As a Buncombe County Commissioner, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and the founding Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE), Jasmine Beach-Ferrara has overturned expectations and created positive change for her community.
My whole life I heard different versions of “you can’t.” And I know that far too many people in Western North Carolina feel counted out and overlooked. I’m running to ensure that everyone in this district knows that they are heard and that their concerns matter.
North Carolina Roots and a Background of Service
Jasmine was raised in North Carolina by a single mom who worked as a public health nurse. Her mom instilled in Jasmine the importance of faith-driven empathy and service that shaped the trajectory of her life. Jasmine initially went to college to become a doctor but then felt called to ministry and went to divinity school, becoming ordained as a minister.
Service and faith are the driving forces in her work, from teaching in prisons to founding an organization to advocate for LGBTQ equality across the Deep South. By showing up—especially in small towns—and telling the stories of families, Jasmine’s organization (CSE) helped win marriage equality in North Carolina and Mississippi. Her background as an organizer shapes how she approaches breaking through entrenched fault-lines to create change.
My faith drives me. It teaches me that we have a deep responsibility to look out for our neighbors, to lift each other up. I love to learn people’s stories and then translate what they are going through into policies that actually help people.
Taking on Tough Fights and Delivering
Jasmine heard over and over that she didn’t have a chance to win a seat on the Buncombe County Commission when she first ran. But not only did she win in 2016, she then earned reelection by double digits against a widely popular Republican opponent in 2020.
She now serves as Chair of the Early Childhood Education and Development Committee.
As commissioner, Jasmine focuses on policies that create a community where every child can thrive, and where people feel a sense of belonging and can live up to their full potential.
I know we can create change because I’ve been a part of it. I don’t accept that somehow we can’t reach parts of this country because of a partisan divide. We have a responsibility to talk to people, meet them where they are—and bring everyone to the table to figure out solutions.
Jasmine and her wife, Meghann Burke, live in Asheville with their oldest child Cal, twins Lily and Wyatt and dog, Ruggles. They love hiking, swimming, exploring every playground in the county, and BBQ-ing. Jasmine is a fan of the UNC Tarheels, Carolina Courage, and Carolina Panthers.
Jasmine attended public schools through high school and received her undergraduate degree from Brown University. She holds a Master of Fine Arts and completed her Master of Divinity degree at Harvard Divinity School. She served on the Biden Foundation's Advisory Council for Advancing LGBTQ Equality.