Meet Cal

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Growing up in the small town of Lexington, Cal learned what it meant to serve from the church youth group leaders who took him on service projects in Appalachia. Working on the family brickyard, Cal learned the value of hard work and the dignity that comes with a job. At the foot of his father, a small town lawyer who took on his neighbors’ causes as his own, Cal learned that, oftentimes, justice requires a fight. And at Fort Bragg and abroad, the paratroopers, Reservists and special operators Cal served with in the Army taught Cal a deeper form of patriotism and honor.

These values are North Carolina values, and they are what will guide Cal as North Carolina’s next U.S. Senator, where he’s committed to putting the seat back to work for the people of the state he loves and has called home his entire life. 

“North Carolinians are loyal, hardworking, decent and proudly independent people, and we expect the same from our U.S. Senator.” —Cal Cunningham  

A North Carolina Story

Cal was born to his parents, Julee and Calvin, in Winston-Salem, where Cal’s dad was still in school. Cal was raised in Lexington, North Carolina, and has called North Carolina home his entire life. In his hometown, he grew up learning the value of public service and hard work.

Cal met his wife, Elizabeth, in the fall of 1997. After earning his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Cal and Elizabeth returned to Lexington to raise a family.

A Call To Serve

At the age of 27, Cal was elected one of the state’s youngest State Senators, representing Davidson, Rowan, and Iredell Counties. Over the course of his term in the legislature, Cal fought for smaller class sizes, higher teacher pay, and investments in early childhood education and our university and community college system. Cal was also an advocate for landmark clean air legislation, land preservation, and campaign finance reform.

After the attacks on September 11, 2001, Cal volunteered to join the U.S. Army Reserve and has since served three active duty tours, including overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was awarded the Bronze Star and the prestigious General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award, in part for groundbreaking work prosecuting contractors for criminal misconduct. Cal has served with various units from Fort Bragg, including XVIII Airborne Corps and First Special Forces Command (Airborne). In recent years, Cal has trained special operations forces at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. Cal continues to serve in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel with an Army Reserve unit that trains one weekend a month. 

Cal has also served the community and his neighbors in various ways, including helping grow an environmental company, performing legal work on behalf of workers exposed to hazards on the job, and serving on various boards and commissions. That work includes being named Vice Chairman of the Governor Roy Cooper’s Crime Commission where he led efforts to address school gun violence, curb the opioid addiction crisis, and fund services for women and families affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.

Cal and Elizabeth now live in Raleigh with their two teenage kids, Caroline and Will.

An Oath

When Cal joined the Army Reserve, he took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Back then, he never imagined that one of the greatest threats to our country’s future would be Washington itself. 

Cal is running for U.S. Senate in North Carolina to fulfill that oath—by taking on the corruption in Washington that is standing in the way of progress on the most important issues of our time.  

Check out photos and videos of Cal traveling the state.