RALEIGH – There are two special elections going on in North Carolina, one in the coastal Third Congressional District, and another for the Ninth Congressional District. The latter race is where Stevie Rivenbark Hull can be found, as one of a half-dozen Republican primary candidates competing for a May 14 primary victory.
We connected with Ms. Hull to find out more about who she is, what motivates her, and why she decided to run for congress. We think you will enjoy hearing her story as the Ninth District determines who to support in this special election.
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FFD: Thanks for your interest in reaching our readers, Stevie. Please tell us ‘Your Story,’ i.e. where you’re from, how you came up, where your career took you, what events shaped your life?
SRH: I am originally from Wallace, a small town in eastern North Carolina, known well for pork and scuppernong wine. My father had only an eighth grade education and work at that time was hard to come by so my parents benefited from resources like WIC when I was born. Years later my dad eventually began working as a chimney sweep in Charlotte and eventually opened his own business there. He later opened another in Raleigh and then a third in Jacksonville, FL. My parents were both musicians and invested in classical violin lessons for me despite not having very much money. This later allowed me to attend a renowned magnet arts school, Douglas Anderson.
After high school, I graduated from UNC-Wilmigton with a bachelor’s degree in political science. I had three offers to work on congressional campaigns and ultimately decided to move to western NC to work with a candidate there. Campaign work is tough! I enjoyed it very much but knew eventually I wanted to BE a candidate, not campaign for one. This would require real-world, private sector experience in my opinion so I had to consider what industry my skills would transfer well to. It wasn’t hard to determine that any strong political mind can also be an effective salesperson!
I took a role in sales, was promoted within six months where I had the amazing opportunity to live and work in southern California. As my dad’s health began to deteriorate due to terminal illness, it became important that I live closer to home so I took a job in healthcare management at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, NC in 2011.
One year later, while driving down Morganton Rd, my car was hit head on by another. Their vehicle was going more than 100 mph so the impact of the collision was at least a combined rate of 145mph or more. The individuals in the other car were killed instantly. I ended up in the ICU, went into respiratory arrest twice, and failed two blood transfusions. After a handful of surgeries, rehab, and breathing machines, I was discharged to go home. As internal organs and orthopaedic injuries began to heal, I thought all was well and roughly two months after the accident, I learned I was pregnant but facing a potential infection as my progress had declined. My leg failed to heal properly and the surgeon recommended imaging and intervention that would likely harm my unborn child. I faced the decision of terminating my pregnancy to receive effective treatment. I was told I could lose my leg and the potential infection could spread. Ultimately, I chose life.
I ended up walking with a walker and a cane as the baby grew and the infection worsened. My son was born healthy, without any complications, and six weeks after his birth I was able to undergo surgery, IV therapy, wound care, and home health to completely heal from the infection. Throughout the entire ordeal, I managed to continue working instead of giving up. I kept my unborn child safe instead of giving up on his chance at life. I went on to receive a master’s degree in public policy from Liberty University as a working mother while pregnant with my daughter. These experiences instilled in me a greater appreciation for life, strengthened my faith, and taught me the value of resilience and perseverance. Today, I am a single mother of two wonderful children. I work full time and I am proof that with God’s grace and hard work the American dream is always attainable.
FFD: What inspired you to run for Congress? Why now?
SRH: The political left in America have launched an agenda that accuses the Republican party of being exclusionary. Prominent, self-proclaimed socialists tell women, minorities, and young people there is no place for us in the GOP. Only 21 of 127 women serving in the US Senate and House of Representatives are Republican so it is hard to combat this negative rhetoric as we are severely underrepresented. It is time for qualified, successful, and conservative young people, minorities, and women to take a place in Republican leadership. We must diversify and embrace different demographics or our party is doomed. I’m running for Congress because our values are mainstream and I am prepared to share that message and to make sure America will never be a socialist country.
FFD: There are multiple candidates in this race – what sets you apart from the pack that you want voters to know about you/your campaign?
SRH: Growing up without the proverbial silver spoon and benefiting from social programs such as WIC, I understand the challenges many people are facing and I understand how conservative policies can help. My family is proof of that. As a former Army wife and a single mother, I understand more than any other candidate the need for mental health reform and support of family values. As someone who has not only worked in healthcare but also been on the consumer side, facing major medical bills and decisions regarding my care, no one in this race can understand the struggles our families face the way I can. Why is this important? Because when politicians face difficult decisions on the Hill, too often we see them waiver from their conservative beliefs or just remain silent. We need conservatives who don’t just speak in sound bytes; we need conservatives who have lived their philosophies and are examples of what it means to live the American dream. I am that candidate and this campaign will be focused on representing blue-collar, hard-working Americans because that is exactly who we are. Let’s stop sending elitists and career politicians to Washington.
FFD: As a member of Congress, what areas of policy would you focus on, or which areas would constituents find the most benefit for you applying yourself toward?
SRH: In America, infanticide is becoming an emerging form of what the left calls “healthcare.” Given my experience, my pro-life message will be a pivotal part of serving in public office. Women need to know all of their options, the importance of choosing life, and to understand that our black community is especially under attack by “pro-choice healthcare.” The second amendment conversation must also change. We need to educate people on gun safety, protect our individual liberty, and, most importantly, protect our families.
Another key component of this campaign is protecting our farmers and our veterans. Farmers are under attack, especially those in the pork industry, and they need leaders who will be a sounding board for them just as our veterans need greater advocacy and awareness. Working in federal facilities and living near the home of Special Operations and the 82nd Airborne, I am intimately familiar with the long wait times veterans experience for care and the short windows of time they have for treatment. Knowing the system and the struggles military families face, I will make veteran and military healthcare a top priority in DC.
FFD: Would you seek to join the House Freedom Caucus as a member of the US House?
FFD: Many young, newly elected women on Capitol Hill are getting quite the star treatment, while their rhetoric and proposals give the rest of us the shock treatment. What are your views on this new wave of Democrats, and how would you counter their amplified voices in Congress?
SRH: People want change. Donald Trump is proof of that on the right and AOC is proof of that on the left. Voters are not looking for career politicians. Unfortunately, AOC’s damaging policy stances and lack of experience in…anything…demonstrates that selecting the wrong type of candidate for the sake of diversity is incredibly dangerous. This is a prime opportunity for the Republican party to offer voters a qualified, educated, and successful candidate who is also a young woman, inclusive, and resilient. We must embrace change in order to remain relevant and I am excited to be that option in this election. I look forward to going after AOC and “Democratic socialism” on the Hill.
FFD: What would you describe as your core animating values? Why?
SRH: My faith surpasses all. The decision to run in this election was one that required a great deal of prayer. The support our campaign has received and the doors that have opened are far beyond anything I could have worked for myself. My story and my faith don’t make me just another flashy politician; instead, they have prepared me for being a relatable and effective public servant.
You can learn more about Stevie Hull here. The primary election is May 14.