Name as it appears on the ballot: Ray Jeffers

Age: 39 

Party affiliation: Democrat

Campaign website:

Occupation & employer: Farm & Outreach Specialist, RAFI-USA

Years lived in North Carolina: 39

1. What in your background qualifies you to represent the people of your North Carolina district effectively? What would you cite as your three biggest career accomplishments?

I am running because I have the experience and desire to make a difference in our community. Being a farmer who works the land purchased by my great-grandfather, I have seen first hand how businesses have to adapt and change. Our tobacco farm is now a vegetable farm and we also raise pigs on pasture. The 12 years I served on the Person County Commission prepared me well to advocate for the people of our district. During my time on the Board, I was able to help guide the County through the last recession with minimum impacts to services, vote to lay 52 miles of fiber to public facilities to increase our connectivity, increase public safety funding to include our volunteer fire departments, and represent Person County at the State level as the President of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners in 2014. 

2. What do you believe to be the three most pressing issues facing the next General Assembly? What steps do you believe the state should take to address them?

1. Expanding Medicare

2. Ensuring adequate funding for our public education system

3. Doing our part to foster an environment conducive to promote responsible economic development that leads to good paying jobs

3. To what extent do you support municipalities exerting local control over issues such as regulating greenhouse gas emissions, criminal justice reforms and police oversight, and passing development-regulating ordinances?

As a former local official, I tend to support more local control. However, we are seeing some local governments enacting discriminatory policies that don’t represent the majority of North Carolinanians. These types of policies should not go unchecked and be allowed to stand when they discriminate because of someones gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. I also don’t support passing the buck to local governments in the form of unfunded mandates.  

4. Do you support raising North Carolina’s minimum wage, and if so by how much? If not, what other initiatives would you take to support low-income families in North Carolina?

Yes, I support raising the minimum wage to $15/hour in a phased approach that is then tied to inflation. We must acknowledge this will have an impact on our small businesses and I support an approach that will grant employers with 25 or fewer employees extra time to implement this change. In order to determine the best approach

5. With rent, property taxes, and home sale prices all rising, what, if anything, should the state legislature do to address this growing affordability crisis?

The General Assembly should continue to fully fund the NC Housing Trust so the NC Housing Finance Agency can continue their work. I also would support additional tax credits for developers to build more suitable housing.

6. Do you believe that the state government has an obligation to prevent the impacts of climate change? If so, please state three specific policies you support to address climate change. 

Yes. After the recent West Virginia v EPA decision it is clear that the responsibility for regulating greenhouse gas emissions is an issue that falls to state regulators. 

7. Would you support an independent process for drawing new legislative and congressional districts?

Yes. I strongly oppose gerrymandering and hope that soon in North Carolina we will have an independent panel that will draw our districts. 

8. Does the General Assembly have a constitutional obligation to comply with the state Supreme Court order in the Leandro case to fully fund public schools and give every child in North Carolina a sound basic education? 

Yes. We must increase funding for our public schools. Our children and our communities deserve to have schools that are fully funded so that our children can have the resources they need to learn. Not only do our educators and support staff need pay increases, many of our buildings need to be renovated. As a County Commissioner I saw first hand how it was often easier to get funding for a new school building than it was to get funds to renovate an existing school. We need to change that. 

9. When it comes to teacher pay, North Carolina is one of the lowest-paying states in the nation. Schools across the state are facing shortages of educators, support staff, and other key personnel. Do you support raising teacher pay to at least the national average? What else can the General Assembly do to improve working conditions for teachers and make the teaching profession more attractive to potential future educators?

I do support raising teacher pay. We need to ensure that schools have adequate funding and resources so they are not having to cover classes during their planning periods. We need to make sure that funding is there so teachers’ aides are not being required to drive school buses. At the state legislative level, we can continue to fund the Teaching Fellows program to help recruit young people into the profession, reinstate tenure, and reinstate masters and board certification pay. 

10. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling this spring that overturned Roe v. Wade. The legal cutoff for abortion in North Carolina is now 20 weeks. Do you believe the 20-week cutoff is too restrictive, not restrictive enough, or just right? As a state lawmaker, would you support legislation that further limits or prohibits abortion in North Carolina, or punishes/criminalizes abortion providers or patients?

Health care decisions should be between an individual and their physician. Politicians in Raleigh should not use an arbitrary gestational age to limit when a person can receive what is often life saving health care. I do not support legislation that would punish or criminalize abortion providers or patients.  

11. Should North Carolina expand Medicaid?  Where do you stand on increasing the number of slots for the Innovations Waiver for special needs individuals?

Yes. North Carolina must expand Medicaid. By not expanding Medicaid, the burden is felt most heavily by our rural healthcare system. We have seen consolidation and closing of hospitals across the state leading to worse quality of care. We are leaving federal dollars on the table that are allocated to states that could immediately help relieve the pressures being felt.

We should increase the number of slots for the Innovations Waiver for special needs individuals. This would not only reduce the strain on existing institutions but allow individuals the ability to receive care in their homes or communities. 

12. Do you support reforming North Carolina’s marijuana laws? Do you support full legalization? Please explain your position.

We do need to update North Carolina’s marijuana laws. I support the legalization of medical marijuana and the decriminalization of marijuana.

13. Do you support strengthening gun safety regulations such as expanding background checks, banning bump stocks, and raising the age to buy or otherwise regulating the sales of assault-style weapons? Please explain.

I think the federal government should fully fund the National Instant Criminal Background Check system, and close the loopholes that allow for unchecked purchases. I also feel that states should do a better job at reporting felony and mental illness data to the NICS. 

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

Support independent local journalism. Join the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle.