By Melissa Stanz
So why would a woman in her mid-60s run for Congress when she could be visiting her grandchildren or playing a round of golf with her husband Jim? For Patsy Keever, it’s part of her life fabric.
“My mother and father taught me the importance of helping others. My dad helped indigent clients and worked on the vestry at church. My mother developed a kindergarten program for Head Start and taught at the community college. It was her work in the League of Women Voters which got me interested in politics.”
Patsy has served in the North Carolina House of Representatives for the past two years; she also served three terms on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. She probably would have run for the state house again, but due to redistricting she was “double bunked” in the same legislative district as Rep. Susan Fisher.
“Susan has done a great job during her four terms and deserves to be reelected,” she said. “But my opponent in the 10th congressional district has not done such a great job.”
She is running against Patrick McHenry for the same reason she opposed Charles Taylor for the race in the old 11th Congressional District in 2004.
“I don’t think Taylor’s voting record reflected the will of the people, and I’m running against Patrick McHenry for the same reason. He is too extreme for the voters of the 10th District. I’m especially appalled at his record on women’s issues,” she said.
McHenry earned a 0% score in NARAL Pro-Choice America’s 2011 Congressional Record on Choice. In 2011, he voted along party lines to prohibit federal funding to Planned Parenthood. McHenry was also a co-sponsor of the Todd Akin-Paul Ryan “Forcible Rape” bill. Patsy noted that McHenry voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that protects a woman’s right to equal pay. She believes that a person’s gender shouldn’t determine how much she is paid.
Patsy’s schedule as the Democratic nominee for Congress in North Carolina’s newly drawn 10th District is frenetic, and she is still working to serve her constituents in the “old” District 115. It requires superb organization and some sacrifice.
“The biggest sacrifice I’m making is not getting to see my grandchildren very often,” she said. “But I’m fortunate they are all loved and cared for. Not all children are that lucky. I want to do everything I can to ensure that all children have a nurturing childhood, access to an excellent education and a healthy environment. This is another important reason why I am a public servant.”
Patsy’s mother instilled the importance of a good education in her, and Patsy taught in the public school system for 25 years prior to her political career. She knows the importance of a quality public education first hand.
“We must provide a level playing field for all of our children, giving them each the opportunity to make a living, but more importantly, to make a life. For this promise to be realized, we must begin educating our children in their earliest years and make it easier for them to continue their education past the secondary level.”
Through her teaching experience, Patsy also knows what it means to work with people from all walks of life. “If I can handle 8th graders, I can handle Congress! I plan to work to find common ground that focuses on the needs of our people,” she said.
Keever is running against a well-financed four-term Republican incumbent and understands that the oddsmakers are betting against her.
“Maybe it’s my woman’s intuition, but I’m planning on going to Washington. Once I’m there, there’s one thing you can count on: I will not forget where I came from and how I got there. And every time I take a vote, I will ask myself if this makes the community a better place for us, our children, and our grandchildren.”
Rep. Patsy Keever (NC-115) is the Democratic nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives in North Carolina’s 10th Congressional District. Keever taught in the public schools for more than 25 years and served on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners for 12 years. In 2010, Keever was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives from NC District 115.