Yvonne Holley had already done “her part” for the state of North Carolina when she spent her career with the North Carolina Department of Administration.
But, when she retired, she saw an opportunity in a new district that was drawn in her home of Wake County. She ran for the state House and won in 2012.
When she did, she brought her experiences with her, including what it was like to be one of the first African-Americans to attend Aycock Middle School and Enloe High School in Raleigh.
“When we were there, between sixth and 12th grade, we struggled with some of the students,” Holley said. “We fought, we argued, but we grew and learned and by the time I graduated, I had lifelong friends, both Black and white.”
In her eight years in the legislature, she helped develop what she calls her, “ALI program” – Affordable Living Initiative – with pillars like a living wage, food security, job training and affordable housing.
But her priorities don’t stop there.
“Education, education, education and Medicaid, Medicaid, Medicaid,” Holley said.
She says she’s seen the devastation the pandemic has done to the economy.
“I can tell you a lot of people are being pushed into low-wage jobs,” Holley said. “In my community, there are a lot of underemployed people who have great skill sets but they’re pushed into low-wage jobs.”
See more from Yvonne Holley in this Your Local Election Headquarters profile.