North Carolina Senate District 38 occupies a good solid swath of north Mecklenburg County and is described as "an extremely safe Democratic seat" and a district where Governor Roy Cooper won 75% of the vote in 2016. Its Democratic incumbent, Joel Ford, is facing stiff primary opposition from Mujtaba Mohammed.
Democrat Mujtaba Mohammed was born in South Carolina to immigrants from India. He grew up in Greenville, SC, but the family moved to Mecklenburg where Mujtaba finished high school at North Meck and went on to the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and the North Carolina Central School of Law. With his law degree in hand, he returned to Charlotte in 2012 and went to work for the Council for Children's Rights. His concern for the rights of the underprivileged led him into full-time work for the public defender's office in Mecklenburg County. He is married to a dental hygienist and they have two young children.
Mujtaba criticizes the Republican General Assembly for having twisted priorities: "[The North Carolina General Assembly is] balancing budgets on the backs of poor people, expanding our sales tax, while the rich continue to be able to support their jets and their yachts and things like that," Mujtaba told Ryan Pitkin of Creative Loafing. "We’ve got to invest in our families. That’s what’s going to help public safety. That’s what’s going to help create a global economy."
Being an advocate for children, some of whom are already in serious trouble and already well into "the school-to-prison pipeline," Mujtaba sees first-hand the effects of Raleigh wrong-headedness: "I see kids when they’re already in the criminal justice system, when they already have criminal records, and it becomes a public safety issue. If we invest in our young people from the beginning, if we support our families, it’s going to save us money in the long run, and it’s going to make us a more progressive society. It’s going to prepare young people for a global economy and build a strong work force." Instead of building more and bigger prisons, North Carolina should be investing in childhood education.
Mujtaba is a fighter for justice, and he knows the realities of citizens who can't afford lobbyists.
Incumbent Democrat Joel Ford regularly votes with the Republican majority, especially on the state budgets that Mujtaba Mohammed is so critical of. Ford was first elected to the chamber in 2012, and he's never had more than token Republican opposition in any general election since, though he had a credible Democratic opponent in the primary of 2016 who got over 47% of the vote. Ford ran for mayor of Charlotte in 2016 and came in third in the Democratic mayoral primary against eventual winner Vi Lyles.
Ford has received much criticism for his apparent hostility to LGBT rights. He voted for the passage of the notorious Amendment One, which attempted to make same-sex marriage illegal in North Carolina. He was one of the few Democrats to support a Republican bill to allow magistrates to recuse themselves from performing same-sex marriages. When LGBT activists criticized his record after he announced his Charlotte mayoral bid, Ford responded to the activists via Twitter with a GIF of a dog defecating in the snow. He later removed the tweet and apologized.
He has not apologized for voting with the Phil Berger majority in the NC Senate some 70% of the time. Realfactsnc.com has documented "Ford’s record of looking out for himself first."
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