For Immediate Release
March 22, 2022
North Carolina State Rep. Vernetta Alston Nominated by EMILY's List for 2022 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, announced that North Carolina state Rep. Vernetta Alston is a nominee for the ninth annual Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award.
“North Carolina state Rep. Vernetta Alston is a bold and inspiring leader who is committed to bettering the lives of her constituents,” said Laphonza Butler, president of EMILYs List. “The first openly LGBTQ+ woman of color elected to the North Carolina General Assembly, Rep. Alston is a courageous and effective advocate for racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and reproductive freedom.”
“While in office, Rep. Alston has secured funds to install air conditioning in all North Carolina prison housing units, as well as introduced legislation that included funding for North Carolina’s HBCUs, raises for teachers, the expansion of child care tax deductions, and the separation of juvenile justice and adult correction divisions. She is committed to advancing justice both throughout North Carolina and at the national level, and EMILYs List is honored to announce that she is a nominee for the ninth annual Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award.”
EMILYs List first endorsed Rep. Vernetta Alston in June of 2020 in her successful bid to represent North Carolina House District 29. EMILYs List invested more than $850,000 in North Carolina that cycle to elect more women to legislative and statewide office.
About Rep. Vernetta Alston
Vernetta Alston made history in 2020 when she became the first openly LGBTQ+ woman of color elected to the North Carolina General Assembly, where she now represents the 29th House District. In her first term, Vernetta has been a steadfast advocate of LGBTQ+ rights, reproductive justice, and abolishing the death penalty. As a legislator, she is committed to creating lasting progressive change in her community.
About the Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award
Named in honor of the dedicated and courageous Gabrielle Giffords, the Rising Star Award celebrates an extraordinary woman serving in state or local office. The award honors a woman who demonstrates the sort of commitment to community, dedication to women and families, and determination and civility that have been the highlights of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ career, in and out of office. Previous Rising Star Award recipients include former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams in 2014, former Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley in 2015, former Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran in 2016, Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym in 2017, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in 2018, California Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo in 2019, former Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes in 2020, and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo in 2021.
The Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award winner will be chosen with community input. Online voting can be found here.
North Carolina state Rep. Vernetta Alston is nominated alongside:
- Kate Gallego, Phoenix mayor
- Cecelia González, Nevada state representative
- Christina Haswood, Kansas state representative
- Tishaura O. Jones, St. Louis mayor
- Bee Nguyen, Georgia state representative
EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $700 million to elect Democratic pro-choice women candidates. With a grassroots community of over five million members, EMILY's List helps Democratic women win competitive campaigns – across the country and up and down the ballot – by recruiting and training candidates, supporting and helping build strong campaigns, researching the issues that impact women and families, running nearly $50 million in independent expenditures in the last cycle alone, and turning out women voters and voters of color to the polls. Since our founding in 1985, we have helped elect the country's first woman as vice president, 159 women to the House, 26 to the Senate, 16 governors, and more than 1,300 women to state and local office. More than 40% of the candidates EMILYs List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color. After the 2016 election, more than 60,000 women reached out to EMILY's List about running for office laying the groundwork for the next decade of candidates for local, state, and national offices. In our effort to elect more women in offices across the country, we have created our Run to Win program, expanded our training program, including a Training Center online, and trained thousands of women.