Rural North Carolina

Priorities

Rural North Carolina

Priorities

Agriculture

Agriculture has been one of America’s greatest industries since the conception of the nation. Presidents like Lincoln and Roosevelt advanced the nation’s agricultural and conservation interests, and helped to usher in new technologies to grow our agricultural influence. In North Carolina, agriculture and farming has been the backbone of rural communities. In Robeson County, farms bring in nearly $400 million in market value every year.

Charles understands that thousands of hard working people – many of whom are his neighbors – depend on a successful fruit, vegetable, livestock, timber or poultry farm. In rural communities throughout North Carolina, a strong farm means a strong small business. Recent surveys have found that small-scale farms make up 87 percent of all farms in North Carolina.

As Congressman, Charles will promote farmers and work to grow our state’s agriculture economy. He believes that we need consistent policies that accommodate the uncertainty our farmers and farmworkers deal with. He also understands the importance of a coherent policy on trade and tariffs that will keep markets open to our farmers.

Economy

The COVID-19 pandemic hurt everyone, but especially families in rural communities. Thanks to the quick response by Rep. Graham and the N.C. legislature, laid-off workers and business owners were provided relief to make it through the pandemic. Now that the economy is beginning to come back to life, businesses and workers are experiencing new, unique challenges. Charles will fight to create jobs and combat poverty.

In the N.C. House, Charles has consistently been rated pro-business and pro-worker. He knows that with bipartisan solutions, both employers and employees can be raised up by the government. He believes in a hand up, not a hand out, and in Congress he will support legislation that generates jobs and greater economic opportunity.

Indian Affairs

Charles is a member of the Lumbee tribe, the largest American Indian tribe east of the Mississippi River. The 55,000 Lumbee Indians have lived for generations in the region of Robeson, Scotland, Hoke and Cumberland Counties. The area is rich with culture and tradition because of the Tribe, but like most rural counties, they are economically disadvantaged. Most of the counties in the area have the highest poverty rates in the state. Unlike other American Indian tribes, the Lumbees are deprived of federal support because Congress has never granted them full federal recognition. As the first Lumbee American Indian member of Congress, Charles will make full federal recognition for the Lumbee tribe a top priority.

In the N.C. House, Charles has been an ally of American Indians and the eight state-recognized tribes in our state. A Democrat, Charles was appointed Chairman of the American Indian and Federal Relations House Committee. In his tenure, Charles successfully helped Lumbee Veterans get easier access to VA benefits, introduced legislation to allow American Indian ID cards as a form of voter ID, introduced legislation to have American Indian on the North Carolina’s driver’s license, and he is currently working to establish an American Indian Heritage Commission to preserve the culture of the state’s Native American population.

Education

Before owning a business, Charles was an educator for special needs children and a high school basketball coach. He knows how important it is for public school classrooms to be supported by strong policy. Charles firmly believes that a prosperous economy is a result of a robust and strong public education system. He believes we can support our schools by raising teacher pay, rewarding teachers with Master’s Degrees, increasing resources for classrooms, providing grants to educators for innovation, technology and virtual learning, and passing a comprehensive package to support capital needs.

Charles also realizes the student debt issue is a potential economic crisis. If elected to Congress, Charles will support measures to increase Pell Grants, ensure free community college, expand equity in higher education, and forgive $50,000 of student loans for federal borrowers.

Charles aims to provide qualified teachers for every school and the resources needed to help students achieve their dreams.

Health Care

Charles and the people of rural North Carolina agree that our current healthcare system demands improvement. He believes that North Carolinians deserve access to an affordable healthcare system. If elected to Congress, Charles will work towards bipartisan solutions to lower the cost of prescription drugs, protect people with pre-existing conditions, preserve access to substance and mental abuse disorder treatment, and rein in high insurance premiums. Charles believes Medicaid should be able to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs, which will lower the cost of necessary medication.

As a State Representative, Charles was the primary sponsor of legislation that would expand Medicaid – finally – in North Carolina. He knows the COVID-19 pandemic has made healthcare challenges even worse for North Carolinians in rural communities. In Congress, Charles will fight for lower healthcare costs and increased flexibility in Congress.

Reproductive Rights

Charles has been an advocate for women’s health and increasing access to reproductive health his entire life, and is proud to have been endorsed by NARAL as a member of the state House, and was honored to be named their “Pro Choice Champ” in 2013.

Personally, Charles supports life. But he firmly believes that difficult decision is between a woman, her family and her doctor. He believes reproductive health is a Constitutional right, and should not be overturned. As a Congressman, he will stand up for reproductive justice and a woman’s right to choose.

Immigration

Charles grew up working on a farm in Pembroke where his father was a sharecropper. His childhood on the farm shaped his worldview and gave him a deep appreciation for people that work long, hard hours outside just to make a living for their family. Charles believes law-abiding immigrants looking for better opportunity in the United States should have an easier pathway to citizenship. He believes we need comprehensive immigration reform that fixes our broken system and keeps our nation safe.

In Congress, Charles will work to reform our immigration system by fighting to keep families together, protect the border, and ensure due process under the law. He will keep our promise to DREAMers by supporting the bipartisan Dream Act.

Infrastructure

Charles believes it is time to reinvest in America’s infrastructure. In the past few years, major bridges have collapsed, outdated railway lines have led to tragic train wrecks, and most recently, the Colonial Pipeline hack exposed the lack of critical energy infrastructure. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic bared the disparities in access to high-speed internet between rural and urban communities.

In North Carolina alone, studies find that nearly 10% of our bridges are rated structurally deficient. There is an estimated $16.8 billion need in drinking water protection. 1,307 dams in the state are considered to be high-hazard potential. And North Carolina’s schools are in need of more than $8 billion in capital improvements. 

As State Representative, Charles has supported bipartisan solutions to address the modernization of North Carolina’s critical infrastructure. But he knows in order to prepare the nation for the future, Congress can and should do more to reinvest in infrastructure in a broad, comprehensive manner.

Veterans and National Security

North Carolina is the Nation’s “Most Military Friendly State,” and Charles Graham intends to keep that reputation. He knows our bases at Fort Bragg, Cherry Point, Camp Mackall, Camp Lejeune, Seymour Johnson, Pope Air Force Base, and the other installments need ongoing federal support, and he will fight for defense provisions that bring investments to North Carolina. In rural areas, military manufacturing is becoming an important economic driver. Charles will support incentives that encourage more military-related jobs to our state. As he has done in the N.C. House, Charles will stand with military families who serve alongside their loved ones in uniform by supporting military spouses and children as they pursue education and financial opportunities.

North Carolina is also home to a significant veteran population, and Charles believes we owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude for their service. In Congress, he will be committed to building up the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure a modernized and efficient delivery of healthcare and pension benefits. He will oppose any proposal to drastically cut the critical services that veterans rely on.

Agriculture

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Economy

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Education

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Health Care

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Immigration

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Infrastructure

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Indian Affairs

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National Security

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Voting Rights

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