An example of what’s right with public service

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You’re pissed off. Guess what? I am too. Our politics right now are more toxic than they have ever been. In D.C or in Raleigh, it seems like all we’re ever presented with is bad news and childish fighting. Republicans are guilty, Democrats are guilty. Most importantly, though? Politicians are guilty.

That’s a fact of which I’m reminded time and time again when I tell people I’m going to school to study public policy. Consider that. I love this country more than can be put into words, but every time I bring up wanting to go into public service, I’m told my dream is a lost cause.

I’m a product of the North Carolina public school system. I’m an active United Methodist, I went to the same high school my parents both graduated from and was lucky enough to be able to attend one of our local universities. I’m born and bred North Carolinian, I want you to know that.

I was thrilled when I was hired this summer as an intern in the N.C. House of Representatives, but I went into it with a grain of salt. I didn’t know my boss — some lady with a funny name, “Farmer-Butterfield” — and for all I knew, she was just another politician. Boy, was I wrong.

The first time I met her, she was leading a discussion with Toby Fitch, Rick Horner, Susan Martin and the Wilson Chamber of Commerce about what was going on in the legislature and how best they could all work together to put party aside and serve the people of Wilson County. That was the first thing she taught me — party doesn’t matter, people do.

She loves this community. One of the most incredible experiences of my life occurred a few weeks ago in Lucama, when the residents got up and bravely spoke out about the effect of their water quality on their standard of living. She didn’t speak to the TV reporter, because that’s not why we were there. She spoke to the people, and promised them that she would have their backs. I’d never been more proud to be a part of something in my life.

During my time in Wilson County, I’ve come to understand what you all know so well. Wilson County is Americana. Wilson County is what’s right with this country. I count the time I’ve spent with you all among my greatest blessings, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the lifelong friends I’ve made.

I want to leave you by giving you the most valuable thing a person can give. I want to give you my word. Jean Farmer-Butterfield is what’s right with public service. Working with her has shown me that my dream is not a lost cause. She is an example. She loves serving this community.

She’s the right choice, and I’ve never been more sure of something in my life. Please consider voting for her on Tuesday.

Lee Rodio


The writer is co-campaign manager for the Committee to Re-Elect Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield.