My name is Gray Ellis and I am running for the North Carolina Senate in District 20. I was born in rural North Carolina and I have lived in Durham for the past 20 years. I have a long-term partner and children, three of whom attended Durham Public Schools. I am a small-business owner and a proud, progressive democrat.
I am running because I recognize the critical need for a political discourse not full of divisive rhetoric, but focused on practical solutions that serve our constituents. In order to best serve our communities, we need public officials who focus on our commonalities more than our differences.
In 2008, I founded Ellis Family Law, a successful family law practice in Durham. I am an entrepreneur and professional advocate. I have been the voice for thousands of people throughout my career. I have earned numerous professional awards for my ethics, trustworthiness and dependability, including the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics in North Carolina. These attributes are sorely missing in politics today.
Community service is an important part of my life. In the practice of law, I am an advocate for families in crisis. As a young professional, I advocated for juveniles who were adjudicated delinquent or undisciplined, and witnessed firsthand what income disparity and a broken education system can do to a child. When I am not advocating for my clients, I serve as a board member of Meals on Wheels in Durham. I am the creator and organizer of the annual Feed the Need Gala, an event which has become the highest fund-raising event for the 45 year old program.
I have worked hard, but I also understand how fortunate I am. It is because of Durham’s inclusivity that I am the man that I am today. I am a transman. The love and support the Durham business and social community provided me was integral to my success. I am humbly in debt to the people of Durham. I am passionate that no one should have to live a life that is less than, just for being who they are. We need strong antidiscrimination legislation and equal opportunity for all regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or economic status.
I am the first transman to run for political office in the State of North Carolina. I am known as a progressive who is trustworthy and dedicated. I believe in integrity and the importance of doing what you say you will do. In this age of divisive rhetoric, it is imperative to have a reliable voice of reason representing you. A voice who understands how it feels to be marginalized but believes in the power of an individual to succeed given the right tools and support. A voice that Durham, and all of NC, deserves.
If this resonates with you, please join me so that I can help ensure that everyone has a seat at the table.