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: state Sen. Tamara Barringer, Republican
Occupation: attorney by trade, now teaches accounting law full-time at University of Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler business school.
Lives in: Cary
From: Patterson Springs, small community outside Shelby
Family: husband Brent; three children, ages 21, 15 and 12
Hobbies: active with Girl Scouts, and teaches sailing and canoe classes through programs with the Girl Scouts and American Red Cross . Enjoys the outdoors, paddling, hiking and camping.
Previous elected offices, if any: None.
Why’d you run for office? “I’m passionate about education. I’m very concerned about our public school system and I want to enable our teachers to teach.”
What are the major challenges this year?
“There are a lot. Tax reform, and I’m actually a tax and corporate attorney. I consider it a huge opportunity and I want to make sure whatever we get is fair and equitable. Our system is sorely in need of tax reform.”
What is one specific issue that you’ think needs addressing?
Education reform. “I would not be completely turning my life upside down if it wasn’t for education. I wouldn’t be where I am today without a good, public education. The people of this state supported me (through public education opportunities, and now it’s my turn to support them.” Is not in favor of reform concepts like vouchers for private schools, but wants to give teachers in schools more flexibility to teach topics and reduce burdensome paperwork requirements that take up classroom teachers’ time.
How do you feel about:
- Voter ID? In favor, and in favor of using photo ID to vote.
- Medicaid expansion? Voted for proposal to reject expansion, but says there needs to be way for low-income residents to get medical care.
- North Carolina’s public schools : She wants “to change the culture of public schools to be focused on students and let teachers have more flexibility to teach their curriculum. We need to allow our teachers, who are professionals, to be have that responsibility” and not spend time on paperwork because of arbitrary accountability measures.
- Immigration: Feels state has a role to play but, “we have to be thoughtful about our process as new immigrants are important parts of our workforce.”
What historical or other figures have influenced your politics?
From the Founding Fathers, President Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. Also admires Presidents Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan.
How do you describe your politics?
Something about you most people don’t know:
“I started from humble beginnings. My first house was a farmhouse with no indoor plumbing.” Worked since she was 18, and credits her involvement in Girl Scouts and the teachers she had in public schools, as well as North Carolina’s public universities, to allowing her to get to where she is today.