Bonnie Dawn Clark is committed to being an excellent steward and practicing the Golden Rule by doing unto others as she would have them do unto her. Bonnie's values were formed by her father's high priority on education, loyalty to family, and critical thinking, and her mother's values of service to others, sensitivity, and activism.
Bonnie's priorities are centered upon human rights, freedom, stewardship, and service to others. As a US Navy Veteran she is fully committed to protecting and defending the US Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. At this time in the history of North Carolina and our United States Bonnie perceives a strong threat against our American way of life being fueled by forces that want to divide and conquer our citizenry. Bonnie wants to support and strengthen our awareness of being part of the human race, an extended family of human beings replete with diversity of cultures, ideas, perspectives, and abilities. It is her earnest desire to help our fellow North Carolinians remember we are all family, with common needs, goals, and desires, and to work together to find common sense ways to improve things for all of us using logic, critical thinking, and human heart centered values.
To bring attention to the issue, I was invited to testify before a Congressional committee in 1990 while still on active duty. Following that I was interviewed by Connie Chung about the ways sexual harassment incorporated "lesbian baiting" which was rampant in the military before President Obama put an end to that discriminatory policy prohibiting LGBT people from openly serving in the US military. That episode was not aired the same year because of the war in Iraq, but was aired after the Navy's Tailhook scandal became public. I have far too much experience of how men and society have not listened to, and believed, women who have been mistreated, harmed, and prevented from working to our full potential for the benefit of us all. I am encouraged that this may be changing now with the social media movement of #MeToo.
While I was on active duty, anyone accused of being homosexual could be dishonorably discharged without any evidence, and possibly incarcerated if there was evidence. The witch-hunts that occurred made life as a woman in the military extremely stressful since a false allegation could end a career, and the freedom to protect and serve one's country. There was tremendous pressure to avoid 'guilt by association' and that further ostracized and alienated victims of these witch-hunts.
I served with honor and earned 2 Navy Achievement awards and many letters of commendation. I had been nominated to earn a Navy Commendation medal, but the damaging evaluation in 1987 prevented that medal from being presented to me. I earned a very high security clearance and was actively involved in high level operations planning and tactic action officer training. Between the severe sexual harassment and ongoing stresses of my duty stations, I developed PTSD which I attempted to suppress by over working myself into exhaustion daily.
After I resigned, I got into therapy and pursued a Master of Arts in Counseling. I specialized in treating women with trauma histories and continued my own personal development through the 1990s. This opportunity to help others and develop effective skills in conflict resolution, strength based solution focused approaches was very fulfilling to me personally and professionally. I am a strong believer in mental health services and know there are too many underserved people suffering from mental illness that with the right help could be productive, tax paying, members of our society. To jail mentally ill people hurts all of us, and I stand for creating systems that provide that "ounce of prevention" instead of punishment and a "pound of cure". To me that is the kind of common sense we need to demand from our communities and government.
In 2001 I moved back to NC to be closer to my aging parents, but could not find a job in the mental health arena that would pay my bills. Shortly after returning to live in NC the devastation of the attack on our nation on September 11th was executed. I immediately contacted the US Navy to see if I could volunteer in some capacity to help defend our nation against this new threat, and when I learned I was past the age limit to even volunteer, attempted to join the National Guard. I did donate blood that day, like millions of other Americans, brought together in our common bonds of humanity that make us who we truly are.
When the National Guard determined that my skill set and training was not easily adapted to what they needed, I applied to TSA and served for a while in the capacity of Transportation Security at the airport. In October 2004 my mother needed me to care for her at home following a hip replacement surgery, and I applied for and was granted Family Leave. During my time caring for my mother, I discovered that my father was suffering from severe oxygen deprivation, from a lifetime of smoking tobacco, which had dramatically shrunken his brain and changed his ability to function. A week after it began, that Family leave was cancelled by someone with TSA saying I had not been employed long enough to earn that. Faced with either keeping my job or taking care of my parents, I chose to take care of my parents. I am very familiar with how much home health care affects the entire family and surrounding community and want to build systems to support families with acute and chronic health needs that do not force people out of productive income earning.
That started a period of financial instability for me, and actively learning how to invest in real estate using other people's money. Neither my trainers nor I were prepared for the devastation caused by the credit and real estate bubbles bursting and personally suffered severe financial losses during that period. The effects on most of America were the worst since the Great Depression. Not only did that experience give me more humility and compassion for the hardships people endure, but it also challenged me to turn it around and recover better than before. I have experienced first-hand the loss of jobs, my home, my vehicle, and the trust of others who depended upon me to repay my debts. I do believe we can do more as a community and within government to create effective safety nets that do not encourage dependency. I am convinced that most people want to be independent and self-sufficient contributing members of society.
I understand very thoroughly how the best of intentions cannot be accomplished no matter how hard one tries, and I see how our government has made things, worse more often than not, for the people who make up 94% of our population. It is clear to me that partisan politics are at the root of so much suffering within our state and our nation. I stand for unity and conflict resolution to work together for the welfare of all our citizens in restoring common sense to governance. I am appalled that many of the programs designed to protect people from complete devastation by the administration of President Obama are being destroyed rapidly by the current administration and will allow banks, "too big to fail" to continue illegal actions that harm the citizens of our nation. Most recently the fraud by Wells Fargo was exposed of them creating accounts for people without their knowledge and authorization in order, and HSBC admitted laundering billions of dollars for international drug lords, but no bankers got sent to prison.
It has been my life time dream to become a farmer, and now that I am nearing my Golden Years, that dream is coming a reality thanks to my hard working parents who created a legacy for their children. I have been a hobby farmer since 2016 in NW Davie County, and this year I begin serious farming to raise hemp for both fiber and the health benefits of the CBD oil from the plant. I love the agrarian lifestyle of living in North Carolina and hope to help other family farms to flourish in the future. With the high cost of health care, expanding opioid crisis, and pharmaceutical side effects, I am an enthusiastic promoter of the simple cannabis plant God created to relieve pain, decrease anxiety and neurological symptoms without addiction or adverse reactions. Hemp can replace the toxic waste of plastics, increase the strength and lessen the weight of concrete, restore our fabric milling industry, increase the livelihoods of family farmers, and rejuvenate the economy NC sustainably.