Why I’m Running

Gray Styers

I began my legal career in Morganton as a judicial clerk for Sam J. Ervin, III.  Judge Ervin instilled in me a respect for the rule of law, an appreciation for the role of judges, and an understanding of how our courts are essential to the protection of our rights, the preservation of an orderly society, and the necessary checks and balances of our government.   But most of all, as Judge Ervin would say, “Never forget; our cases are about real people with real issues, not about abstract legal theories.” During that time in Morganton, I also spent hours in the personal library of Judge Ervin’s father, Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr., looking through the books that informed his life and leadership of the Senate during troubled times.   I have carried those lessons with me throughout my career as an attorney in North Carolina.

From my parents — a public school teacher and a librarian assistant — and many other role models, I learned the importance of public service and giving back to the community.  I love my home state and its people. I have striven — through both my legal work and my volunteer service — to contribute to the economic opportunities, the quality of life, and the freedoms that we enjoy.

These values guide my decision to run for the Court of Appeals.

Through the many cases I have handled, as an adjunct law professor, and as a leader in the profession, I have studied and observed the work of judges in deciding hard cases, carefully crafting legal opinions, and shaping the jurisprudence of our state.  I understand the importance of the work of our courts and worry about declining public confidence in the impartiality and independence of our judges.

North Carolina is my home.  I have devoted my whole life to it.  I know how critical it is to protect the rule of law so there is a chance for everyone to live a safe, fulfilling and meaningful life.  That is why I am running as the Democratic nominee for Seat #06 on the Court of Appeals.