CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After signaling her intention to run on Sunday, a transgender activist from Charlotte formally announced Monday her candidacy for chairperson of the North Carolina Democratic Party, joining a race with three other candidates to be decided next month.
Janice Covington Allison, known to friends and many acquaintances as Janice Covington, officially announced her candidacy via press release Monday.
“I feel with my 47 years of experience as a member in various positions of the North Carolina Democratic Party, [this] qualifies me as an individual who can guide our party into the future with acceptance and diversity,” Allison’s statement reads. “I know that I will have great barriers to overcome, because I will be the first transgender woman in our country’s history to seek out a state’s Democratic Party’s Chairmanship. However, I think because our party is the party of the future, acceptance and diversity, I will be accepted, based on my ability to do the job.”
Allison has a long history in Democratic politics, including an unsuccessful bid for the Cabarrus County Commission in the 1980s before her full transition. Allison became the first transgender person to be elected a delegate from North Carolina to a Democratic National Convention in 2012. She also helped to form Mecklenburg County’s LGBT Democrats caucus, and has served as the state LGBT caucus’ 12th Congressional District chair.
Allison cites several reasons for her candidacy, saying the Republican Party has “taken our state into a danger zone of changes against the people.”
“They have taken away the right of the people to vote, they have taken away the right for a woman to have an abortion,” Allison’s statement reads. “Our Governor has dismissed Duke Power and their liability of coal ash disposal, causing the taxpayers of the Tar Heel State to foot the bill; they have destroyed our education system, among many other changes that I do not agree with.”
Elections for the state party chair will be held on Feb. 7 in Raleigh. There, Allison will run against the party’s current first vice chairwoman, state Rep. Patsy Keever of Asheville, Statesville businesswoman and former teacher Constance Johnson and Wake County’s Ron Sanyal, a longtime state party executive committee member who mounted an unsuccessful campaign in the state’s 13th Congressional District last year.
[Ed. Note, Jan. 5, 2015, 4:22 p.m. — The original version of this article mistakenly omitted party chair candidate Ron Sanyal. We regret the error.]