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Meet Melody

Melody Cartwright has been a resident of Southside Virginia for over 50 years. She is a graduate of Martinsville High School with credits from Patrick Henry Community College and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Melody began her career as a staff member at a private club in Richmond, VA where she met many politicians, including former governors and other legislators, including our area Speaker of the House A.L. Philpott, and first realized she wanted to get involved in the legislature. She then worked as a an advertising manager with Miller and Rhoads Department store until 1990. Eventually, she moved to South Boston, VA, to work at a local and recently closed newspaper, The News and Record.

After moving back to her hometown of Martinsville, Melody spent over 25 years in public service as a graphic and exhibit designer for the Virginia Museum of Natural History, while also raising her daughter as a single mom.

She has served as an election official for the City of Martinsville, helping to safeguard our election integrity, and actively advocates for her neighbors' access to affordable and good quality housing, safe schools, and personal freedoms. As an advocate for her disabled sister, she has years of experience with and intimately understands the social services and mental health programs available in the area.

Melody wants to transfer this knowledge to others in need in our community, and work on legislation to make improvements. For those citizens living in poverty and others struggling just to get by, the desire to help is a priority. She has been active in asking for and often receiving structural and safety improvements on properties which have not been properly taken care of. Affordable housing should also meet appropriate housing standards. These are basic human needs.

Melody's family has been a part of Martinsville for generations. Melody's father, Mel Cartwright, Sr. served in the navy during WWII. He started his education career in Martinsville as a World History and Western Civilization high school teacher. His legendary teaching skills included being mindful and tolerant of all of the world's religions. Coach Cartwright took the helm of the Martinsville Bulldog's team in the 1950s, and began a basketball dynasty, where he led his players to the FIRST three state championships of ANY sport at MHS. He went on to a star-studded career at Magna Vista High School, Carlisle School, and the University of Maryland where he helped win Lefty Driesell's only ACC Championship in 1984. Coach Cartwright is currently in consideration for the Virginia High School League's Coaches Hall of Fame.

Melody's mother, Margie Irish Cartwright, also an educator, became a stay-at-home mom of six children: three boys (also well-known state championship players) and three girls. Before Margie met her husband, she worked with the American Red Cross and visited Native American reservations to understand the needs of America's Native peoples. She later provided volunteer counseling for survivors of World War II's Bataan Death March. 

Melody's family lived the American Dream and Melody continues to be inspired by the bravery of her daughter's grandmother Emiko Griffin, who emigrated from Japan and found success as a secretary to General Douglas MacArthur during World War II. Her story is a broad one like so many who live in Virginia's 48th District. Melody is committed to lifting everyone's voice and telling the full story of Southside, Virginia. By her family's example, Melody has been raised to be of service to others. 


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