Wesley is running for NC House of Representatives because he knows North Carolina is capable of so much more, and is merely scratching the surface of what is possible. Wesley has a deep and passionate love for North Carolina and has spent his entire academic career studying the role that government should have in our society. He is ready to take what he has learned and apply it so all North Carolinians can finally have a government that works for all of us.
Wesley’s passion for politics and policy began at an early age. It was in his grade school classroom where he first learned the importance of standing up for what you believe in - especially as a Democrat growing up in rural North Carolina. He identifies those formative years as the catalyst for his curiosity in democracy and government. With each year his curiosity grew, driving him to do whatever he could to truly understand the role and impact government and policy had on the public as a population and on each and every individual person. As a young adult he understood more and more the positive impact a progressive, citizen-first government could have, and this passion eventually dictated his career path to become an Economist.
Learning to Lead
Following his graduation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wesley earned a PhD in Economics from Clemson University in South Carolina, focusing on political economy and public finance. There, Wesley discovered his love for teaching and community service. Through his teaching roles at Clemson, University of South Carolina and University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Wesley discovered how important it is to instill the principles of Economics in the next generation of leaders. He has served in the leadership of Clemson’s Graduate Student Government where he worked to increase resources and opportunities to the graduate student body.
Standing up for #OurHouse
After his stint at the University of South Carolina, Wesley decided to enter the private sector as an Economist in Boston; but his heart remained in North Carolina. Following the passage of HB2 Wesley decided it was time to return home to start fighting for the government he knew North Carolinians deserved. Since returning to North Carolina, Wesley has played an active role in the community. He is a member of the Charlotte Economics Club, the Mecklenburg County Young Democrats, the Arts and Science Council Young Donors Society, and serves as an Adjunct Professor of Economics at UNC Charlotte. Additionally, Wesley and his twin sister, Meredith, have started a small business focused on helping small businesses and nonprofits raise capital and improve the community.
Our physical infrastructure means real solutions to our public transportation, roads and throughways, and lack of and steady decline of affordable housing available.
It’s no secret that Mecklenburg County's business community is growing. To support this, we need to expand public transportation light rail and bus routes. This will help to limit the forces driving up property values in the key areas of our communities, making all areas of Charlotte more attractive, thus expanding the local economy and increasing accessibility to Uptown.
Our state is currently one of the most attractive places to live in the nation. In addition to the quality jobs available, we have excellent weather year-round, a short drive to both our beautiful mountains and pristine beaches, and a low cost of living compared to other parts of the nation. And it’s a fact that Americans are realizing and acting upon. North Carolina continues to be one of the fastest growing states in the US. We cannot squander this opportunity by failing to provide our cities and towns with the infrastructure necessary to accommodate this increase. We need leadership in our state government that understands to be cutting edge, we cannot be reactive. We must be proactive in building a community that is primed to expand, not simply to handle what is already present. We need a modern infrastructure that will allow our cities to continue to grow, while at the same time provide an avenue to connect our rural and urban corridors, bringing together the best economic opportunities for all North Carolinians, regardless of where they live.
Our intellectual infrastructure means real investment and reform to the educational system. We should all agree that quality education for our citizens is of paramount importance and a natural and equal right. To do this, we need to one, attract our country’s top teachers to come AND stay in NC and two, minimize the regulatory burdens placed on our educators. It is not limited to just teacher pay. The regulatory hoops our teachers are forced to jump through strain the will and determination of even the most dedicated teacher. We need to put more autonomy back in the classroom and stop the bureaucrats in Raleigh from telling our dedicated educational professionals how to do their jobs.
The quality of a child’s education should not depend on where they live or the economic class of their parents. Our battle against stifling economic mobility begins with this belief. We need statewide pre-K education system and a true investment in after school programs to make this happen.
These investments, while they may seem daunting and expensive, will yield returns tenfold. The product will dwarf the investment because as educational attainment and performance rise, results quickly become apparent. The proof is clear. Incarceration rates will decline, economic inequality will lessen, and the quality of life for our residents will increase, not only improving economic mobility, but providing our schools with the means to excel and in turn help contribute to our growing economy.
The biggest threat to our democracy is a lack of economic mobility. It’s simple: when people lose faith in the rules that govern our society, they simply stop participating in them. Our entire economic system is driven by the rules created and enforced by our governments, and for the system to work, everyone has to buy-in to those rules.
Our capitalist system that is responsible for the greatest economy the world has ever known is based on the belief that anyone can succeed if they work hard, do things the right way, and stay focused. Declining economic mobility erodes that belief and, if this issue is not confronted, will lead to a breakdown in the system, and clashes between the haves and have-nots will grow ever more volatile until our system collapses. Of paramount importance to any level government is ensuring that the American dream is alive and well. The circumstances of your birth should not, AND CANNOT, be the driving factor of the economic circumstances for the rest of your life. As state leaders, our focus should be on ensuring that access to opportunities are available to each and every citizen of this state, and if personal effort is put forth, success will come. We must focus on providing affordable housing, security, and public safety to our most vulnerable citizens, ensuring they have every opportunity to succeed, if they take the initiative.
Together we can #Flipthe105th!
Help us make the State House #OurHouse!