The Republican takeover of the N.C. legislature, the first time the GOP has led both houses since 1898, is a huge shift in power that’s brought a lot of new faces, and people new to doing business on Jones Street. In what we hope is a regular feature this session, N.C. Policy Watch will try to talk with some of the newest members to offer a bit more insight on who they are and what they plan on doing this session in Raleigh. This will be an ongoing feature, with the goal of profiling all the new members. Haven’t been contacted for your profile yet? New legislators can contact reporter Sarah Ovaska at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: Rep. Charles Graham (Democrat)
Hometown: Lumberton (represents Robeson County)
Family: wife Norma (not working); their two children, Vince, 12, and Madison, 10; stepson Paulo Martinez, 21, and son Brian Graham, 24.
Occupation: Owner of Companion Home Care, a medical supply and home health care business. Retired educator (teacher, administrator and director of special education).
Education: Pembroke State University, undergraduate; Appalachian State University, master’s and special education certificate; Lehigh University, advanced education specialty.
Previous political experience: No.
Organizations (charities, churches, civic groups) you’re active in: member of N.C. Association of Educators, State Employees Association; and CHAD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit Disorders).
Biggest political influences: Former President Bill Clinton and N.C. Gov. Jim Hunt.
Hobbies: enjoys golf, gardening, woodworking. Also likes traveling and has visited every MLB stadium expect for Detroit, Toronto, St. Louis and Milwaukee. Life goal is to visit all of them.
Any pet peeves?: “I can’t think of anything that jumps out at me but I like to see organization, and I like to see people organized.”
How you plan on unwinding from the legislative grind? Spending time with family.
Why’d you run?: “I wanted to continue to be in the public arena, to try and continue to make a difference. I felt like I could offer a lot. I’ve always been passionate about politics and aspired to get involved at the state level in politics.”
What are you expecting from this session? “I have some ideas, I’d like to be able to promote and hopefully bring forth some legislation that can help people in our community and make our state a better place to live.”
What (policy-wise) keeps you up worrying at night, when it comes to state policy matters? “I’m really concerned about education. I want our educational system to be the best it can be. I’m also concerned about making sure our seniors and those who are disabled get what they’re entitled to.”
Contact: 1315 Legislative Building, (919) 715-0875, Charles.Graham@ncleg.net