Ready Your Vote: North Carolina Candidate Forum

Ready Your Vote: NC Candidates on the Nature of Our Communities is a free two-day hybrid event. This candidate forum will take place on September 20 and September 21, 2022. You’ll hear directly from North Carolina candidates of all party affiliations on the issues that are important to you in this election. All moderators will be neutral and nonpartisan. You can attend in-person, or you can attend online virtually.

Day 1 is on Tuesday, September 20th, and it will feature NC State candidates. Day 2 is on Wednesday, September 21st, and it will feature NC Federal candidates. You are welcome to attend one or both days.

September 20th & 21st, 2022
NC State University, Stewart Theatre
2610 Cates Ave
Raleigh, NC 27695
7pm – 10pm
(Doors open at 6:30pm)
Or join online



If you’d like to know which candidates will be in attendance, you can scroll down or click here to see the State Candidates, or you can click here to see the Federal Candidates.

We’ll continue to add candidates as they register, so please check this page periodically for updates.

NC State Candidates

Amber Baker (D) – NC Senate, District 72

Dr. Amber Baker has served for more than decade as principal at Kimberley Park School in Winston-Salem. She holds a BS in Elementary Education from Winston-Salem State University. Baker earned an MA and a PhD from Ohio State University. She has also received advanced training at the City of Winston-Salem University, the Harvard Institute for Academic Achievement, the National Institute for School Leaders, the Ruby Payne Framework for Understanding Poverty National Training and the Wake Forest University School Leadership Initiative. Baker serves as vice-chair of the Forsyth County Democratic Party’s African American Caucus.

Cynthia Ball (D) – NC House, District 49

First elected in 2016, Rep. Cynthia Ball was re-elected in 2018 and 2020 to the North Carolina State House District 49 where she represents residents in parts of West and Northwest Raleigh and part of Cary. Rep. Ball is running for re-election in 2022 to continue working for the citizens of North Carolina by advocating for progressive public policies to build a NC that works for ALL. In the current 2021-22 Session, Rep. Ball sponsored 220 pieces of legislation. The bills she has sponsored focus on improving the funding for public education, protecting voting rights, and improving mental health and healthcare services.

Ryan Brown (L) – NC Senate, District 18

Ryan Brown was raised in Wake County, NC. He earned an AS in science from Wake Tech and a BS in computer science from Appalachian State University. Brown has worked for a cyber security and compliance company assisting industry leaders in securing their products to industry standards. Now he works for a large IT company. Brown supports his church with his computer science background, providing livestreaming and other services. He is the Secretary of the Libertarian Party of NC. Brown believes in personal freedom and prosperity.

Maria Cervania (D) – NC House, District 41

Maria Cervania earned an Integrated Biology and Physical Education degree from the University of California at Berkeley. There she volunteered as a medic at the Berkeley Free Clinic. She received a Master of Public Health in Chicago and served as president of the American Public Health Association Student Caucus and as an Editorial Board member of the American Journal of Public Health. In 2020, she was elected Wake County Commissioner. She’s the first AAPI (Asian American/Pacific Islander) elected to the Wake County Board of Commissioners and the first Filipino elected to office in NC.

Leigh Coulter (D) – NC House, District 69

Leigh Coulter is a longtime community advocate with 3 grown children, a regular job and working family expenses. She has always understood that her family was safest when the entire community was safe, from petty crime, from pollution, and from the ravages of poverty. All families should be able to survive AND thrive in North Carolina. She is a graduate of UNCC’s College of Architecture, is a licensed K-6 teacher, and has a certificate of Nonprofit Management from Duke University.

Alison A. Dahle (D) – NC House, District 11

Allison Dahle received a BA in Theatre and Speech from the University of South Carolina. She worked at the Young Adult Institute in Brooklyn as a community rehabilitation specialist, then at the ARC of NC, and later at Columbus Industries. Now she works at a local law firm. Allison has served Carolina Designers Craftsman Guild, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Mothers Demand Action, ARC of North Carolina, Young Adult Institute, Planned Parenthood, and the Women’s March. She lives in Raleigh with her spouse Lou and their dogs. Allison is passionate about addressing the inequities that people with disabilities face in gaining employment.

Erik Davis (D) – NC House, District 78

Erik Davis is an Asheboro native. He earned his Master’s degree in Applied Geography from UNC Greensboro. He is currently a substitute teacher for Asheboro City Schools. Erik is running for office to give people a choice and to help the state by enhancing education, expanding Medicaid and internet access, promoting equal rights for all, and leading with science.

Sean Ewing (D) – NC Senate, District 25

A United States Air Force Veteran, Sean served in the Active Duty Air Force from 1999-2005 and in the Air National Guard from 2005 to 2014. While in the Air National Guard and attending college for Electrical and Computer Engineering, he met his love, Iza Reyes. Elected in 2019 to Mebane City Council, Sean pledged to be a common-sense, bipartisan leader. He has delivered on his commitments, including a Development Grant program for the Historic Downtown and new jobs at UPS as well as Lotus Bakeries (world famous for making Biskoff cookies).

Rosa Gill (D) – NC House, District 33

Representative Rosa Gill is currently serving her thirteenth year in the North Carolina House of Representatives District 33 Wake County. She is a graduate of the Wake County Public Schools and Shaw University with a major in Mathematics. As a member of the NC House, she has earned a reputation as a fighter for the working families. Rosa is currently serving on the following committees: Appropriations, Appropriations-Education, Education K-12, Insurance, Judiciary 1, Pensions & Retirement, and the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on the NC State Lottery.

Lisa Grafstein (D) – NC Senate, District 13

Lisa Grafstein has lived in Raleigh since 1990 and has been a civil rights lawyer since 1995. After running her own firm for 16 years, she joined the nonprofit Disability Rights North Carolina. She has represented people facing employment discrimination, voting rights violations, disability discrimination by public agencies, denial of access to public accommodations, and constitutional rights violations. She has a longtime partner, an adult son, and an 11-year-old, 75-pound “pandemic puppy” named Rosie. She enjoys running and gardening.

Matthew Laszacs (L) – NC Senate, District 14

The son of military parents, Matt was born in Philadelphia, PA, raised in Millington, TN, and has resided in North Carolina since 2001. He studied nights and weekends to earn a business degree while working and raising a family. This experience led Matt to embrace the Libertarian tenets of personal freedom and accountability.

Wendy Ella May (D) – NC House, District 28

Wendy Ella May is a trailblazer, born non-binary before the term was even in the dictionary. Wendy is a United States Army disabled veteran active in local politics. Her background has provided her with the skill set and values to serve effectively as your NC House District 28 representative. She is a graduate of both the International Bible Institute and the United States New Methodist Episcopal Orthodox Religious Order and Churches seminary.

Chris Mizelle (L) – NC House, District 38

Chris was born and raised in North Carolina. He holds degrees from Wake Tech and Campbell University. He has experience as a history teacher in the NC Public School System and in the corporate world of data analytics. As a teacher, he coached baseball and served on the athletic training staff for the football team, so he’s familiar with the educational landscape. Chris has also worked construction jobs during the summer. He understands the challenges facing our communities in terms of expanding opportunities for all of our citizens regardless of their background. Chris wants to help make North Carolina a more free, peaceful and prosperous place.

James Powers (R) – NC Senate, District 16

James Powers wants my grandchildren, and your children and grandchildren too, to grow up in a public school system that supports their academic education, family values, and state pride. James worked for Exxon Refinery and Chemical Company for twelve years, then became a farmer for another twelve years. Now he has his own landscaping business that allows him to invest in his local community. James is the father of six successful adults and the grandpa to five precious grandchildren.

Alvin Reed (R) – NC Senate, District 20

Alvin Reed is running for NC State Senate District 20. He was raised on a farm in the midwest. His education is in Mechanical Engineering, and he works in Information Technology. Reed is also the author of “The Theory of Biblical Patterns”.

Keshia Sandidge (D) – NC Senate, District 34

Keshia Sandidge is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who serves as a member of the Cabarrus County Board of Education. A candidate for NC Senate District 34, she has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Barber Scotia College and a Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina. She is married to Rick Sandidge Sr, and they have two children: Rick Jr. and Britany.

Dee Watson (L) – NC Senate, District 16

Dee Watson has over 20 years of experience working in clinical trials as a statistician and statistical programmer. She believes that individuals are best suited to make their own decisions and plans to advocate against all government medical mandates because she understands that people own their own bodies and the government shouldn’t decide what an individual is required to put in or keep out of their body. She supports ending the criminalization of the possession of firearms and drugs. Lastly, she believes we need to fund students, not systems in North Carolina.

Mike Woodard (D) – NC Senate, District 22

Mike Woodard is the North Carolina State Senator representing Durham County. Before joining the General Assembly in 2013, he served on the Durham City Council for seven years. His committee assignments include Health Care, Finance, Budget, Transportation, and Agriculture & Environment. He is co-chair of the Life Sciences Caucus and of the Arts Caucus. He has been active in community affairs for more than 30 years, and he has received numerous awards for his legislative and community service.

NC Congressional (Federal) Candidates

Courtney Geels (R) – US House, Congressional District 4

Courtney Geels comes from generations of native North Carolinians. Her care for the community and desire to help others led her to earn a BS in Nursing. Her favorite part of nursing is the patient advocate role. She’s noticed a trend in hospitals where high level decisions are based on money rather than quality patient care. If hospitals make decisions based on reimbursement and profit from the federal government, then Courtney believes she must advocate at the federal level for quality healthcare for patients. That same passion to advocate for her family, community, and country is what pushed her to run for office.

Charles Graham (D) – US House, Congressional District 7

Charles Graham has dedicated his life to giving back and helping others. For 30 years, Charles was an educator assisting and advocating for children with special needs. Now Charles owns a companion home-health company that puts home health aides with seniors and disabled adults so they can stay in their homes. As a Lumbee American Indian, he’s helped Lumbee veterans get easier access to VA benefits, and he’s championed an American Indian Heritage Commission to promote and preserve Indian culture. Charles wants to raise the minimum wage, level the playing field for women, strengthen communities, and ensure all families feel welcome in America.

Pam Genant (D) – US House, Congressional District 10

Pam Genant holds a degree in Nursing from Husson College. She joined the US Army in 1991, where she served as a nurse at Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, NC during Desert Storm. Pam is married to Burke County family physician Jackson Genant, and they have two sons, Dallen and Phillip. She’s active in Moms Rising, NAACP of Burke County, Morganton Humanists, America Legion Local Post 322, American Legion Auxiliary, National Organization of Women (NOW), and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.