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NC State Senate District 17

The North Carolina State Senate is the upper body of the North Carolina Legislature and consists of 50 members who serve a term of two years. Each member represents an average of 190,710 residents, as of the 2010 Census. The Senate elects officers from their membership including the President Pro Tempore.The North Carolina General Assembly, of which the Senate is a part, is to convene a new regular session every two years. The NC legislature makes decisions on the budget: taxes, tax credits, economic development, education funding, Pre-K, the courts, Medicaid, etc. It also passes laws that set environmental standards such as water and air quality, tax rates, tax credits, criminal justice. Legislators in both chambers serve two-year terms without term limits. Sessions begin at noon on the third Wednesday after the second Monday in January.

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    Mark Cavaliero

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    Travis Groo

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    Sam Searcy

Biographical Information

What do you see as your most important priority if you are elected? [Youtube video for this question or text or both].

Education policy and funding issues have been in the news lately. What are your views and priorities on how this should be addressed in the coming year?

Tax policy can be used to address many issues –giving subsidies to companies coming to NC, balancing the needs of urban and rural areas, providing family support such as the earned-income tax credit, etc. What are your views about the tax policies in NC?

Many communities in North Carolina are experiencing significant violence. Do you think that changes to the laws in our state would improve safety in our communities?

Age (optional) 51
Mailing Address PO Box 1776
Apex, NC 27502
Contact Phone (919) 368-8890
email address
Twitter @MarkCavaliero
Position/philosophy statement I have a vision for North Carolina leading the nation in education, opportunity, infrastructure, and technology.
As the damage from the COVID-19 crisis ripples throughout our society, the priority must be safely getting back to normal operation, and restarting our economy as soon as possible is at the top of my list. So many other goals for normalcy and future progress key off of having our state open for business. A revival of our economy helps with jobs, tax revenue, mental health, and much more. We need to look at ways we can encourage and assist our business owners as they get back on their feet. We need to set the foundation for an economic resurgence and future growth for our state. As we are recovering from the virus, I also want to support initiatives that serve to lower the cost of healthcare so that it is more affordable and accessible. It shouldn't require more big government or regulation – through accountability, modernization, and leveraging sound, proven free market economic principles, we can make sure that high quality healthcare is accessible to everyone.
That's a critical question for our future, and to me personally. I attended NC public schools all the way from 1st grade through college at UNC-Chapel Hill. All three of my children have attended public schools here, and my two sons are still in the Wake County public school system. My wife, Elizabeth, is a former teacher at Fuquay-Varina Elementary school. I'm a firm believer in the value of public schools in providing an education that allows our children to realize their full potential in society. I want a public school system that provides a traditional education focused on academics and real world life skills needed as a citizen. I want educators to be compensated and respected as the professionals they are. I also want to see accountability, innovation, and results for the investment we make in our schools. I believe choices in education helps everyone, and all families should be able to choose the education path that works best for them, be it public, private, or charter. The focus should be delivering a world class education, not building more bureaucracy in the back office. I know that growing our economy will provide the broad tax base to fund our schools as well as the high paying jobs that we want our children to have when they graduate.
I hope we'd all agree that there is an optimal level of taxation that properly funds government services while still incentivizing people to work hard, make money, and/or start a business. A government that runs as efficiently and lean as possible benefits everyone. Too much taxation stifles innovation and initiative, too little leaves our state not making the investments in the future that we need for continued prosperity. As a small business owner, it never make a lot of sense to me for my tax dollars to be used to incentivize large corporations to relocate to our state when many times they were competitors for both clients and employees. These corporate giveaways were done so the politicians could claim they "brought jobs" to NC while it was actually all of us who paid for it. I'd much rather see a lower tax rate across the board that would not only incentivize companies to relocate here because of the business friendly environment, but would benefit our local business owners who have made investments in our communities, and who live right here in North Carolina. I think generally everyone is in favor of government assistance to hardworking low earning families, especially those with children, who truly need help. We want to give people a "hand up" during difficult situations, but we also want to know that programs are run with accountability to eliminate any waste, fraud, and abuse.
I ran out of characters for the last answer, so my answer continues here: There is an obvious gap between tax revenues generated from wealthy areas like the Raleigh area and more rural parts of our state. I think we've got to be open to solutions so that the prosperity of our urban regions helps our state as a whole. Investments in infrastructure, education, and transportation will pay off for the entire state in the long run.

I believe that the root cause of violent crime in our community isn't too few laws, it is a lack of values and respect for human life. Certainly where there are laws with gaps regarding specific criminal behavior, we need to fill those gaps and vigorously enforce the laws, but the long term strategy demands we also examine the root causes. How can we work within our communities so that education, opportunities, and respect for each other outweigh violent behavior? I think our law enforcement personnel do a tremendous job, but as a society we need to work on prevention strategies. We should be able to analyze statistics regarding violent crime and direct the needed resources into prevention efforts. Crime ruins the lives of both the victim and the perpetrator, and I'd much rather prevent a crime from happening than to deal with the aftermath.
Age (optional) 42
Contact Phone (404) 312-4392
email address
Twitter @groofornc
Position/philosophy statement This is about people, not politics, which includes liberty for all.
North Carolina can promote a housing affordability plan focused on equitable opportunity for everyone. Students and families need choices among diverse, robust housing options that meet their needs. We need to consider options that don’t tax current residents out of their homes. We need to understand that a renter, young family or retiree should not be pushed out. Cities must be permitted to grow and adapt in ways that make them robust, walkable, diverse, and inclusive. With this approach, we can create a housing affordability policy for a better North Carolina.
Education should place the needs of the child first. Parents should be able to decide on what school option is best for their child if the public system isn’t working well for them. The money should follow the child.
When over-taxation and burdensome regulations go away, the economy will naturally thrive in the free market. Small businesses are empowered to succeed and create good paying jobs when government stays out of the way. We the people can choose to be relieved, but it will take all of us to get it done.
Yes! Those who enforce the law aren’t above it. Hold police officers fully accountable for their actions. End qualified immunity. Abolish laws that criminalize what people consume or what they do with their bodies. End laws that criminalize the economic activity of poor people because the government isn't getting a cut of the money.
Age (optional) 43
email address
Twitter @ElectSamSearcy
Position/philosophy statement By working together we can build a stronger North Carolina for everyone and return our state to a beacon of southern progressive values
Improving our public schools, access to healthcare and independent redistricting.
Today North Carolina spends almost $4,000 less per student than the national average and ranks 28 out of 50 states in K-12 educational outcomes. Meanwhile, pay for our teachers is unacceptable. We're letting our best teachers head to higher paying states. We can fix this by investing more in our public schools and making sure our students have the resources they need, and our teachers have the pay they deserve.
We’ve focused too much on tax cuts for large out of state companies. Tax cuts, subsidies and the like should be focused on North Carolina’s small businesses and working class.
I think the first steps we need to take are common sense gun safety laws. We should pass universal background checks, red flag laws, and a ban on high capacity magazines and assault weapons. We can do all of this while still protecting North Carolinians' 2nd Amendment rights. Additionally, we need to be investing more in mental health services in our schools and communities and ensure that all North Carolinians have access to affordable health care and we can take an important step toward that goal by expanding Medicaid.