Stephen Valentine describes himself as a veteran, social worker and educator. The New Jersey native, who has lived in County Durham since 2005, has had many roles in his life, but soon hopes to add a representative for North Carolina’s 4th congressional district.
Present in the 2022 primary elections, Valentin will fight as a Democratic representative and he said he is running for one reason only: to serve.
“I want to serve,” Valentine said. “I want to be able to help solve the problems we have today, and also help solve the problems we foresee for the future.”
Valentine is currently the director of the Veterans Law Clinic at North Carolina Central University and is also a full-time assistant professor at the school. Although a first-time candidate, Valentine said he had been active in Democratic Party fundraising in County Durham for the past two years in previous elections.
His background includes being a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and he is also a retired U.S. Army Reserve officer. He was part of the US State Department’s Presidential Management Fellow Program, where he gained experience in foreign policy under President Barack Obama.
Since starting his campaign, Valentine said one of the main challenges he has faced is fundraising – 100% of his donors are grassroots, none of his finances come from corporate sources. Working from the bottom up, Valentin is making it clear that he is working class in this election, and he hopes people will recognize him in his campaign.
Among the issues he plans to tackle are voting, unions, taxes, education and health care. Although he plans to address a number of issues, the bulk of his campaign is about jobs and incomes in North Carolina.
“I don’t think everyone in our society who is able to work should be denied the opportunity to work,” Valentine said. “Our government has been tackling jobs for all in terms of legislation, for comprehensive jobs laws, since the 1970s. I think we need to look at this more closely to enable people to have a job, a right to a job, and then also to have one at a decent wage.
Stephen said his family’s service background and personal foreign policy experience will help reach a wider audience of voters in the election – from his service in the military and later caring for veterans , to also being a social worker and educator today.
As he tries to reach a larger campaign audience, he also hopes to let the people of North Carolina know that an important part of the initiatives he plans to implement is to keep safety programs going. social for many Americans.
“Social Security has kept millions of American citizens in their old age out of poverty. … I think it’s the most successful program in the history of our nation when it comes to legislation dating back to 1935,” Valentine said. “I will fight with everything in me to make sure we preserve this program for future generations in North Carolina.”
As for engaging the younger generation, Valentine has worked closely with college students in North Carolina, engaging them in conversation about advocacy, politics, democracy, voting, and their fears for the future. He said what makes him different from other candidates, and why students should consider voting for him, is because he has no intention of taking over the political world.
“Our policy, for the most part, allowing generations of incumbents is really not good for our democracy. Unlike other people who are in this race, I don’t intend to be in Washington, DC, for 30 years. Not at all,” Valentine said. “I’m actually the only candidate in this race who promises his constituents that he won’t be in this for very long, so that he can pass the torch to the younger generation.”
Since his election began, Valentine said he has been able to meet with many North Carolina residents and hear many of their concerns, and he hopes to address and resolve them if elected to Congress.
“What’s been rewarding is the opportunity to meet a lot of people and hear what their concerns are – some about their fears, dreading what the future looks like,” Valentine said. “But also talking to young people and knowing that our future will be in good hands, has been very rewarding.”