RALEIGH — A woman with ties to eastern Wake County recently announced last week her plans to run for the state Senate.
Sarah Crawford, 32, says she will seek the Democratic nomination for Senate District 18. The seat is currently held by Republican Chad Barefoot of Youngsville. The district covers all of Franklin County and a large portion of eastern Wake County, including most all of Wendell and Zebulon and areas surrounding the heart of Knightdale.
Her political background includes several years of constituent work for Congressman David Price. She also helped Wake schools vice chairman Tom Benton win his seat on the board.
Crawford says that experience, and her work with several nonprofit organizations, has given her a strong foundation for the political arena. There, she hopes to make a difference in two main areas – economic development and education.
“Those are the most concerning things for me,” Crawford said. “Especially issues around education, being a mother of two, and my mother is a teacher in Knightdale.”
A 1999 graduate of East Wake High School and political science graduate at N.C. State University, Crawford believes the state has failed to make appropriate investments in its schools, for both students and teachers.
“Teachers are the cornerstone in public education, and we have to invest in them in both respect and resources,” she said. “And as a state, we must invest in each child so they have a chance to succeed. We need a new direction.”
Crawford also believes returning to a focus on small businesses can boost economic development.
“One of the key things taken out of the tax structure was tax credit for small businesses,” she said. “I think we have to make sure our small businesses are taken care of.
“It’s a driver of our economy in North Carolina, and there are other investments in infrastructure that can spur economic development that we have failed to do.”
The Michigan native moved with her family to the eastern Wake area in 1992. She has lived in northeast Raleigh with her husband, Dan, and children, Emily and Abby, since 2005.
She has, for nearly three years, served as director of development and public relations for the Tammy Lynn Center, a Raleigh-based nonprofit that serves children and adults with developmental disabilities.
Crawford considers being a product of the Wake school system and a longtime resident of the area she wishes to serve a strength as she seeks office.
“Being someone who has a lot of that historical knowledge, I can draw on that experience and help be a voice,” she said. “I don’t think having a history in this area is a weakness.”
Crawford is involved with several business and community organizations. Among those are Leadership Raleigh, a Raleigh Chamber of Commerce group that focuses on business and community affairs.
She is a board member of Band Together, a Wake County community organization that partners with nonprofits to help raise funds and awareness. She is also on the board of advisors for the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation, which focuses on leadership development, and for the N.C. State University School of Public and International Affairs.
Crawford says she has been inadvertently tailored for a political role as she has served the community in various ways since her days at East Wake.
“While I never set out to prepare for an elected office, in many ways my experiences have been preparing me for this all along,” she said. “When I realized politics would be another way to serve the community, I really fought for that. That’s why I went to work for Congressman Price.”
Moody: 919-829-4806; Twitter: @easternwakenews