Meet a FLIPster: Laura Ritchie

Introducing Laura Ritchie, a Raleigh native who works in medical administration. Laura discovered FLIP NC when she encountered a canvassing team walking up the driveway of her friend’s house. She’s one of our most loyal canvassers, despite having never been particularly active with politics before she crossed paths with us. We love the energy she brings to our organization. Here, a Q&A with Laura.

Laura with her friend and regular canvassing partner, Anjali Patel

Laura with her friend and regular canvassing partner, Anjali Patel

What has surprised you most about canvassing?

I thought it would be absolutely terrifying to go bother people about politics at their home, but the reality is people are kind and welcoming – and only sometimes a little disgruntled that you are interrupting their day.

Do you like to recruit a friend or relative to sign up to canvass with you, or do you prefer to be paired with a stranger to add to the fun?

I totally love to recruit friends and relatives to come with me. Being an introvert by nature, I am not the person who likes to just jump into new things without knowing anyone there first.

How did you find out about FLIP NC?

Last summer, I went to a friend's backyard pool, and there was a canvassing team from FLIP NC coming down the driveway when we were walking up. I did not know who they were, but the FLIP NC shirts motivated me to research what the group was all about. Once I figured out they were trying to flip the General Assembly seats in our state, I was so pumped to join in!

Have a funny story or touching moment to share from your time canvassing with FLIP NC?

One time while canvassing with my aunt and my friend, one of the voters we spoke to turned out to be an old college schoolmate of my aunt's! He said he remembered the sound of her voice – that it had not changed. Small world!

What's your top canvassing tip?

Be kind and be willing to listen to what folks have to say. It is only by engaging others and making them feel heard that true change will occur.

Let’s talk about what motivates you. Obviously, you want to FLIP NC, but tell us a bit about the "why."

Ever since the Republicans took control of the North Carolina General Assembly and started passing all sorts of ridiculous and draconian laws that have dragged our state into a dark time, I've paid a lot more attention to politics in general. After the November 2016 election, it was clear to me that our country was moving in the wrong direction completely, and after several months of sitting around and being very angry about all of this, I decided to try and do something about it. Even the smallest amount of action can make a big difference!

How are you feeling about the 2018 election?

Wilma Metcalf and Laura at FLIP NC's Turn Up, Turn Out launch party back in January

Wilma Metcalf and Laura at FLIP NC's Turn Up, Turn Out launch party back in January

I think it's clear that a blue wave is coming in 2018. People have woken up and realized that they do not want lobbyists and corporations dictating our laws and public policies. This is our country – our government works for us by design. We've gotten very far away from that with the Citizens United decision, which let unlimited amounts of money flow into influencing policy. But the reality is, people care about their children, their health care, having a safe place to live and enough money to pay the bills. When you realize that the system is working completely against you, and you band together with others who want our democracy returned to the state as it was intended, then real change will start to happen. And lawmakers are now realizing this as well – all the money in the world cannot buy the vote of the people!

Have you always been politically active?

My parents and family have always been strong Democrats, but I was never as involved with politics as I am now. I have to admit: I was floating along in a comfortable oblivion for many years, thinking none of these things affected me. However, I realize now that if you do not stand up for your rights, you absolutely risk losing them. So, it is important to engage on a constant basis and always make your voice hear and encourage others to do the same. #STAYWOKE, y'all!

Anything else you’d like to add?

I have a deep and profound respect for the members of FLIP NC! They are rock stars who are kicking ass 24 hours a day. These sweet folks took the time out of their already busy lives to put together a platform where new volunteers like me and others feel comfortable and motivated to pitch in! That takes a tremendous effort on their part, and they all should be recognized for their dedication. I am inspired and moved by this and happy to help in the small way that I do.