This 30-year-old went from being jaded by politics to running for the N.C. House
In his first run for elected office, Chaz Beasley, 30, has been handed a surprise: Last week, the Republican incumbent of District 92, N.C. Representative Charles Jeter, resigned and suspended his reelection campaign to spend more time with his family.
The Mecklenburg County Republican executive committee will decide how to fill the vacant position and possibly find a new candidate for the race. Until that time, Beasley is on his own in a district that stretches from the Catawba River to Lake Wylie. It’s something he’s become used to — he didn’t have a Democratic opponent in the primary.
In our Q&A, Beasley, the Democratic candidate for N.C. House District 92, talks about getting our generation to vote and involved in politics, plus one issue Jeter and him passionately agree on: Blocking the Interstate-77 toll lane project.
Was Jeter’s resignation a surprise to you?
I believe it was a surprise to just about everyone. We were not expecting that news to come out. … I think often times when it comes to politics, people really (become) personally invested in winning and losing and they forget that, we are all people trying to make our communities better. I give him all the credit in the world for the fact that he has devoted four years of his life to being in elected office here in District 92. I really hope that whatever he decides to do next is successful and prosperous.
What does this mean for your race?
We’re still running our race just as hard as we were before. We’re not counting our chickens before they hatch and, quite frankly, regardless of what the outcome may be going forward in terms of an opponent, we are not running against anyone. We are running for this district so we got to remember that the election aside, we got folks really counting on us, people we need to introduce ourselves to, people we need to let know we will be representing them and will do what it takes to represent them well. Just because our current opponent dropped out does not mean the election is over. The election is over November 8.
What’s the most important issue in District 92?
The issue that resonates the most for me personally comes down to education. I was the son of a single mom. We didn’t have much money when I was growing up, but I was able to get a great education in public school, in North Carolina, and that allowed me to go to Harvard and Georgetown for law school and that was really my ticket out.
When it comes to the other major issues in District 92, the toll lanes, especially in the northern part of the district that covers Huntersville, have been tremendously important. We have been against the tolls since the beginning. I’m a contracts lawyer in my background, so when I heard about the project, I read the contract, and reading the contract showed me this was a bad deal for our district and so I’ve been fighting against it from day one and will continue to do so.
Sen. Jeff Jackson told me about what he was doing to repeal HB2 when the General Assembly was in session. What would you have done if you were there during the back and forth about House Bill 2?
I wouldn’t have voted for it to begin with.
We’re both 30. Our generation is often wary of establishment politics. What do you think about this trend of people running for office who are not trained politicians?
There was a point in my life where I was feeling pretty jaded by the political system and about what was going on in our society. So much of politics is about scoring points against people, dragging people through the mud, driving up your opponent’s unfavorables, all these things that quite frankly to our generation don’t come across as topical or necessary in order to get things done. What changed my mind is when someone said, “Chaz, you’re a good person and you seem to be concerned about politics because there are so many people who are in it for the wrong reason.” They said if people who are in politics for the wrong reason are the only ones that jump in, then who do you think is going to be left? People who need to be in office or people who don’t? That really changed my perspective.
How do you energize well-meaning people to vote and get politically active?
So much of our politics has become mass produced and cookie cutter and about trying to see what box you fit in that we’ve forgotten the part of old-fashioned relationship and friendship building. One of the reasons why so many millennials are disengaged from politics is so much of what we do as millennials involves person to person contact.
Really and truly, what social networking has allowed us to do is touch people individually we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to touch because of distance, because of technological limitations. One of the strengths of our generation is we’re bringing back the idea of person to person contact and not numbers to numbers contact.
Written by Joanne Spataro, Charlotte Five. Original article at http://www.charlottefive.com/how-this-30-year-old-went-from-being-jaded-by-politics-to-running-for-the-n-c-house/.