Raise the Age

Building a bipartisan coalition

At a time of partisan polarization, GBW Strategies played a key role in building an effective bipartisan coalition to advance important legislation. The team included both national and statewide conservatives and progressives, including leading lights such as Right on Crime and Newt Gingrich.

For many years, North Carolina was one of only two states that automatically prosecuted all 16- and 17-yr-old misdemeanants as adults, even for low-level offenses. The campaign GBW supported sought to “Raise the Age” of youth jurisdiction, so that 16- and 17-year olds who commit misdemeanors are handled in the juvenile system -- reducing recidivism and making for better economic outcomes.

While the campaign began with a collection of progressive-leaning leaders and nonprofits, GBW quickly moved to expand its base. We teamed with national conservative organizations such as Right on Crime and Prison Fellowship Ministries for:

  • High profile events
  • Direct marketing strategies
  • TV, radio, print and online news hits (tailored by to regional and statewide audiences)
  • Op-eds from Gingrich, Ralph Reed, business and legal leaders

As a result, the Raise the Age campaign gained momentum. In 2017, Gov. Roy Cooper signed the measure into law as people of all political persuasions cheered.