BioRuth Samuelson considers herself a native Charlottean, though like many of Mecklenburg’s residents, she moved here from somewhere else. Born in Charleston in 1959, Ruth’s parents brought her to Charlotte at the age of 2 and her life here inspired a passionate concern for this community’s future.
Ruth’s earliest memories are of Charlotte. She vividly recalls her Daddy carrying her through the doors of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church. It is fitting that Ruth’s earliest memory involves church, as her faith and church life define Ruth and her beliefs.
Ruth knows first hand the power faith can have in changing lives. That is one reason she fights to strengthen faith-based services. Today Ruth and her family belong to Uptown Church, where she volunteers as a Sunday School teacher, vocalist and Mercy Team member.
Ruth spent her childhood splashing and playing in Little Sugar Creek. Today, the creek is too polluted for human contact, but Ruth dreams that one day her grandchildren will play safely in the creek. Freedom Park hosted Ruth’s family on many occasions as they made weekly trips to the Nature Museum and annual visits to the “Festival.” Ruth knows that our community needs well-maintained parks and well-preserved open spaces.
Public education is an important part of Ruth’s family legacy. Ruth grew up in a time when racial divisions and frequently changing school assignments made learning more difficult. As a result of the instability of that period, Ruth attended five schools in five years while in junior and senior high. During this time, her father was CMS board member and her mother initiated important tutoring classes for struggling students.
After graduating from West Charlotte High School, Ruth attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications and met her husband of more than 30 years, Ken Samuelson. Ken is a principle with the Morehead Group.
Ruth and Ken are blessed to have four wonderful adult children with their own growing families, Bobby, David, Joy and Alex. The Samuelsons adopted Joy from Chile as a baby. Alex came to them through the foster care system when he was 10 years old. The kids were home schooled, and later attended both public and private schools. Ruth has seen first hand the importance of a strong public school system and the role that alternatives can have in children’s education.
Like any parent, Ruth often thinks of her children as she envisions the future. She knows that the education that they receive today will provide them opportunities for tomorrow. Ruth wants North Carolina to be a state where her children will want to raise their own children.
Ruth wants a community where young people can buy their first home and afford to raise a family, not one where homebuyers flee to another state because taxes here are too high. She desires a community that parents choose because quality educational opportunities abound. She envisions a state that families embrace because children can play safely in our neighborhoods and parks while their parents find steady paying jobs nearby.
Ruth Samuelson is a proven leader.
In 1999 she began her political service as co-chairman of the bond campaign in support of a new Mecklenburg County courthouse. Two years later, as a member of the Board of County Commissioners, she fought to keep the promise made to voters about the site and cost of the courthouse.
Ruth has chaired Kids Voting at the county and state levels, educating children across North Carolina about democracy and the importance of voting.
She has served on over 20 boards and committees, including the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women, Charlotte’s Children’s Theater and the national board of Peacemaker Ministries. She chaired the Board of Managers at the Dowd YMCA.
Ruth has consistently championed common sense environmental plans and has served on the board of the Catawba Lands Conservancy and the Little Sugar Creek Greenway. As a legislator, Ruth has continued this leadership tradition by advocating for responsible stewardship of our economic and environmental resources. In 2008, she won the inaugural “Green Government Leader Award” from the Charlotte Business Journal and was recognized by several business and advocacy groups a a freshman to watch. In 2009, Ruth was named a “Rising Star” by the NC League of Conservation Voters, and the NC Sustainable Energy Association honored her as Legislator of the Year in 2011. She is a chairman of the House Environment Committee as well as the Environmental Review Commission.
She is also vice-chairman of the House Redistricting Committee and a member of several other committees, including Appropriations, Commerce and Job Development, Finance, Health and Human Services and Public Utilities.
After the 2010 election, Ruth was chosen by her colleagues to serve as House Majority Whip. In that role, she built consensus among GOP caucus members on a variety of important issues during the 2011 legislative session, which turned out to be one of the most productive in memory.
Ruth is proud of her accomplishments, but knows that more must be done if our state is to meet its promise as the premier place to live, work and recreate.