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RALEIGH, NC – On Monday, Cal Cunningham announced he will file the paperwork to officially become a candidate for U.S. Senate to replace Senator Thom Tillis.
Surrounded by family and supporters, Cal made the announcement in Raleigh in a speech highlighting Tillis’ failed leadership from Raleigh and Washington saying: “There is a corruption in Washington preventing us from making progress on the most important issues of our time. And, in the push and pull of Washington politics, Thom Tillis has decided there’s something more important than putting North Carolina first. He has put his own political interests, and serving the special interests, ahead of North Carolina’s interests.”
Watch highlights of the speech here from the Raleigh News & Observer:
Cal is in a strong position as he files for Senate, after months of momentum behind his campaign, including:
More than 140 endorsements from North Carolina political and community leaders.
Endorsements from organizations like VoteVets, League of Conservation Voters, End Citizens United, and the Teamsters.
Support in all 100 counties in North Carolina.
Take a look at more highlights from Cal’s official filing announcement:
Cal kicked off the day in Raleigh surrounded by family and supporters for his official candidate filing announcement.
Cunningham talked about policy priorities including the Affordable Care Act, raising wages and investing in infrastructure and rural broadband.
Cunningham said he wants to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and add a public option along with encouraging Medicaid expansion in North Carolina.
“I’m going to share my personal life experiences growing up in a small town, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, having engaged with voters and listened to make sure that the voices of this state are heard in Washington,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham visited Bennett College in Greensboro to host a roundtable with students and greeted supporters in his home city of Lexington on Monday afternoon.
He discussed reducing the cost of higher education, and the importance of access to early education programs like Smart Start in North Carolina.
If elected, he said he would work to take on corruption in Washington.
“And shortly behind that, we need to focus on healthcare and its cost. We need to make sure it’s affordable for North Carolinians. Investing in education is a passion of mine, and investing in an economy that’s fair where everybody knows the dignity of a good job,” Cunningham said.
Cal traveled to Greensboro for an education roundtable with students and faculty at one of North Carolina’s historic HBCUs, Bennett College.
The Lexington Dispatch: Lexington Native Cal Cunningham To Officially File For U.S. Senate
Cunningham announced that he will officially file for the race and stopped by The Barbecue Center Monday afternoon to greet supporters and lay out his priorities.
“Tillis was trying to take the tools away,” Cunningham said. “Gov. (Roy) Cooper was trying to put those tools to work. It occurred to me that there’s a fundamental fight going on in America and believing in public service the way I do, I needed to be in that fight.”
He is a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve and has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Cunningham explained that his top issues are strengthening health care and driving down costs, investing in education and cultivating the state’s workforce by raising wages and improving trade deals.
“Among the top issues that I’m concerned about is the corruption that’s really standing in the way of progress on the biggest issues that we’re facing right now,” Cunningham said. “We see that in part in the money in politics; we see that in the need for reform in partisanship and how districts are drawn. The Voting Rights Act is being chipped away at. I’m going to be a voice for reform.”
The Democratic candidate said those additional life experiences, paired with his travels throughout the state, will help him build a broad-base coalition his campaign needs to win and serve in a way that’s consistent with putting N.C. residents first.
“In announcing this candidacy, I’m giving you my word here that I’m always going to put North Carolina first,” said Cunningham, to a group at The Barbecue Center. “In the debates that our country needs to be having and the work that’s in front of us — the big challenges facing our country — I’m always going to work to make sure that we put North Carolina first. I’ll stay focused on you and the things that matter in your lives.”
Cal returned to his hometown of Lexington for BBQ and a meet and greet to share his plans to bring better leadership to North Carolina.