This is part of TheHumanist’s monthly series highlighting openly nonreligious elected officials across the nation. Because of the work of the Center for Freethought Equality, the political and advocacy arm of the American Humanist Association, there are now ninety elected officials at the local, state, and federal level who identify with the atheist and humanist community serving in thirty states across the country. Join the Center for Freethought Equality to help politically empower the atheist and humanist community—membership is FREE!
The Center for Freethought Equality’s advances have been groundbreaking. Prior to the 2016 election, there were only five state legislators and no members of Congress who publicly identified with our community; because of its efforts, we have sixty state legislators today—a twelve-fold increase–and a member of Congress, Jared Huffman (CA-2), who publicly identify with our community! It is critical that our community connect and engage with the elected officials who represent our community and our values—you can see a list of these elected officials here.
Mayor Pro Tem Audra Killingsworth
Serving Apex, North Carolina
“It is important for people to see that morality, goodness, understanding, and progress does not belong to religion.”
Audra Killingsworth has been serving on the Apex Town Council in North Carolina since 2017 and was re-elected in 2021. In her first term, she focused on addressing budget priorities as a member of the Finance Committee.
Killingsworth grew up in rural Louisiana and received her Bachelors of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Louisiana. She moved to Apex in 2006, where she currently works as an occupational therapist in pelvic health therapy working with teenagers and adults of all genders.
A secular humanist, Killingsworth is a member of the American Humanist Association and the Triangle Freethought Society. Beyond her role on the Apex Town Council, Killingsworth is active within the community. She served on the 2019 Wake County Community Health Needs Assessment as a member of Apex’s Community Prioritization Team, with the goal of identifying the top social determinants of health to inform better healthcare policies.
She currently volunteers for the North Carolina Capital Regional Advisory Committee‘s COVID-19 vaccination effort, Habitat for Humanity, The Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC, The Women’s Center, Human Beans, Western Wake Crisis Ministries, Think Apex, and other humanitarian organizations.
Killingsworth is married with four children, two ferrets, and a cocker spaniel. She enjoys reading, being, cooking, and crafting.
Sarah Levin: What motivated you to run for office?
Audra Killingsworth: I saw a need to bring the ideas of the community to the Town Council. There didn’t seem to be much listening to the changing needs of the growing Town of Apex.
Levin: What are your policy priorities and how does your nonreligious worldview impact your policy platform?
Killingsworth: My policy priorities are to be as inclusive as possible, protect our environment, celebrate our differences, encourage affordable housing, work with other governmental agencies, and growth that makes sense for our town. I spearheaded a nondiscrimination ordinance that was the most comprehensive in our County which included religious and nonreligious, race, military status, culture, sexuality, disability, gender, gender expression, hair, etc.
I also was part of a local parents group that started our first Pride events in our town, and this year supported drag story hour to be included over much challenge. I supported and encouraged our first resolutions for Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Indigenous People’s Day, Pride Month, Wear Orange Day for Gun Violence Awareness, Science Appreciation Day, and many more. I encouraged the hiring of our first Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Director, and supported paid parental and caregiver leave, as well as a living wage.
The policies I vote for and draft are about giving people the support they need and correcting inequities.
Levin: Why was it important for you to be open about your nonreligious identity?
Killingsworth: Traditionally faith is showboated in politics. I wanted people to understand we can all be represented by people that have our values. It is important for people to see that morality, goodness, understanding, and progress does not belong to religion.
Levin: How did voters respond (if at all) to your openness about your nonreligious identity?
Killingsworth: There was very little negativity. Most of the feedback was positive and supportive.
To learn more about Mayor Pro Tem Audra Killingsworth, visit: