"I believe in an activist government that provides for the common good and protects the vulnerable while maintaining a balance between the rights of the individual and the wellbeing of the larger community. In our democracy, both the individual and government - the collective will of the people - bear responsibility for a sustainable future."
BIO | ASSIGNMENTS |
BILLS | AWARDS |ISSUES
Verla was first elected to the North Carolina House in 1996 and is now running for her 12th term. During her tenure she developed expertise in health and human services, education, the environment, and election law. One of her first bills established the Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. Another early bill established English as a Second Language in our public schools. She was House sponsor of the bill that required contraceptive parity in North Carolina.
In 1999, House Democratic leadership tapped Verla as House chair of the Joint Oversight Committee on Mental Health. As a champion for people with mental illness and developmental disabilities, she increased funding for community based mental health inpatient beds, the UNC Cochlear Implant program, El Futuro, Club Nova, and a program to identify and treat early onset schizophrenia. In 2005, she was appointed as chair of the House Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee, where she developed expertise in Medicaid and pushed for annual funding increases for early childhood programs and for people with developmental disabilities.
She was the primary sponsor of the bill that created North Carolina's high-risk pool, Inclusive Care, to insure people with chronic, serious physical health problem and the bill that repealed the state’s involuntary sterilization program. She is proud of her role as House sponsor of the Confidence in Elections bill that requires a paper trail ballot for every voter in the state. See Bills for more information on her legislative accomplishments.
Verla is an avid reader and often has several books by her bed; one is always a mystery. She and her husband, Chet, have two grown sons: Erik and Kurt. The family spent many happy holidays with grandparents in South Carolina and California as well as on trips to the North Carolina mountains and beaches and abroad to Europe and South Africa. Verla and her husband, Chet, also explore national parks and visit Napa Valley with California friends. Since Chet retired as a Professor in the UNC Psychology Department, he has been remaking their one-acre yard from a pine forest to a display of Japanese maples, now at 20 and growing.
Erik is a radiologist and lives in Charlotte with his wife, Melani, and children, Lauren and Nathaniel. Kurt is an Orange County Deputy Sheriff and lives just north of Chapel Hill with and his wife, Gina and their son, Thomas.
For a more complete biography, click here.
For current issues, click here.
For a listing of NC House committee assignments, click here.
For a sample of the successful bills Verla has sponsored, click here.
For honors and awards, click here.