U.S. Rep. Valerie Foushee (seated) poses with NCCU students after speaking to them about being a changemaker.

NCCU’s congresswoman tells students about persistence, change

February 28, 2024

U.S. Rep. Valerie Foushee told a gathering of N.C. Central University students that as she was growing up in Orange County, she was always jealous of Durham because of the progress Black people were making here during the Civil Rights Movement.

Foushee, who is unopposed in next Tuesday’s Democratic primary as she runs for a second term as NCCU’s congresswoman, said that although change was made in her city, any change was led by students.  She encouraged NCCU students to do the same.

Being a change maker, she said, “is simply a matter of stepping up.”

“You don’t need to wait for a movement to be on the move,” she declared, as a few students wrote down her words.

Foushee visited NCCU to speak to members of the political science and history departments and the Young People’s Alliance, explaining what it means to be a change maker and describing her experience in politics.  Her brief talk, on Feb. 20 in the Edmonds Classroom Building, was moderated by senior political science student Devin Freeman, who also serves as a Durham County Democratic precinct chairman.

Citing her experience in government, Foushee told the students about the importance of persistence, particularly when dealing with rejection.

“You might hurt my feelings if you say no, but I’m not going to stop because you said no this time,” she said.   She also emphasized the importance of compromise in her line of work, saying “[compromise has] become a dirty word, but everybody doesn’t get what they want in government.”  Compromises, she continued, are created by “being willing to talk to someone that doesn’t think the same thing.”

Foushee represents North Carolina’s 4th District, which includes Durham County.  She got into politics to protect her two young sons from racism in the classroom, winning a seat on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board.  She later was elected to the Orange County Board of Commissioners, the N.C. House, and the N.C. Senate.

In Washington, Foushee serves on numerous House committees and caucuses, including the Black Maternal Health Caucus, the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, and the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.

As she concluded her talk at NCCU, she and her assistants promoted numerous internship opportunities and encouraged students to apply.


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U.S. Rep. Valerie Foushee (seated) poses with NCCU students after speaking to them about being a changemaker.
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