Dedicated to Service
Gale was raised in a small town in southwestern Virginia. She understands the value of hard work and the opportunities that come from education. Her mother worked swing-shift in a local textile mill from high school graduation to retirement. Gale attended local public schools, played flute in the high school band, worked for minimum wage at the local public library and volunteered as a Candystriper at her hometown community hospital.
Gale obtained a nursing diploma from Virginia Baptist Hospital and then worked as an RN to pay for an undergraduate degree in nursing from ECU and a Master’s of Science in Nursing from UNC-Chapel Hill.
She has been a nurse practitioner since 1987 and was Chief Health Officer at SAS Institute for 26 years before retiring in October 2020.
Gale has been president of the North Carolina Nurses Association, chair of the North Carolina Center for Nursing and a member of the North Carolina Board of Nursing. She served on the board of the Taylor Family YMCA in Cary and on the state Diabetes Advisory Council. She is an adjunct faculty member at Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, East Carolina and Case Western Reserve University.
Prior to her 2014 election to the NC House, Gale was a gubernatorial appointee to the Legislative Study Commission on Access to Health Insurance and the Blue Ribbon Task Force on the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees. She is one of two legislators on the State Health Coordinating Council that submits the annual State Medical Facilities Plan.
During her terms in the NC House, Gale has proved to be a commonsense leader who works effectively with members of both parties. She has been a primary sponsor of dozens of bipartisan bills that have become law. Prior to serving in the NC General Assembly, she was a 2007-2014 member of the Cary Town Council and was elected by her Council peers to be mayor pro tem during her last 3 years. As a Council member, Gale voted for investments in infrastructure, maintenance of the town’s AAA bond rating and passage of annual budgets that kept Cary with the lowest property tax rate in Wake County.
Gale and her family live in Cary. They are members of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.
Gale has a solid track record of service in business, government, her profession, and her community.
North Carolina has grown and prospered since I moved here in 1976. Once a state where manufacturing and agriculture were dominant, job growth is now more prominent in financial services, health care, technology and pharmaceuticals. Previous state leaders had vision and made intentional investments in people, infrastructure and places: public education; roads, bridges and ports; and successful public-private partnerships like the Research Triangle Park.
Between 2011 and 2014 I witnessed many deliberate legislative actions that set North Carolina on a regressive path. I was not willing to stand by and watch a legacy of progress, forged through decades of hard work and financial investment, continue to be threatened by political partisanship and short-sighted legislative policies. I ran in 2014 to bring a reasoned, thoughtful, nonpartisan, and common sense approach to the challenges that will determine our state’s future.
As a nurse practitioner and healthcare administrator, I found it unbelievable that the 2013 legislature rejected Medicaid expansion, allowing our federal tax dollars to be used to expand this insurance coverage in Ohio, Florida and many other states while almost 500,000 NC citizens continued to suffer the consequences of being uninsured. This was also a dangerously short-sighted economic decision for our state’s hospitals. Without access to primary care that Medicaid coverage provides, the uninsured turn to hospital emergency rooms for care. Overburdened hospitals are struggling and have no choice but to write off this uncompensated care and shift costs to patients with insurance. This has created greater financial instability for hospitals of every size, especially small hospitals in rural communities. Our hospitals need dependable revenue streams to stay open—not just as providers of health care but also as employment centers and economic engines in their communities. Stubborn ideological positions should play no role in important policy decisions like Medicaid expansion.
As a parent of two sons, I believe in the promise of North Carolina. My husband is a Durham native. We chose to raise our children here. I believe that every child must be guaranteed a sound basic public education. North Carolina needs more accessible pre-K programs, well-resourced K-12 schools, outstanding community colleges and a world-class public university system. I believe we should build upon our state’s legacy of educational progress and prepare our citizens for the economy of tomorrow.
I believe in the greatness, resourcefulness and resiliency of this state and its people. I ran in 2014 pledging to spurn partisanship and put my energies into fighting the right battles: for vibrant public schools, a healthy environment and a robust economy. In my first three terms I have been an effective legislator who has lived up to this ideal.
In 2020, I was reelected to a fourth term and appointed to serve as NC House Democrats' Deputy Leader for the 2021-2022 legislative session. It’s a privilege to continue representing District 41 and to serve all the citizens of the state. Thank you for helping me get this far and putting me in the thick of policymaking at this important time in North Carolina's history. I am full of gratitude.