Styers Campaign Kickoff

Raleigh, NC – December 16, 2019

Left to right, Rep. Joe John, Former Justice on the NC Supreme Court, Franklin Freeman, Gray Styers, and Matt Calabria.

About 75 people gathered at the home of Ann Robertson and Hans Linnartz in Raleigh to help launch the Styers for Court of Appeals campaign this week. In addition to the host committee, other guests included Deborah Ross, candidate for U.S. Congress in the 2nd District; Representative Joe John, NC House District 40; Sig Hutchinson, Wake County Commissioner in District 1; Matt Calabria, Wake County Commissioner in District 2; Rueben Young, Judge on the Court of Appeals; former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, Franklin Freeman and Martin Brinkley, Dean of the UNC Law School. Dean Brinkley introduced Gray (see video below.).

Remarks by Gray Styers

I commit to you that I will run a campaign that you will be proud of, and that reflects the values that we share.  The values

  • of the rule of law, as essential to our liberty,
  • of a fair and independent judiciary,
  • and of the role of our courts, as a co-equal branch of government

I assume that many of you, like me, worry about the functioning of our democratic government in the 21st Century.  The technology, the instantaneous communications, and the rapid pace of chance would have been unfathomable to the Founding Fathers.   How does the law keep up?

I also am worried about the deep divisions and polarization in our society.  How can we find common ground?

I look around and don’t want to sit on the sidelines any longer.  I want to help tackle these hard questions.  

Now, more than ever, we need independent judges

  • who will ensure that our rights are protected,
  • who are not captive to a particular ideology, and
  • who do not decide cases in a vacuum?

As Judge Sam Ervin used to tell his clerks in his chambers, legal cases are “about real people, with real issues to be decided” and those judicial decisions have real consequences. 

To do that, we need judges who understand the contexts of the disputes before them  . . .

who understand our state, its rural areas, its small towns, and its cities, and its diverse population;

  • who understand our state’s history and
  • who understand the challenges our state and its citizens face
  • as we move into the future. 

As you know, I was born in North Carolina, educated in North Carolina, lived my entire life here.  I believe that my experience over 30 years practicing law, in large firms and small, with clients and cases in all corners of the state, has prepared me to be that kind of judge.

A column I wrote in the spring 2014 issue of the Wake County Bar Association Bar Flyer, was entitled “A Call to Pubic Service”:  I concluded the column by writing.

I believe we, as lawyers should use our intellect, our experience, our skills to realize the dreams that first led us to law school – to serve not ourselves or our own personal gain — but to serve the public at large and to improve the communities in which we work and live.

That is why I am running for the Court of Appeals.

You are the first contributors to my campaign.  You are my nearest and dearest friends.  You have known me for 20 or 30, and in two instances, 50 years.  I have leaned on you before, and I’m leaning on you now again.  

I have talked with several of you about my decision to run.  (Quite frankly, I don’t know whether to thank you or blame you for your encouragement – Barbara will discuss that with you later.)  And we talked about the challenges of how to get the word out – who I am, why am I qualified, why am I running.   Your support tonight enables us to begin that process.

When I am preparing for a jury trial, an administrative hearing, I tell my clients that I cannot guarantee the outcome. But I do commit to them that I will use all my experience, judgment, and skill, to present a good case, to uncover the facts, and see that the law is correctly applied.  And I always go into the courtroom or the public hearing believing we can win.

Likewise, I commit to you, my friends, that I will do everything in my power to run the very best campaign I can –

  •  a campaign that is worthy of your support and the ideals that we share, and
  • a campaign that, together, we can win. 

Thank you for your support.  Thank you for coming out tonight.  God bless you all. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *