Putting People First
Born and raised in a home where education was sacred and going to college was an expectation, it’s no wonder that Patsy became a teacher. She taught social studies for eighth graders but didn’t just stick to the textbooks. She developed classes on the civil rights movement and our election process because the photos in those textbooks only showed white males! Seeing the lack of diversity and civil rights that helped shape this great nation made her realize more women were needed in decision-making positions. If not her, who? If not then, when? She ran; she won. Her deep-seated value of inclusiveness started early and continues to serve her today.
“Throughout my two+-decades of teaching, I worked to help every student regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic level. It’s the same way I help all my constituents, regardless of party affiliation.”
Patsy with her husband, Jim, and her daughter Betsy and her family.
Patsy has served as a Democratic leader for more than two decades, starting with her election to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners in 1992. She served for a dozen years while teaching fulltime at Enka Middle School. In 2004 she ran for District 11 Congress against incumbent Republican Charles Taylor. She won the Democratic primary but lost in the general election.
Keever stepped away from politics for several years for personal reasons but ran again in 2010 and won a seat in the NC House of Representatives, where she served for two years. During that time she formed important relationships and learned the way the legislature works in Raleigh. Due to newly gerrymandered districts in 2012, she was put in the same district as her colleague, Susan Fisher. Instead of running against Susan, she challenged the incumbent Republican, Patrick McHenry, in the newly drawn 10th Congressional District. Although she did not win the seat, she did help unite the Democrats in the new district.
Feeling it was time to spend more time with family and home, she decided to take a step back, but her party called and she responded. She chaired Buncombe County’s Democratic Party, served as 1st Vice Chair at the state level, and then served two years as the state chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, where she continued to build working relationships in Raleigh and across the state. She retired in 2017 and returned full-time to her beloved mountains.
Two years went by before the familiar feeling of needing to be part of the solution through the political process resurfaced. She realized she must jump back in instead of waiting for others to change things. Because she was gerrymandered out of her former seat in the House of Representatives, she is now running for NC Senate 48 which covers Transylvania, Henderson and southern Buncombe Counties. This seat is currently held by Chuck Edwards, a Republican.
“I always taught my students that it’s our responsibility to do what we can to make democracy work. That’s why I’ve jumped back into the fray; I know I can make a difference and give voters a choice.”
Daughter. Sister. Wife. Mother. Grandmother.
Patsy’s parents were Nancy and Elmer Rouzer. Patsy and her two sisters grew up in Charlotte, NC and were educated in public schools in the area. She graduated from Duke University in 1969 with a major in Education and a minor in History. She earned a Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Western North Carolina University in 1979.
She married John Keever in 1968, a Duke graduate who served in the military in Viet Nam. As she waited for his tour to end she taught school in Charlotte. After his return, they moved to Asheville where they raised two strong, independent daughters. She left teaching in 2002 to care for her husband who had aggressive prostate cancer. When he died in 2003, she went back to politics.
During a Congressional campaign, she got to know Jim Aycock, the retired publisher of the Black Mountain News. They married in 2006. Today they enjoy their 10 grandchildren, playing golf, Rummikub and shooting pool, not necessarily in that order!