Name as it appears on the ballot: Cheri Beasley
Party affiliation: Democrat
Campaign website: https://cheribeasley.com/
Occupation & employer: N/A
Years lived in North Carolina: 30 years
1. What are your primary concerns for the State of North Carolina?
As I travel the state, I talk to families who are working so hard to make sure their children have a better future than they did. From jobs that don’t pay living wages to the rising costs – we have major challenges to tackle. I believe every North Carolinian should have a fair shot and a chance to thrive, no matter where they live.
I will stand up for the issues North Carolinians care about – to lower costs, ensure people have access to affordable health care, jobs that can support a family, and schools that can prepare our children for whatever future they dream of.
2. What in your background qualifies you to represent the people of this state effectively? What would you cite as your biggest career accomplishments?
My husband Curt and I raised our family in Fayetteville, and I’ve served our state as a public defender, judge and Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, where I’ve worked to uphold the law, protect our rights, and keep communities safe.
As Chief Justice, I oversaw the court system and led the Court, and I created a human trafficking court to support victims and hold traffickers accountable. I created policies to help working people, like paid family leave to help people take care of their families and be successful at their jobs. Partnering with educators and law enforcement, I took on the school-to-prison pipeline to keep kids in school and out of the courtroom.
I’ve carried the values of integrity, hard work, and justice with me throughout my life and I will take them with me to the U.S. Senate to be a true leader for North Carolina.
3. If elected, what three policies would you prioritize and how would you work across the aisle to enact those initiatives?
North Carolina’s next Senator must fight to lower costs for our communities, provide access to good paying jobs, and grow our economy. To help bring health care costs down, I support expanding the Affordable Care Act with a public option and capping the cost of insulin to $35/month, among other reforms. To support working families and help businesses, I would expand access to affordable child care, including through universal pre-kindergarten. And I would invest in building a Made in America economy, where good-paying manufacturing and industry jobs are available across our state.
4. What factors are fueling the country’s growing political polarization and how will you work to mend it?
As a public defender, judge and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, I always did the job I pledged to do – to uphold the law and apply it fairly – regardless of politics, to keep communities safe, and to protect our rights. I’ve served with people of different parties and I know how to listen to all sides of an issue. We need Senators who will get the job done – not play political games or get caught up in partisan politics. My focus has always been doing my job and serving the people of the state, and I’ll bring those same values of hard work, integrity, and independence to the U.S. Senate.
5. November’s general election race is expected to be close, regardless of who wins the party primaries. What makes you an attractive choice to centrist voters?
Both parties have failed the people of our state – getting caught up in political games and division instead of delivering results. North Carolinians want to know that their next United States Senator will push hard to unite us, to uplift us, to fight for our families, and to make sure we have a thriving economy.
I have served the people of North Carolina for over twenty years – listening to all sides, standing up for our communities, and being an independent voice for our state. That’s the approach I’ll take to the Senate.
6. With rent, property taxes, and home sale prices all rising, what, if anything, should the federal government do to address this growing affordability crisis?
Home ownership and high-quality affordable rental housing are critical to families’ and individuals’ economic security and well-being. Even before the pandemic, folks across our state were struggling to pay their rent or find safe, affordable housing. We face widespread shortages of affordable rental homes, and the cost of rent has more than doubled over the last 10 years on average. Nearly 1,000 North Carolina veterans experience homelessness.
As Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, I took action during the pandemic and created a first of its kind mediation program with tenants and landlords to help people stay in their homes to decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19.
In the Senate, I will support policies to build and expand housing options for some of our most vulnerable including seniors, low-income families, individuals, and veterans. We must also expand homelessness prevention programs that provide rent relief with direct payments to landlords and increase pathways to affordable home ownership. I will also fight to end discrimination in the sale, rental or financing of a home.
7. What specific policies or programs do you endorse or would pursue to combat inflation?
There’s no doubt we need to lower costs. Our economy is still recovering from a pandemic and the supply chain challenges that came with it. We’ve seen corporations take advantage of the crisis and raise their own prices while making record profits, and Russia has destabilized the world by invading Ukraine – driving up costs here.
To lower costs, I’d start by holding corporations accountable for flagrantly raising prices, undercutting competition, and putting their shareholders above the interests of working North Carolinians. We also must continue to grow a Made-In-America economy, so events abroad don’t raise prices here. North Carolina has shown we can be a major hub for high-tech, good-paying jobs and our next US Senator must focus on growing these industries.
8. The U.S. Supreme Court may issue a ruling this summer that guts, or even overturns, Roe v. Wade. What must Congress do to protect abortion rights if that happens?
Congress must take action to protect reproductive health and codify Roe v. Wade – whether or not it is overturned this year. Reproductive health is a human right. It’s a constitutional right. And it’s essential health care. In the Senate, I will always fight to protect women’s rights to make their own health care decisions, including by supporting the Women’s Health Protection Act.
9. Please state three specific policies you support to address climate change.
Tackling the climate crisis is imperative to our health, economy, and security, and the consequences of inaction are already hurting the people of our state. Longer and more damaging hurricane seasons and extreme weather events shut down roads, cause utility prices to skyrocket, affect military preparedness, and grind local businesses to a halt. Saltwater intrusion is threatening our farmlands in Eastern North Carolina – impacting the livelihoods of our farmers. In the Senate, I would support:
– Robust federal incentives to expand our renewable energy industry and bring good-paying jobs to NC
– Investments in climate-resilient infrastructure, including upgrading our electrical grid
-Cutting our carbon emissions in half by 2030
10. Do you believe Congress should pass the Freedom to Vote Act to guarantee free and fair elections for every American, limit the impact of money on elections, and restrict gerrymandering?
Yes. There is no question that our freedom to vote is under attack. 57 years ago my mother accessed the right to vote because of the Voting Rights Act, which was passed with bipartisan support. Now, lawmakers in nearly every state including North Carolina are working to make it harder to vote and Republicans in the Senate are refusing to even allow debate on legislation to protect voting rights. That’s unacceptable.
We need to elect leaders who will stand up for our fundamental rights, who will establish fair, national voting standards, and who will hold the line against state attacks by restoring federal pre-clearance. I support the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and I will always fight for the right to vote.
Fighting for our democracy includes ending the influence of dark money in politics and overturning Citizens United. I don’t accept corporate PAC money because I believe leaders should be accountable to the people, not special interests. And I’m proud to have earned the support of End Citizens United // Let America Vote, the leading organization fighting to get dark money out of politics.
11. Are there any issues this questionnaire has not addressed that you would like to address?