Name as it appears on the ballot: Deborah Ross 

Party: Democratic

Campaign website:

1. What are your primary concerns for the State of North Carolina?

I might be biased but I think North Carolina is the best place to live in America. Yet despite all that makes our state great – from its outstanding natural beauty to the warmth and ingenuity of our people to music and food that draw millions of visitors – we still face serious challenges.

While Wake County has experienced explosive growth in recent years powered by the success of tech and life sciences companies in the Research Triangle, too many workers and families have been left behind. Alongside higher wages, we have also seen rising rents and housing costs as well as lagging investment in modern infrastructure to meet our region’s needs. And though our state has experienced groundbreaking social progress in recent years, Republican leaders in the General Assembly still appear poised to strip away our reproductive rights at the first opportunity.

That’s why this election is so important. Now more than ever, we need leaders who will promote shared prosperity and fight for equal access to health care, childcare, housing, education, and transportation. We need leaders who will protect our sacred right to vote and work to end partisan gerrymandering. We need leaders who will block enactment of extreme abortion laws and champion the rights of women. More broadly, we need leaders with the strength and moral courage to take North Carolina forward.

2. What in your background qualifies you to represent the people of this state effectively? What would you cite as your biggest career accomplishments? 

Representing the people of Wake County in Washington is the honor of a lifetime. I was sworn-in to Congress at one of the darkest moments of our nation’s recent history. But despite the entrenched divisions in Washington, I succeeded in working across party lines to get results for my constituents, passing bills to assist survivors of sexual assault, reform judicial ethics laws, position North Carolina to lead the clean energy transition, and support the Triangle’s innovation economy.

Before coming to Congress, I was a civil right attorney and served for 10 years in the General Assembly. In that role, I passed major ethics reform legislation that restricted lobbyist influence on the legislative process. I also worked to expand the right to vote by co-sponsoring bills that allowed same-day registration and made it easier for deployed service members to get absentee ballots. 

I am humbly asking the people of Wake County for another term in Congress to build on these accomplishments and continue the hard work of molding a government and an economy that delivers for everyone.

3. If elected, what three policies would you prioritize and how would you work across the aisle to enact those initiatives?

Following the Supreme Court’s devastating decision in the Dobbs case, it is imperative that we enact legislation to enshrine the protections of Roe v. Wade into law and ensure that women in every state – including North Carolina – can access the health care they need.

I’m also committed to continuing the fight for Medicaid expansion. I’m a proud co-leader of the Medicaid Saves Lives Act, legislation that will close the coverage gap by providing health insurance to low-income residents of North Carolina and the 11 other states that have thus far refused to expand the program. The state you call home shouldn’t determine whether or not you can get life-saving care. More than a decade after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, it’s time for the federal government to step in and ensure that every American in every state can access coverage.  

Third, despite the harsh rhetoric from some of my Republican colleagues, I believe immigration reform could be an issue where members of both parties are able to find common ground next year. I recently led the House of Representatives in passing a bipartisan amendment to protect the children of individuals on long-term work visas from deportation. Meanwhile, in the Senate, leaders from both parties – including Senator Tillis – have engaged in negotiations on a narrow set of fixes to our broken immigration laws. I am hopeful that we can build on this progress and adopt effective policies at the border, meet the needs of North Carolina businesses, and keep families together.   

4. More than 1 million Americans have died due to COVID-19 and millions more are struggling with astronomical medical bills. Do you believe the American health system is working? What is your plan for making sure health care is affordable and accessible to all American citizens? Are you in favor of a single-payer option?

The coronavirus’ disproportionate impact on disadvantaged communities is a tragic reminder that we all have a personal stake in the health and well-being of our neighbors and that our current healthcare system still does not serve all Americans.  I support creating a comprehensive public option for health insurance, expanding Medicaid in North Carolina, and taking steps to lower the high cost of care.

I was proud to help pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which will take significant steps to lower the cost of prescription drugs for North Carolina seniors. If the new law’s drug pricing provisions had been fully in effect in 2020, the total cost of prescriptions filled by Medicare beneficiaries in our Wake County congressional district would have been $25 million lower and these beneficiaries could have saved fully $8 million in reduced premiums and out-of-pocket costs. The new law will also cap insulin costs for seniors on Medicare and make it easier for working families to afford coverage. These are momentous advances, but I won’t stop fighting until every American can access the care they need.   

5. What factors are fueling the country’s growing political polarization and how will you work to mend it?

From the beginning of my public service, I have always done my best to improve the lives of North Carolinians – not only working with members of my own party, but also reaching across the aisle to find common ground with Republicans. And thankfully, in my first term in Congress, I was warmly welcomed and have developed close friendships with members of the other party.

Still, it’s clear that our political system is unhealthy. Too few politicians negotiate in good faith, value bipartisan effort, and share credit with the other party. Too many are more interested in cynically dividing us, often with inflammatory claims or misinformation, than in getting big things done for the American people.

That’s what is so remarkable about President Biden. He has consistently worked in a bipartisan way to meet the enormous challenges confronting us—repairing our deteriorating infrastructure, confronting the epidemic of gun violence responsible for so many innocent deaths, securing the right to vote for all our citizens, and tackling the threat of climate change.

Changing the toxic partisan dynamic in Washington will be difficult, but one of the most important ways that we can reduce polarization is to mandate a transparent, non-partisan congressional redistricting process. Fair representation would mean more competitive elections and stronger incentives for politicians to seek bipartisan compromise.

6. Rent, property taxes, and home sale prices have generally been rising over the past several years. What, if anything, should the federal government do to address this growing affordability crisis?

Because of runaway inflation in the rental and housing markets, many North Carolina residents are now facing the threat of foreclosure or eviction. To meet this need, I secured $2 million in federal funding that will support construction of King’s Ridge, an apartment community designed to end homelessness for over 100 Wake County families and individuals. I also obtained funding in a bill passed by the House to facilitate a new 127-unit development in Cary that will provide quality, affordable, mixed-income rental units at below-market rents.

In addition, I strongly support the efforts of Congressman David Price to address this problem nationwide by providing additional federal funding for new affordable housing, expanding housing choice vouchers, and boosting block grants to state and local governments for this purpose.

Working with our partners at every level of government, I’m committed to ensuring that everyone in Wake County has a place to call home.

7. Do you believe the federal minimum wage should be increased? If, by how much? If not, why? 

I am a proud co-sponsor of the Raise the Wage Act, which would gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 over five years. Thereafter, under this proposal, the federal minimum wage would be indexed to median wage growth. In concert with other policy reforms, raising the minimum wage is critical if we are to ensure that every North Carolina worker can earn enough to provide for their families.        

8. What specific policies or programs do you endorse or would pursue to combat inflation? Do you foresee the U.S. heading into a larger economic recession and if so, what is the best way for Congress to address it?

I’m working hard to lower costs for North Carolinians struggling to afford food, housing and other basic necessities. To meet this challenge, I voted to pass legislation to combat price gouging at the pump, lower the cost of groceries, and cut shipping costs. Through the landmark Inflation Reduction Act, Democrats in Congress also took bold action to lower the unacceptably high cost of health care, capping the price of insulin for seniors, empowering Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, and extending tax subsidies to help North Carolinians afford coverage. Our economy is at a pivotal juncture and it’s imperative that we continue to seek solutions to help families trying to make ends meet and small businesses fighting to keep their doors open.

9. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling this summer overturning Roe v. Wade. Do you believe abortion should be a fundamental human right? If elected, would you support a federal ban on abortion? What role, if any, should Congress play in restricting or expanding access to abortion?

In June, the Supreme Court did what many believed was unthinkable for nearly half a century. By overturning Roe v. Wade, the conservative majority stripped American women of a cherished constitutional right and triggered the enactment of extreme abortion laws in states across the country.  Like the vast majority of Americans, I strongly believe that women should be able to make their own decisions about their own bodies and their own health care. I am committed to ensuring that reproductive health is – and always will be – a private matter between a woman and her doctor. Along with countless other women in North Carolina from both parties, I won’t stop fighting until the protections of Roe are enshrined in law.

10. Please state three specific policies you support to address climate change. 

The Inflation Reduction Act is one of the most significant pieces of environmental legislation in American history. It will dramatically reduce emissions, create good jobs for North Carolina workers, and protect disadvantaged communities in our state and across the country. In fact, according to new projections, the IRA will put America back on track to meet the ambitious goal set by President Obama of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent from 2005 levels by the end of the decade.

However, there are additional steps that the federal government should take in the face of this existential threat. Specifically, Congress should revisit a proposal passed by the House as part of an earlier version of the IRA to incentivize utilities to reduce emissions through a set of regulatory carrots and sticks. In addition, it’s critical that the EPA take aggressive action, including by setting strict limits on carbon pollution. Further, we must continue the urgent process of building out a nationwide network of charging stations to facilitate the transition to electric vehicles.   

11. What more, if anything, should Congress do to regulate firearms?

As I write this, my heart is heavy as we mourn the five lives claimed by gun violence in East Raleigh. Gun violence has plagued our schools, houses of worship, and other public spaces for far too long. I am devastated that our city is next in the long line of American communities forever changed by a tragic shooting.

Earlier this year, I joined my colleagues from both parties in voting to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. Among other steps, this legislation closes the so-called boyfriend loophole, enhances penalties for straw purchasers, and mandates enhanced background checks for people under 21.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act bill was the most significant gun safety legislation in thirty years, but it’s clearly not enough. I strongly support banning assault rifles. These weapons of war don’t belong on our streets or in our communities. We also need to expand background checks and fully fund mental health care in America so that everyone who needs help can get it. But more than any specific policy, what we need most in Congress is more Republican leaders who are ready – after so much bloodshed and so many senseless tragedies – to finally join us in saying “enough is enough.”  

12. Are there any issues this questionnaire has not addressed that you would like to address?

I am deeply concerned for the future of our democracy. I believe our democratic system is precious and that Congress has a duty to protect it, especially at a time when that system has come under renewed attack. That’s why I have consistently voted to uphold the right of every American to make their voices heard.

In deciding which candidates to support in November, I hope North Carolina voters will agree that there is no criteria or qualification more important than the willingness of public officials to stand up for American democracy – regardless of the personal or political cost.    

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