Following the 2016 election, Laura Meier went with her sister to the Women’s March on Washington. The event, attended by hundreds of thousands of women across the country, was life-changing for Meier.
She remembers a sign during the march that said, “I always wondered why someone wasn’t doing something about that, then I realized I am somebody.”
“It’s everything that I believe,” Meier said. “I can speak up and do this, too. From that point on, I haven’t stopped.”
She returned home and connected with other inspired women who formed the Charlotte Women’s March. She has also volunteered with local election campaigns, including District 5 Commissioner Susan Harden.
As word spread that Harden was not running for a second term in 2020, people began asking Meier what she thought of the south Charlotte seat. Supporters nudged her to run, suggesting now may be her time to lead.
She finds herself on the ballot across from Republican challenger Matthew Ridenhour, a former county commissioner Harden defeated in the 2018 election.
Meier believes her greatest strength is listening. This extends to constituents and experts.
Harden was a big supporter of using a quarter-cent sales tax to fund the arts, but Mecklenburg County residents shot down the measure in last year’s election. Meier believes commissioners have to listen to voters and look for other ways to fund the arts, potentially forming partnerships with corporations.
Meier said opponents of the quarter-cent sales tax proposal were successful in painting the arts as something for the elite, which she does not believe.
“I think the arts can save lives,” she said. “I think we have got to get the arts into the communities that have poverty.”
She also believes now is not the time to consider a quarter-cent sales tax or any tax hike.
Meier sides with Harden on the notion that the county could have reacted stronger to COVID-19. She said government started out strong in the beginning of the pandemic but began to falter when it came
to rolling out testing.
She acknowledges the COVID-19 pandemic was all so new; however, the county needs to have plans in place moving forward. She also supports mandating people wear masks.
While District 5 comprises a large chunk of south Charlotte, Meier is mindful that the board represents communities outside of Charlotte. She supports listening to and collaborating with leaders in Matthews, Mint Hill and Pineville.
Meier’s platform consists of ensuring equitable schools, affordable housing, ample parks and greenspace, mental health resources and safe neighborhoods.
Meier believes people have misconceptions about affordable housing. It’s not putting homeless people in your backyard but more about allowing people like police officers, teachers and nurses the opportunity to live where they work.
“They can’t live here because they are priced out,” she said. “I think we have to start with smart development policy and that starts with the state.”
Meier would treat the county seat as a full-time job.
“I just want to get in there and work,” she said.
4 things to know about Laura Meier
• Meier began her career working with at-risk youth as a drop-out prevention teacher with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The work was difficult but inspiring.
• She has campaigned for the likes of Harvey Gantt and Dan McCready. She was campaign manager for N.C. Rep. Carolyn Logan (District 101).
• Meier serves as co-president of the Charlotte Women’s March. She has worked to inject more diversity into the organization.
• She believes Mark Jerrell has been a great addition to the county commission. She said Jerrell is a great listener.
On the web: www.meierformeck.com