Deborah Ross, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina for the past seven years, plans to leave the organization May 3 to focus on her campaign for the state House of Representatives.
"Working for the ACLU has been tremendously rewarding, especially my work at the legislature," said Ross, a Democrat from Raleigh. "In my job, I successfully promoted laws that help people every day. This experience inspired me to run for public office."
Ross is one of three candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for the open House District 38 seat in Raleigh. The other Democrats are Bryan Collins and Victor Farah, both Raleigh lawyers.
"Deborah's leadership has greatly expanded the influence of the ACLU in the courts, the legislature and public opinion," said John Boddie, president of the ACLU of North Carolina.
The ACLU will begin a nationwide search to replace Ross.
Stevens for House
Richard Stevens, the only Republican candidate seeking the House District 38 seat, recently kicked off his campaign with a reception at Caffe Luna.
On hand were Republicans and Democrats who knew Stevens during his years as Wake County manager as well as some new political friends.
"It looks like we're going to raise about $40,000," Stevens said. "That is the kickoff event. We'll have other events."
Democrats in attendance included Dr. Charlie Sanders, retired chairman of Glaxo and a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1996; former Raleigh Mayor Smedes York; and former state Sen. Wendell Murphy, a corporate hog farmer. Among the Republicans were SAS co-founder Jim Goodnight; House Minority Leader Leo Daughtry, from Smithfield; and state Rep. David Miner, from Cary.
Davis gets backers
Former state Agriculture Commissioner Jim Graham and former state Treasurer Harlan Boyles have endorsed Lawrence Davis, a Raleigh Democrat running in the new 13th Congressional District.
In the letter mailed throughout the district last week, Graham and Boyles describe Davis as "a good and decent man of impeccable character, desirable traits that are desperately needed in our leaders during these troubled times."
Davis is one of six Democrats in the 13th District primary. The district includes parts of Raleigh, Greensboro and Burlington, and stretches across four counties along the Virginia border.
Ted drops by
U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy visited Chapel Hill last week to take a closer look at how North Carolina trains its teachers.
Kennedy, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, was briefed by more than 10 officials who described the state's efforts to recruit, train and help develop teachers for the secondary and elementary public school systems. He also heard about the state's early childhood programs, such as Smart Start and More at Four.
"We were delighted the senator wanted to come down," said Charles Coble, who leads the N.C. Center for School Leadership Development and who moderated the discussions. "He said it is astounding. There is no state in the union that has these broad-reaching initiatives."
Coble said many of the experts that Kennedy talked to may later be asked to travel to Washington to help work out national legislation.
Among those who met with Kennedy were Molly Broad, president of the University of North Carolina system; Carmen Hooker Odom, the secretary of Health and Human Services; Karen Ponder, executive director of the N.C. Partnership for Children, the umbrella organization for Smart Start; and Democratic state Reps. Verla Insko and Sen. Howard Lee, both of Chapel Hill.
By staff writers Wade Rawlins and Rob Christensen. Rawlins can be reached at 829-4528 or firstname.lastname@example.org.