Over the years, Batch said she grew frustrated with the polarization of politics. She said a good government is full of compromise and negotiation, and that’s been lacking in North Carolina.
When LEAD NC, an organization whose mission is to cultivate a bipartisan leadership model, asked in August 2017 if she’d be interested in running for office, Batch couldn’t resist. Now, she’s representing North Carolina’s 37th District in the State House of Representatives.
But her campaign wasn’t an easy one. Because Batch was committed to working full time and spending time with her family, she worked on her campaign at night.
When Batch went for a routine mammogram in July 2018 as the campaign was heating up, the last thing she needed was a breast cancer diagnosis.
When her diagnosis was confirmed in August, Batch faced a harsh reality. Not only was she concerned about her health, but she couldn’t help but worry about the life of her campaign.
Knowing she’d have to take time away from the campaign to recover, Batch chose to fight her breast cancer by having a mastectomy and radiation treatments. The campaign, Batch said, actually gave her a much-needed distraction from her diagnosis.
“The world still goes on,” Batch said. “I was off the campaign trail for about three weeks, then I went back to work, and I went back to campaigning.”
Batch said she never considered dropping out of the race. Once she got over the fear of the word “cancer,” she decided to continue the campaign because she believed she had a perspective her opponent didn’t. Batch said her supporters and members of the community showed her an immense amount of support during her absence.
“I had this opportunity to take something upsetting and tragic for my family and use it to bring some positive attention to some serious issues that wouldn’t have been talked about otherwise,” Batch said. “I felt like there was no reason for me not to continue.”
Batch supports healthcare accessibility and affordability, and this experience only encouraged that. She said she understands how fortunate she was to have a good insurance at the time of her diagnosis, and that many women diagnosed with breast cancer can’t afford to fight it.
Bryan Batch, Sydney’s older sister, said Sydney is driven and dedicated to serving people.
“She’s focused on getting people to come to the center and negotiate about things that are really important for the state of North Carolina,” Bryan said.
Sydney said this campaign process gave her an opportunity to show her two young sons that women can work, run for office and serve the political party just like men can.
“I want them to see that when there’s something important and valuable that you believe in, it’s crucial that you step up and fight for that,” she said.
During her time in office, Sydney Batch said she would like to increase public education and teacher pay, make healthcare coverage more accessible and affordable and grow mental health advocacy.
Williams said when his wife decided to run for office, his priority as her husband and law partner was to be supportive and help her continue practicing law and be a mom during the process.
“It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been worth it,” Williams said. “We’re hoping that, as a result of all this, she will be able to help make some change.”