U.S. Senate nominee Cheri Beasley visits Chatham County voters

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PITTSBORO — Former N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley made a brief stop in Chatham County on primary election day last Tuesday to speak to supporters about her U.S. Senate bid.

A few hours after she left, she was declared the race’s winner.

“It’s great to be here with the people of Chatham County,” Beasley said. “It’s great to feel their enthusiasm and their excitement about why this race is so important.”

Beasley will face Republican nominee Ted Budd, who defeated former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory in a landslide victory last Tuesday. If elected in November, Beasley would become the first Black U.S. Senator in North Carolina history.

Beasley said having more diversity in the U.S. Senate was important, and she said she especially understands this as she was the first Black woman to be the chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court.

“The first time I ever saw an African-American woman residing in a courtroom, it was then judge Patricia Timmons in Cumberland County, and for me, it was life changing,” Beasley said. “I know that representation matters, and diversity is very important.”

The former chief justice attested to the importance of the general election in November, as it may determine if Democrats or Republicans control the U.S. House and Senate.

“It’s wonderful that so many people are coming down and really appreciate the magnitude of this election,” Beasley said. “We’ve got a lot of awesome support from a lot of great people who care a lot about North Carolina.”

Beasley spoke to voters during the Chatham meet and greet event, where people voiced their concerns to the Senate candidate. Some issues voters expressed their worries ranging from inflation and higher costs to health care access.

“We need to protect our Constitutional rights, and we need so much more,” Beasley said. “We know that so many people are working two or three jobs to pay the rent because often there’s not affordable housing, we know that schools need the support to make sure that children can have the education that they need … We need a senator who’s not afraid to speak out, who will stand courageously for the people here in Chatham County and North Carolina.”

An issue many Chatham residents have voiced concern over is water quality. Pittsboro residents have been victim to several spills and discharges of unregulated chemical compounds — such as 1,4-Dioxane and PFAS — into the Haw River, Pittsboro’s main source of drinking water.

Beasley said she wants to address water contamination if elected to the U.S. Senate, as it plagues the entire nation, not just North Carolina.

“These issues, frankly, are really not partisan,” she said. “If you don’t have clean air or clean water, it doesn’t matter whether you’re Democrat or Republican.”

Monitoring the changing weather patterns due to the climate crisis and building infrastructure for renewable energy will also help to bring Chatham residents cleaner water and air, according to Beasley. Staying on top of what Beasley calls “the climate crisis” will help improve economic development and infrastructure of the county, including in Chatham County.

“We want to make sure above all, those things and what they do is helping the impact of the climate, but it also brings amazingly great paying jobs to the area,” Beasley said.

Beasley said she has the right qualifications to be North Carolina’s voice on the national stage. A former public defender, a former North Carolina Supreme Court justice and a mother are just a few of the experiences Beasley holds. She hopes to add the title U.S. Senator to her list of accomplishments and serve the state she said she loves.

“I’ve been tasked with and taken an oath to respect the rule of law and the Constitution,” Beasley said. “It’s been my honor really to be in service, but also to offer myself in this way to really continue to fight for the people in North Carolina to stand for what’s right.”

Reporter Taylor Heeden can be reached at theeden@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @HeedenTaylor.

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