Crystal Cavalier grew up in Alamance County: living on land that has belonged to her family for generations, graduating from Eastern Alamance High School and settling in Burlington, where she currently lives. Now, she hopes to serve Alamance County as a member of the United States House of Representatives representing the 4th congressional district.
“I feel like I can make a better change if I had a national platform,” Cavalier said. “Because I see time and time again, it doesn’t matter which side of the aisle you’re Democrat or Republican or Independent, we’re all affected.”
The path to candidacy
Cavalier graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a degree in political science. After her college career, she became a military wife, traveling around the country and eventually landing in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where Cavalier decided to pursue a master’s degree in public administration.
It was at Fort Bragg that Cavalier began working for the federal government, helping the families of deployed soldiers. After that, Cavalier started working in cybersecurity and national defense, a job she dreamed of in college.
“I was like, ‘This is so exciting. I love my job,’” Cavalier said. “I really love doing it. But then my daughter got sick.
Cavalier returned home to North Carolina, where she cared for her daughter and began working at a charter school, then eventually for the state of North Carolina.
It was while at home that she discovered an issue she is now campaigning on in her run for Congress: the misrepresentation, underrepresentation, and erasure of Indigenous people in Alamance County. As a member of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation in Burlington, the stories and personal encounters with Indigenous women who have been trafficked or gone missing with little or no information about their cases touch us deeply.
“I was like, I just can’t believe this is happening, it’s like right across from… where I live,” Cavalier said. “I started investigating how many indigenous people are missing here in North Carolina. Since it’s a problem all over the United States, is it a problem here? And then I found out it was a huge problem because police don’t classify race and generally don’t bring up women of color who go missing.
Cavalier also found that there was a lack of data in Alamance County, as many communities and people she spoke to expressed concerns about the lack of data on crimes committed within Indigenous communities. Cavalier is now the founder of the Missing Murdered Indigenous Women Coalition of NC.
“That’s how I really got involved in activism,” Cavalier said.
One of Cavalier’s biggest issues she’s campaigning on this spring is the weather. For Cavalier, all the issues she campaigns on are interconnected, from climate impacting health care to women’s rights issues impacting education or veterans’ rights. As a climate activist herself, Cavalier has been involved in attempts to stop pipeline construction in North Carolina.
“I always say that water health determines people’s health,” Cavalier said.
His second major issue is health care, from affordability to care for the elderly. Cavalier said health care is climate-related in his mind because a climate-related issue, like unsafe drinking water, can lead to health problems for a community.
“When you’re not healthy and you’re sick, you need medical attention and you can’t worry about how you can afford it,” Cavalier said.
In addition to addressing issues such as education, women’s and veterans’ rights, cybersecurity and national security, Cavalier said she builds her platform on connecting with communities across County. Alamance.
“What I like to do is meet people where they are, so you can understand your audience,” Cavalier said. “It’s all about educating people again. You need to see where the people are and where you can meet them.
As Cavalier continues to campaign each day, she said she hopes to head into the primary. From meeting people at McDonald’s to Sheetz, Cavalier said she hopes to show people that she doesn’t just see them, but wants to represent them like no one else.
“We are still waiting for someone to come and save us. But we have to take responsibility because we are the leaders we expected,” Cavalier said. “We just have to believe in ourselves and come together in community and unity to work together because together we all rise, and that’s what I want people to understand about me.”