Name as it appears on the ballot: Mary Wills Bode 

Age: 35

Party affiliation: Democrat

Campaign website: www.bode4senate.com

Occupation & employer: Attorney

Years lived in North Carolina: 30

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?

Senate District 18 deserves to have a Senator who will work tirelessly to deliver solutions for our community and state, not an extremist who will just be a rubber stamp for the party line.

I am a corporate attorney, former executive director of a bipartisan non-profit focused on redistricting reform, and current member of the North Carolina Real Estate Commission, appointed by Governor Cooper to represent the public. I am the ONLY candidate in this race that has a proven track record of working across the aisle to get things done, which is exactly what I will do in the North Carolina Senate.

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. Fighting inflation & lowering costs: First, we need to cut taxes for our hard-working families. Second, our supply chain has gotten too complicated and too reliant on overseas workforces–which makes our consumers vulnerable to price hikes completely outside of our control. We need to be making more products here in North Carolina–not in Mexico and China. I will support bringing good-paying manufacturing jobs back to our state as part of a comprehensive plan to address rising prices and instability in our markets.

2. Investing in education: Our future is dependent upon the quality of our education system. We need to make investments in early childhood education and ensure quality, affordable childcare is available throughout our state. We need to fully fund our K-12 education system so that our teachers are well paid, our schools are equipped with nurses and counselors, and all of our children have the resources and support to fully catch up from Covid learning loss. Lastly, we need to be investing in public/private partnerships with our local community colleges to ensure that our skills curriculum matches the needs of employers to ensure that all students have a pathway to productive careers.

3. Protecting access to reproductive healthcare: We need to maintain our status as a state that values women’s health and well-being, and that starts with ensuring that access to reproductive healthcare is not banned. It also includes protecting our physicians and healthcare providers from being put in jail for providing reproductive health care services. 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? Municipal leaders, like state Senators, are elected by their constituents to build better futures for their local communities. I look forward to working alongside our local municipalities to help them do just that.

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. We need to be paying people a living wage.

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?

I was appointed by Governor Cooper to serve on the North Carolina Real Estate Commission. In this role, and as a resident of this area, I have seen the growth and associated growing pains that our communities are experiencing with regards to housing availability and affordability. One way we can ease this is by making sure our areas have the infrastructure they need to grow. Currently, lack of adequate water and sewer infrastructure is an issue that is preventing certain areas from absorbing growth in and around the Triangle, which is limiting the housing supply, and in turn driving up prices of existing 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.

Everyone has an obligation to be a good steward of our environment, including our government. Creating incentives for companies and citizens to use alternative products, like solar panels, that reduce the impacts of climate change is one of many ways the government can play a role in making a difference.

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

I was the executive director of a bipartisan non-profit focused on redistricting reform for two years. I am open to all ideas on how we can move the ball forward on this issue because it is one of the most serious ones facing our democracy. I look forward to using my redistricting reform expertise and experience in the North Carolina State Senate to make sure people choose their politicians and not the other way around.

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, the General Assembly has an obligation to respect the decisions of the North Carolina Supreme Court, which means the General Assembly must comply with the Leandro decision.

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?

Yes, increasing our teacher pay to attract and retain top talent to our state should be a priority for the General Assembly. In addition to raising teacher pay, we need to make sure every school is equipped with mental health resources like counselors and school nurses.

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?

I support the current law. No, I would not support legislation that further limits or prohibits abortion in North Carolina or punishes/criminalizes 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?

I support expanding Medicaid, which will lower medical care costs, increase access to quality, affordable healthcare for North Carolinians regardless of where they live, and provide adequate funding for mental health and addiction treatment services that our communities, including our law enforcement, have been asking for. I believe that we should continue increasing the number of slots for special needs individuals through the Innovations Waiver program. 

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

Legalization of medical marijuana is an important first step for our state on this issue. Once that step has been accomplished, I would consider further steps to legalize recreational use, after careful study and thoughtful debate.

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 believe that in order to address the gun violence crisis we need to enact common sense gun safety reform. I think we can make real, bipartisan progress in North Carolina by enacting universal background checks and red flag laws. I look forward to being part of the coalition that does that.

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


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