ELECTION 2020: Former NC Supreme Court associate justice runs for 8th Congressional District
After roughly 30 years serving as a judge in numerous roles in the state, Patricia Timmons-Goodson now has her sights on a new role — that of a congresswoman.
Timmons-Goodson, a Democrat, is challenging four-term incumbent Rep. Richard Hudson for the 8th Congressional District. It’s one of the tightest congressional races in the state, with most polls showing both candidates within a few percentage points of one another with less than three weeks to go until Election Day.
Born into a military family, Timmons-Goodson, 66, grew up in Fayetteville before earning her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
She served as an assistant district attorney for the Office of the District Attorney in Fayetteville before she was named a Cumberland County District Court Judge in 1984. After serving as a district court judge for over a decade, she was appointed by Gov. Jim Hunt to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in 1997, a position she held for eight years.
In 2006, Timmons-Goodson became the first Black woman to serve on the North Carolina Supreme Court. She resigned her seat on the bench at the end of 2012.
President Barack Obama appointed her in 2014 to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, which is a bipartisan, independent federal agency charged with investigating, reporting on and making recommendations concerning civil rights issues in the country. During her time with the group, she said, it studied modern policing and made recommendations to Congress regarding excessive use of force.
She was nominated by Obama in 2016 for a federal judgeship in the Eastern District of the state though the nomination was ultimately blocked.
Timmons-Goodson decided to run for elected office to offer constituents another choice when it comes to representation, noting that she’s worried about the current landscape of the country.
“I was convinced at the time I filed and I’m even more convinced now that our country is moving in the wrong direction and we need new leadership to help get us back on the right track,” she said.
Timmons-Goodson believes her extensive career as a judge offers her a unique perspective as she seeks a position in Washington.
“My experience as a judge, I believe, brings a perspective that very much has a place,” she said, specifying that she understands laws and how they need to be written to be the “most clearly understood.”
Her judicial experience, especially as an appellate judge, has also reinforced to her the importance of listening to both sides of an argument before rendering any judgment or opinion — a skill she said would come in handy if she were to win the election.
With so much partisanship and division currently within Congress, “we need folks that are going to listen to both sides … only then are we going to be able to work together,” she said.
In the midst of a pandemic that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of North Carolinians, she said she wants to expand Medicaid across the state and unlike her opponent, would not be in favor of eliminating the Affordable Care Act.
“It doesn’t matter how many liberties and freedoms our country offers if we are not able to enjoy them because of our health,” she said.
She is also a proponent of criminal justice reform, especially making it easier for felons who have served their time to return and contribute to society, and wants to improve aging infrastructure in many parts of the district, which would help attract new businesses.
Timmons-Goodson visited and met with officials at the Stanly County Democratic headquarters a few weeks ago and has also conducted Zoom sessions with Democrats in the county.
She and her husband Dr. Ernest Goodson live in Fayetteville and have two adult children.