CHARLOTTE – In what could be a crowded Democratic Primary field, Mecklenburg County Commissioner Trevor Fuller announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on Jan. 22 before supporters at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture in Uptown.
Fuller, who is serving his fourth term on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners as an at-large representative, is seeking the Senate seat currently held by incumbent Republican Sen. Thom Tillis. Tillis is expected to seek re-election for a second term. Filing for the March 2020 primary begins in December. Fuller is the second Democrat to announce for the seat as Raleigh attorney Eva Lee declared her candidacy last year.
Fuller railed against the toxic political environment in Washington, D.C. and Tillis’ support of President Donald Trump in front of several dozen supporters, including fellow Commissioners Vilma Leake and Mark Jerrell, who both spoke on Fuller’s behalf.
“It’s time for a change. It’s time for us to reclaim our state,” Fuller said. “We need someone in the U.S. Senate that will stand up for North Carolina, speak out for our nation, restore dignity to our country. We don’t have to stand by while our state is held back by fear and division. We the people have the power.
“Now is the time to bring Thom Tillis home. We have a U.S. senator who refuses to stand up for North Carolinians and instead stands up for whatever this errant president wants to do.”
Fuller touched on many issues ranging from affordable health care for all, affordable housing, raising the minimum wage and sensible immigration reform, but he said education should be a top priority. Fuller said improved education should begin with universal pre-kindergarten and that an investment in early education will pay big dividends down the line.
As a commissioner, Fuller helped start a universal Pre-K in the county that began this school year. The board of commissioners voted for a three-quarters of a cent property tax increase to fund the program.
“This is an investment that we must make,” Fuller said. “We are paying the cost when our children are not reading at grade level in the third grade. We are paying the cost when our children are graduating from high school without the skills they need. We are paying for it over and over again when our children go to community colleges and they need remedial courses.”
Fuller also criticized Tillis and the Republicans for trying to end the Affordable Care Act, or Obama Care, without offering an alternative.
“Health care is a right for all Americans,” Fuller said. “We need to improve the Affordable Care Act. We need to make sure that the Affordable Care Act covers even more people. We need to expand Medicaid in North Carolina. We see rural hospitals that are going out of business. We have seen jobs lost to other states because we have not expanded Medicaid.”
Fuller, 52, was born and raised in Buffalo, N.Y. He and his three younger sisters were raised by their single mother. He later earned his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College and his law degree from Georgetown University.
Fuller has been a practicing attorney for more than 22 years and is currently president of the Fuller Law Firm. He and his wife, Camille, have two children.
“We grew up in poverty,” Fuller said of his childhood. “But what we did have was my mom’s fierce determination that everyone of us would get a good education, and she was right. She knew then that we still know today that education is the key out of poverty. I am living proof.”
Jerrell said Fuller’s upbringing and background will be an asset in the U.S. Senate.
“Now is the time for leadership that will move us forward and not take is back,” Jerrell said. “Now is the time for leadership that will bring people together and not tear us apart. Now is the time to choose inclusion over exclusion. Now is the time for Trevor Fuller.”