RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Rep.-elect Deborah Ross is not just one of four women elected to represent North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Ross, a Democrat, is also the first person to serve in the newly drawn 2nd Congressional District.
Back from freshman orientation in Washington, she is focused on the needs of the people in her state in the wake of COIVD-19.
“It is so, so important that we help our small businesses, make sure with the surge that we’re seeing in COVID that we’re taking care of our hospitals and we have enough PPE – which is now becoming an issue again,” Ross said.
She went on to say extending unemployment in North Carolina is at the top of her mind.
“As many of your viewers know, North Carolina has some of the shortest periods for unemployment and with the lowest compensation. And we have many people who are out of work through no fault of their own and we need that unemployment assistance desperately,” Ross said.
She said she learned first hand during her campaign how difficult it is for so many people.
“We formed a small business round table with people from several of the municipalities in different kinds of businesses to see what they needed because we didn’t have a package forthcoming for small businesses. I’ve talked to people who are unemployed, people in the restaurant industry, and some of the service industries so I do think I’ve had some time to focus on this,” she said.
“I have a lot of real-world stories about how we can help people not just in Wake County but throughout the state and the country,” said Ross.
The Democrat and attorney, who won 63 percent of the vote, said it is imperative that a COVID-19 vaccine distribution goes smoothly.
“North Carolina is one of the places where so much great science and vaccine innovation is going on along with other places in the country and around the world. I’m very hopeful that the vaccine will be available and available widely but remember we have got to give it to our critical front-line workers first. They have been doing hero’s work during this pandemic and we’ve got to protect them so that they can help others” Ross said.
As the former director of the ACLU of North Carolina, Ross wants to have a hand in working toward criminal justice reform.
“I of course will be happy to weigh in with my experiences here in North Carolina. North Carolina has done some good things in the past in the areas of justice and policing,” Ross said. “The most important thing is that we keep our people safe and have fairness in our system, dealing with systemic racism and making sure that we bring our communities together.”
Ross said she is looking forward to a what she believes will be a stronger focus by the Biden administration on the environment and renewable energy.
“It’s been a high priority for me since I was in the legislature working on the renewable energy portfolio standards and working with renewable energy companies for the past 10 years. The important thing with solar energy is making sure that you can use that energy 24 hours a day seven days a week and even on cold winter mornings,” Ross said.
She said ways to get and store that energy are important.
” Because if the sun’s not shining it’s hard to have that energy go out into the system. Those are technological solutions that are really coming forward and need to be supported and I’m seeing that support even across the aisle,” Ross said. “Hopefully, we can do all we can to not just support solar but wind and many other kinds of renewable resources to reduce our carbon footprint but make sure that people get the access to the energy they need for people to go about their daily lives.”
There is a tremendous amount of frustration across the state and the country that Congress continues to fail when it comes to helping those suffering the most during the pandemic.
But, Ross is optimistic.
“I will tell you that two of the incumbent Republican members reached out to me very early on to congratulate me on my election and talk about ways that we can collaborate and we have followed up. So I am hoping that when it’s something that helps the people of North Carolina we can come together and get the job done” she said.