Q&A with Rhonda Foxx: “Always, have the courage to try, take risks and you do not have to be perfect to lead.”

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OTS: Tell us about yourself. Why did you decide to get off the sidelines and run for office?

RF: I got off the sidelines because of Sen. Gillibrand. I met the Senator at an EMILY’s List reception and she brought me on the next day as an intern — from then on I only worked for women in politics. Senator Gillibrand has supported each and every one of those women. Now, I’m running, in large part because she’s always pushed me to be engaged and to advocate for the issues that matter to me.

OTS: Tell us about where you’re running/what your state/district is like?

RF: I am running in North Carolina’s Sixth Congressional District. This is a newly drawn District (created because of partisan gerrymandering lawsuits). It is now a D+18 district that is an open seat. Black voters account for 54% of the democratic voting strength and women and millennials are the highest voting blocs. The district is also home to three HBCUs, I am proud to serve on the Board of Visitors for one of them — North Carolina A&T.

OTS: Whose support or encouragement are you most grateful for?

RF: My mother’s. She is my rock.

OTS: What one piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?

RF: Always have the courage to try, take risks, and you do not have to be perfect to lead.

OTS: What issue do you believe deserves more attention on the campaign trail?

RF: Criminal justice reform — there has been a 600% uptick in women’s incarceration. Additionally, women shoulder the burden of men’s incarceration. This is a major issue that’s leaving too many of us behind.

OTS: What’s an interesting book/article you’re reading now or you’ve recently finished? And why?

RF: I read a piece about Black women candidates.

Black women are empowered to vote, but we aren’t empowered to be on the ballots. It’s why I’m off the sidelines.

OTS: What’s a fun fact that people might not know about you?

RF: I was homecoming queen at UNC Chapel Hill — I can be fun!

OTS: If you could have dinner with three people (living or deceased) who would they be and why?

RF: Shirley Chisholm, Michelle Obama, Princess Diana — they all had the courage to try. They took risks, they were bold, fierce and they gave so much to their communities and causes.

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