In full disclosure, I’m working with Holly Jones on her campaign for Lieutenant Governor, but the thoughts here are mine and mine alone. I’ve also known Holly my whole life. We grew up in Wadesboro together, both went to UNC-CH and have both been involved in Democratic politics.

So it was no surprise when Holly called a year or so to commiserate about the damage Republicans are doing to the state that we both love. She was especially frustrated by the legislature’s interference into business that should have been left to local government. That call began a series of conversations that culminated in Holly’s announcement yesterday that she’s running for lieutenant governor.

Holly didn’t make this decision lightly. She didn’t make it because she has a burning desire to governor. She made it because she believes that we need thoughtful, forward-thinking people running state government and that Democrats need a strong ticket with hard-working candidates to win in 2016.

We have a solid candidate for governor in Roy Cooper. He’s got name recognition, a solid record as attorney general and is doing the work to offer a strong contrast to the inept Pat McCrory. He will provide a strong candidacy at the top of the state ticket.

We don’t have a candidate who is aggressively taking the fight to Republicans in Raleigh and holding them accountable for their misguided policies and abuses of power. That’s the role Holly wants to fill. She also wants her candidacy to encourage more people to join the fray. She understands that Democrats are stronger with a full ticket up and down the ballot.

Holly has been a leader all of her life. She graduated from UNC-CH with a BA in Public Policy Analysis and a Masters in Public Health. She went to Duke University where she earned a Masters of Divinity. A lifelong Methodist, Holly is guided by faith but she’s never worn it on her sleeve. She shows it through her actions.

She spent three years doing mission work oversees and in inner cities in this country. She began her professional career as a public health educator in Durham where she served as project manager for a breast and cervical cancer program for low-income women. In Asheville, she helped turn around the YWCA Asheville, increasing its annual budget from $750,000 to $3 million and leading a $3.9 million capital campaign.

The mission statement of the YWCA reads, “YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.” That statement also pretty much sums up Holly. It’s what she’s done all of her life and it’s what she wants to do through this campaign and as Lieutenant Governor.

Those who say that lieutenant governor is a position without power or influence just lack imagination. They should pay more attention Dan Forest. He’s used the office to build a platform to support his brand of social conservatism. When Holly’s in that office, she will use it to fight racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

As for me, I’ll stand with Holly. I hope you will, too.