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Mark is a native of North Carolina, growing up in the small Piedmont town of Badin. He's a graduate of the North Carolina public school system, all the way from elementary school to the University of North Carolina. Since he was 18 years old, he's been a part of the Marine Corps, first as a midshipman, and then as a commissioned officer, serving around the globe.
On the Issues
The pandemic made crystal clear that a one-size-fits-all education system is not the answer for North Carolina’s children and families. There has never been more interest or support for school choice. Children should be able to attend the school that best meets their needs…and families of all income levels should be empowered to explore all options — public, private, charter, and home schools.
All three of my children went to Wake County public schools. I recently became a substitute teacher with Wake County Public School System in order to learn more about the challenges our education system faces as well as to serve my community. My wife is a former elementary school teacher at Fuquay-Varina Elementary School. I support increasing teacher pay and improving our education system. I believe that if a child’s needs are not being met at his or her base public school, parents should have the ability and the means to find a better fit. I fully support Opportunity Scholarships, school choice, and educational freedom.
Jobs & the Economy
Small businesses are the engine of economic growth that provide good jobs and benefits for North Carolinians. Excessive taxes and regulations on businesses put the brakes on growth and discourage companies from expanding or relocating to our area. North Carolina is already the best state in America to start a business, create jobs, and raise a family, but we have to keep improving to remain at the top. As a business owner for 24 years, I’ve created hundreds of great jobs. In the State Senate, I’ll cut government impediments to growth and help bring more good-paying jobs to Wake County.
Over the past 10 years, the Republicans have cut taxes for families and small businesses in North Carolina. The last time Democrats controlled the state legislature, they increased the personal income tax rate to 7.75%. A decade later, Republicans have nearly cut income taxes in half to a flat rate of 3.99% starting next year. Also, families do not have to pay state income taxes on the first $25,000 they earn. Lower taxes mean more money for your family and stronger economic growth. As a member of the State Senate, I will work to keep taxes low for all the hard-working people across North Carolina. I will demand accountability, innovation, and fiscal discipline from our government.
We have the world’s best healthcare system — the best providers, the best facilities, and a wide network to help those in need. The problem is the cost. I will fight for policies that reduce healthcare costs. When healthcare is more affordable, it is more accessible…for everybody. Increasing access and reducing cost does not require more big government take-overs or red tape. By cutting unnecessary regulations that stifle competition in healthcare, costs will come down, access will increase, and people will have more healthcare options.
I am proudly Pro-Life. I support policies that protect the lives of mothers and their unborn babies. Life is precious.
Unintended pregnancies should be reduced through education, voluntary family planning, and contraception. This issue should be approached with compassion for everyone involved as we strive to provide and encourage safe, lifesaving alternatives such as foster care and adoption.
Like so many of you, I support reasonable restrictions on abortion but I wouldn’t vote to ban it completely. And I wouldn’t support any legislation that did not include exceptions for rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
Late-term abortion is abhorrent and should be banned except in an emergency to save the life of the mother or cases of severe fetal abnormalities incompatible with life. Politicians who support abortion up to the time of birth for any reason at all are the true extremists on this issue.
For more in depth information, please visit my dedicated page discussing the issue.
Our natural resources are a treasure that we must protect. From our mountains to the coast, North Carolina is a unique place with a stunning array of diversity in wildlife, plants, and landscapes. Our citizens expect the state government to be good stewards of our waters, forests, air, and beaches. We demand clean air and safe drinking water. We cannot allow over-development, illegal dumping, pollution, or shortsighted policies to threaten the environmental legacy with which we have been entrusted.
I believe our founding fathers created the 2nd Amendment for a very good reason — and it serves a vital purpose in providing for the security and stability of our nation. The 2nd Amendment and the liberty it secures must be protected. I believe there are some reasonable, common sense measures that we can take to make sure our schools and neighborhoods are safe from criminals, terrorists, and mentally disturbed individuals. Confiscation of legally owned guns from law abiding citizens is wrong and allows violent criminals to have the upper hand.
For people to have confidence in our system of government, elections must be free, fair, and secure. This is an American issue, not a partisan issue. Election officials should welcome transparency, not fight it. In 2020, partisan election officials in North Carolina changed the rules weeks before Election Day — and blocked all attempts to make the vote-counting process more transparent and incontrovertible. North Carolinians overwhelmingly support voter ID. Showing a photo ID should be a requirement for voting — and all absentee ballots should require validation of identity. The greatest victory the enemies of freedom could ever achieve would be if Americans become so frustrated and divided that they give up on elections and abandon voting.
Public Safety and Security
The core responsibility of government is to provide for the safety and security of its citizens. Well-trained, professional law enforcement officers are the guarantors of that security. We count on them to uphold the law and keep us safe. We also count on them to be professional and operate from the highest ethical standards. In the State Senate, I will stand with our law enforcement professionals and fight back against misguided attempts to defund the police.
Values Based Leadership
Over the span of a quarter of a century, I took an idea for a company and turned it into one of the most successful private businesses in North Carolina. We competed with larger, better funded companies. And we usually won! How did we do it? Our entire program was based on a foundation of core values: Integrity, Trust, Initiative, Leadership, and Professionalism. Every hire, decision, partnership, and relationship was evaluated through the lens of those well-defined values. Those core values were more than words on a poster for us, they formed the platform for all operations. We built an environment of trust and an expectation of the absolute highest standards of ethics, professionalism, and performance.
I believe that values-based, professional leadership is sorely needed in government today. Trust has broken down and we seemed mired in petty arguments and posturing rather than focusing on operating a government that is responsive, efficient, and effective. Our state deserves better. Good leaders set the tone, set the example, and provide a vision for unity that moves us forward.