a Raleigh university.
How do these women’s concerns stack up against your own?
- Share your opinion with us via Twitter and Facebook.
- Share your story with the White House. Video and email submissions to the White House Summit on Working Families (which will take place on June 23rd) help shape the conversation on what it means to be a working American.
- Check out our Add Your Voice toolkit, which provides detailed instructions on how to write letters, make phone calls, and arrange meetings with your elected officials.