Biographical information of the candidate
Name: Kayley Taber
Office for which you are presenting: District 18 – District Attorney for Orange and Chatham Counties
Current home address: Pittsboro, North Carolina 27312
Campaign address: PO Box 1724 Pittsboro NC 27312
Telephone at work: 919 545 3608 Campaign: 919 356 7579
Best day number: 919 545 3608
Date and place of birth: 1967, West Virginia, USA
Actual job: Assistant District Attorney for Chatham County Management.
Family (names and ages, on polling day, of immediate family members): Jeffrey Taber, 55
Party Affiliation (if applicable): Democrat
Campaign Treasurer (if applicable): Jeremy Browner
Why are you looking for this office? : Bring about transformative change in the way we manage criminal prosecutions; focus on a path forward for each person that is both restorative and just. To inspire young girls and boys to understand that women can and should take on important leadership roles. I believe that diversity of voices and experiences leads to better outcomes for all who interact with the criminal justice system.
What is your understanding of the responsibilities of the office you seek, and in 100 words or less, why do you think you are qualified to fill this role? : The North Carolina Constitution states that the elected district attorney must prosecute all criminal cases on behalf of the state and advise the judicial officers of his district. The Public Prosecutor oversees the fair and equitable application of these laws. She will effectively manage staff and attorneys and develop a team of diverse public servants dedicated to improving results and achieving justice and equity. I am the most experienced and best prepared candidate for this important leadership position. I have the compassion, dedication to innovation and commitment to community that this position requires. I am a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law with 25 years as a licensed attorney. I was a prosecutor for 23 years, 15 of which as a staff and lawyers manager. I have a proven history of advocating for the mentally ill and addicted and working to protect the most vulnerable from harm. I reflect our community ideals of justice, fairness and compassion.
Give us three specific, measurable and achievable goals you would have if elected:
1. Improve access to courts for victims and court participants through the use of remote appearance technology to improve access and transparency
2. Adopt the science of negative childhood experiences to develop treatment plans and interventions aimed at reducing court involvement and assisting victims in the healing process.
3. Improve the diversity of staff and lawyers and hire bilingual staff.
What are the biggest challenges in Chatham and North Carolina right now and how would you tackle them? : The continued loss of life due to drug overdoses and the lack of medical/mental care for the mentally ill, drug addicts and the uninsured. I will create a task force to collect data to determine overdose patterns. We can then use this data to create targeted intervention and prevention plans. I will advocate for the expansion of Medicaid and the expansion of county resources for treatment.
Keeping pace with Chatham County’s planned growth by having the staff and resources to continue to provide excellent community service. Dealing with the backlog of cases created by the COVID-19 pandemic. I will prioritize the most serious cases and work with elected officials to advocate for additional staff and lawyers to manage the backlog and expected growth in Chatham.
Lack of integrated resources for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Chatham County. I have been providing services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence for over 23 years. I know the challenges of these cases and that it takes a community of helpers to both achieve justice and provide trauma support to survivors. Chatham County Victim Services, Second Bloom and other nonprofit community partners have worked diligently to establish a support network for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. But there is still a lot to do.
We must restore an integrated response to community violence. I will work with our partners to establish the ability to apply for and receive protection orders using remote technology. Remote access to hearings for protective orders is available in Orange County but not in Chatham. People in need of protection should be able to seek help from the Court without putting themselves or their families at further risk.
We must work together to support victims of sexual violence so that they can seek and obtain justice in court. Currently, survivors who need medical assistance after a sexual assault must visit UNC-CH hospitals for treatment and complete a sexual assault evidence collection kit. We need to explore local options for victims. I will work with local government and our medical providers to support their ability to recruit and train sexual assault nurse examiners. I have seen firsthand the secondary trauma inflicted on survivors when they have to wait over 7 hours for medical assistance after a sexual assault.
What is your overall view of the role of government? Is it fulfilling its mission at present? If not, what should be changed? : The government is expected to work collaboratively with community stakeholders to both support and help improve the lives of its citizens. We can do better. Mental health and addictions treatment should be funded and supported just like physical health. Most criminal activity in the county is fueled or aggravated by substance abuse and substance abuse. We must work together to find concrete measures to help those who are suffering and give them a way out of crime.
What differentiates you from the other candidate, and ultimately, why should voters choose you? : I have 25 years of experience as a lawyer and am an NC Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist. I have over 15 years of management experience with the District Attorney’s Office and have handled major crime cases and established a community support network in Orange and Chatham counties. I reside in Chatham County and have undergraduate and law degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill. I have specialized training and experience as a Special Victims Prosecutor, which gives me an in-depth knowledge and understanding of trauma and its effects on physical and mental health. I am a veteran’s daughter and a veteran’s wife. Voters should choose me to ensure they have a district attorney with the skills, compassion, and proven leadership to make our justice system reflect our community ideals. My staff and attorneys will work together to ensure fairness and equity without sacrificing community safety and victim support.
Political/Government Hero: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Favourite book: The good ground
Last read book: Punishment Without Trial: Why Plea Bargaining Is Bad Business
Favorite movie: Oh my brother, where are you?
Hobby: Cooking, gardening, motorcycling
Ecclesiastical/civic commitment: Chatham Animal Rescue and Education – Foster Dogs
Personal motto or philosophy in one line: To whom we give a lot, we will ask a lot
Strongest Childhood Ambition: A career in public service
Most important life goal you have achieved: I met and married the love of my life, and partner to everything Jeffrey Taber at age 20. We are enjoying our 34th anniversary in 2022.
Goal you haven’t reached yet: Become the first female district attorney for Orange and Chatham counties.