Have you heard about the opportunity we have to bring 43,000 jobs to North Carolina? 

No, I am not talking about Amazon. Amazon’s recent decision to locate a headquarters with nearly 50,000 jobs generated national buzz. Cities across the country offered billions in incentives and waited excitedly to hear about their announcement. 

Did you know that we have the opportunity to bring that many jobs to North Carolina without the state footing the bill for or offering billions in incentives? An opportunity that would also provide nearly 500,000 working people with healthcare, provide quality access to health and mental health services, and likely save hundreds of lives? 

Unlike a business headquarters, this opportunity would support people across the entire state of North Carolina. It would provide funds to help address the opioid crisis. It would provide better mental health services, improving our schools. It would support rural areas across our state keep hospitals open and provide new jobs in healthcare. It could also help over 23,000 uninsured veterans gain access to quality healthcare.

If you consider the facts, this is too good to be true, no matter where you stand politically. Right? 

Right, but it is true. Expanding Medicaid in North Carolina would do all of these things. It could bring jobs, support rural economies, expand access to healthcare to working people and veterans, and help our entire state grow stronger. And the state doesn’t have to pay the bill. In fact, the federal government, North Carolina hospitals and the healthcare systems have already agreed to pay for it.

I co-sponsored a bill alongside of all of my fellow North Carolina Democrats for our state to expand Medicaid now. It is one of our top priorities. 37 states have already expanded Medicaid, many of them benefiting for several years from this expansion. 

Today, there are politicians on both sides of the aisle in North Carolina who support the decision to expand Medicaid, but there are a few Republicans determined to block it. There is no logic for such a decision; it is simply a theoretical stand against the Affordable Care Act. 

Now is not the time for partisan politics. I was elected to make decisions that represent all of the people of my district, to make decisions that are good for our state’s future. This is the smart – and the morally right – decision. This is a win-win opportunity for our state.

I need your help. Make the buzz about this that it deserves. Support this expansion no matter where you stand politically. Support this because you know it is good for the people of Orange and Chatham Counties – and good for the entire state of North Carolina. 

Thank you for the opportunity to serve. I am honored and humbled by your confidence in my ability to represent you in the General Assembly. I look forward to working to build a North Carolina that works for everyone.

Valerie P. Foushee is a Democratic member of the North Carolina General Assembly, representing the 23rd district in the North Carolina Senate, serving Orange and Chatham counties.