The Class of 2013 – Senator Mike Woodard

The Class of 2013 – Senator Mike Woodard


Name:  state Sen. Mike Woodard, Democrat

Occupation:  financial administrator for Duke University and Duke Health Systems

Lives in: Durham

From: Wilson

Family:  married, wife Sarah; no children.

Hobbies:  Hiking , biking, outdoor activities and attending arts or sports events

Previous elected offices, if any: Yes. Durham City Council, 2005 to 2012

Why’d you run for office?   “I ran for the legislature because I thought I’d enjoy the work and it gave me an opportunity to work on a broader range of issues. It gave me a a way to use my skills. Selfishly, I just love to learn new things and I thought (of) this  as an opportunity to do that.”

What are the major challenges this year? “For me, developing a balanced approach to recover from the recession and develop the state’s economy for the future.”

What is one specific issue that you think needs addressing?
“Sustainable economic growth that leverages our educational system.”

How do you feel about these issues?

  • Voter ID? Against. 
  • Medicaid expansion? Supported the expansion (which was rejected by the legislature)
  • North Carolina’s public schools’ funding?  “Education at all levels is underfunded. When we are 46th in the country in teacher pay, that ought to make us all feel sad and inspire us to all do better. I don’t support vouchers but I think charters have a place in our education system and I hope we would be careful and intentional about how we work with charter schools.”
  •  Immigration? (Does the state have a role?)  “The federal government needs to take the lead on immigration but clearly there are opportunities for the states to react. I hope we would always act in a fair and compassionate way.” 

What historical or other figures have influenced your politics?

Probably my father, who grew up on a family farm in Eastern North Carolina and taught me the values of hard work, treating people fairly and caring for your community. I would add, growing up in Wilson, clearly former Gov. Jim Hunt was someone who influenced my thinking about state government.”

How do you describe your politics?

“Someone who likes to keep the pendulum from swinging too far left or right.”

What’s something about you most people don’t know:

He’s an aspiring banjo player. “I bought a banjo at a church auction that turned out to be an 1898 banjo from the famous  Stewart Company banjo makers and I’ve had it restored and I’m trying to learn how to play.”

His dream is to one day go on tour (somehow)  with the Avett Brothers.

Contact information: (919) 733-4809 or [email protected].

About the author

Sarah Ovaska-Few, former Investigative Reporter for N.C. Policy Watch for five years, conducted investigations and watchdog reports into issues of statewide importance. Ovaska-Few was also staff writer and reporter for six years with the News & Observer in Raleigh, where she reported on governmental, legal, political and criminal justice issues.