On This Page
Congressman Jeff Jackson is a dad, husband and soldier. He is in his 20th year of military service, having enlisted after the attacks of September 11th, trained at Ft. Bragg, and served in Afghanistan. He continues to serve today as a Major in the Army National Guard.
After deploying to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Congressman Jackson attended law school at UNC-Chapel Hill with help from the G.I. bill, before serving as an assistant district attorney in Gaston County.
In Gaston County, he tried more than one hundred cases. In the process, he saw firsthand how a failure to properly invest in and prioritize public education, economic development, mental health care, and criminal justice reform was harming people and families across North Carolina.
Congressman Jackson spent eight years as a North Carolina State Senator, representing Mecklenburg County. He dedicated much of his time in the General Assembly to reforming the criminal justice system, including working to close the consent loophole, decrease unnecessary charges and arrests, and improve our expungement laws.
As a state Senator, Rep. Jackson was outspoken about the need to reform our redistricting process so that voters can choose who represents them, not the other way around. The first bill he ever filed in Raleigh was to end gerrymandering by establishing an independent redistricting commission.
Now, Congressman Jackson is the first person to represent North Carolina’s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of Mecklenburg and Gaston counties.
Jeff and his wife, Marisa, live in Charlotte with their three children: Haden (14), Owen (7), and Avery (4).
In North Carolina, over 1.4 million people live in poverty, including one out of every five children. Children of color are much more likely to face this — making up 45% of all children in our state but 65% of North Carolina’s kids in poverty. And there are hundreds of thousands more children living in low-income homes just above the poverty line.
There’s no single policy that can solve this. But we have the tools to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and children across the state. Housing, wages and opportunity, education, health care, and criminal justice all play enormous roles in economic mobility and lifting families and children out of poverty. Policy has to be designed to address the underlying racial inequalities.
Jeff has worked to reduce poverty and help build the middle class through increasing the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid, increasing state support for affordable housing, and increasing funding for public schools, universities, and HBCUs. Our state needs criminal justice reforms including expanding expunctions and removing the bans on SNAP benefits for those previously convicted of controlled substance charges.
Expanding early childhood education and funding NC Pre-K and Smart Start to ensure every child has access to a high-quality preschool would also have an enormous impact on reducing poverty. Jeff has made this a top priority and will continue to do so.
North Carolina is home to over 1 million people who are uninsured. 11 rural hospitals have closed since 2005 and we have another 19 hospitals that could be on the brink of insolvency. Premiums continue to rise. We need immediate action to help increase access and reduce the costs of health care.
Jeff has been working for more accessible, and affordable health care for all North Carolinians since becoming a state senator in 2014. He has sponsored, and supported multiple bills to expand Medicaid which is the single largest policy change that North Carolina can make to increase the quality of care and decrease the cost of health care across the state.
Expanding Medicaid would help 500,000 North Carolinians access health care, create 40,000 jobs, and save 1,000 lives every year. It would also reduce premiums on the marketplace for everyone.
Almost half of our kids can’t read at grade level. North Carolina has fewer teachers now than ten years ago. Our kids and our educators aren’t getting the support they need.
Jeff has fought to get more funding for our schools. He’s a strong advocate for investing in early childhood education, raising teacher pay, and supporting our community colleges, HBCUs, and the rest of the university system.
In the state Senate, he’s sponsored legislation to increase early childhood education funding and eliminate the Pre-K waitlist, restore Master’s pay for teachers, invest in HBCUs, and expand rural broadband for our students and teachers.
As a frequent target of hurricanes with over 320 miles of coastline, North Carolina is on the frontlines of climate change. Tropical cyclones make landfall in North Carolina more than every other state in the country except Florida. But right now, we still consume almost four times more energy than we produce and only about 12% of the electricity generated in the state is from renewable energy.
We have to take advantage of our potential for renewable energies to accelerate our transition away from fossil fuels and create thousands of jobs in the process. Right now, we’re importing natural gas and coal from other states instead of building on the renewable potential we have here at home.
We have the solar infrastructure, the rivers for hydroelectric, the capacity for offshore wind development, as well as untapped potential for wind in the western part of the state – all ready to drastically scale up our renewable energy production.
But we have to act now and make real investments. In the legislature, Jeff has been a consistent advocate for renewable energy and immediate climate action.
Racial justice is a part of every policy priority. From health care to education to housing to criminal justice – each has to take specific action to address the systemic issues that continue to lead to disparate outcomes for Black communities and other communities of color. Jeff has been and will continue to be a strong advocate who takes an active role in working for racial and social justice.
Jeff marched with Black Lives Matter protesters in Charlotte following the murder of George Floyd. In June 2020, when CMPD teargassed protestors in uptown Charlotte, Senator Jackson began an inquiry into what happened, what went wrong, and what needed to change. He laid out his methodical approach to get the truth, who he was contacting, and what he believed needed to be fixed and addressed.
In the state Senate, Jeff has worked to address underlying disparities through major reforms including expanding Medicaid, increased state support for affordable housing, increasing funding for public schools, universities, and HBCUs, and support for criminal justice reforms including expanding expunctions and removing the bans on SNAP benefits for those previously convicted of controlled substance charges.
Jeff has fought against voter suppression efforts such as gerrymandering and voter restrictions that are designed to reduce Black political power. He has also sponsored legislation to establish the Black Women & Girls Task Force, a group that would study the health and wealth disparities of Black women, review educational disparities and other key factors, legislation to allow municipalities to remove confederate monuments, and the NC Crown Act to prohibit discrimination against people based on hairstyle or hair texture.
Jeff also has a strong record of fighting for full recognition, inclusion, and respect for North Carolina’s Native American and Indigenous communities. In particular, Jeff supported fixing state recognition for the Lumbee Tribe and creating the Lumbee Tribe Trust. That support will continue in Congress – starting with the fight for full federal recognition for the Lumbee Tribe.
The Violence Against Women Act has expired, the right to choose is being attacked, and domestic violence has increased. The government should be standing up for its citizens, not playing politics with our health.
Jeff has repeatedly sponsored the Equal Rights Amendment, as well as legislation to remove excessive, partisan barriers to safe abortions. One of Jeff’s first experiences at the North Carolina legislature was when several non-partisan bills he had sponsored, which would’ve closed gaps in sex offense statutes, were added to an anti-abortion bill. Jeff stood against those attacks and voted against the bill and his own legislation. Jeff has and will continue to stand up against the politicization of women’s health and abortion access that we’re seeing across the country.
In 2015, Jeff filed the first bill to close the consent loophole in North Carolina. At the time, North Carolina was the only state in the country where the law said a woman could not revoke consent once it was given. Jeff proposed legislation to close the loophole three sessions in a row, but each time the GOP refused to pass it.
The LGBTQ+ community has been the target of hateful and discriminatory attacks under the Trump administration, from the transgender military ban to the rolling back of non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people looking for help from Health and Welfare programs. We have to enact nondiscrimination protections in law now to protect against any such attacks in the future.
Jeff has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and marriage equality. He vocally opposed HB2, the discriminatory legislation that drew national attention to North Carolina and cost our state billions of dollars. Jeff filed several bills to fully repeal HB2 and repeatedly pushed the majority party in the General Assembly to repeal the bill.
Gun Safety Reform
We’ve seen unacceptable, unconscionable acts of violence over and over again. And over and over again, our leaders fail to act. Not because of policy ignorance, but because of political fear. If we want to enact change, we have to change our leaders.
There is a voice in the gun debate that says, “You don’t know anything about weapons. You’re just afraid of what you don’t understand. Don’t regulate out of ignorance.” But a lot of folks do understand weapons — like Jeff, who was trained to use several types of weapons through his service in the Army National Guard. There is a growing number of informed and experienced gun users who are joining the gun safety reform push and agree that doing nothing in the face of this violence is unacceptable.
Jeff has proposed legislation to implement universal background checks and extreme risk protection orders and to prohibit the sale of bump stocks and similar devices. He has also proposed legislation to provide funding for public safety improvements and additional support personnel at North Carolina public schools.
Criminal Justice Reform
Our criminal justice system is not upholding its mandate to distribute justice and protect the public fairly and equally. There are deep racial disparities that impact Black and Hispanic communities. We incarcerate people for nonviolent drug offenses while relying on jails to be one of the biggest mental health providers in the country. We need comprehensive criminal justice reform and real investment in re-entry and treatment programs.
In the state Senate, Jeff proposed and supported criminal justice reforms including decreasing unnecessary arrests and engagements with the police, reducing the use of mandatory minimums, and helping the tens of thousands of North Carolinians who lost their driver’s licenses due to an unpaid traffic ticket. He has also supported legislation that would modernize our expungement system, making it easier for people to have their records expunged if they were found not guilty or their charges were dismissed.
And in 2016, Jeff was one of only two NC Senators to vote against a bill that would have made it harder for North Carolinians to access dash camera and body camera footage.
Fixing Our Democracy
Today, our democracy is in peril. From efforts to restrict the freedom to vote to millions of dark money being spent to buy our elections, the special interests and wealthy few have gained outsized influence over Washington’s priorities. It’s past time to put the power back in the hands of the people.
Since the Citizens United ruling, corporations, super PACs, and dark money special interest groups have been able to pump millions of dollars into elections to help elect candidates that will turn around and do their bidding in office. Too many politicians are cutting backroom deals and voting against their constituents’ interests in order to get a campaign check. But Jeff is different. He isn’t taking a dime of corporate PAC money so everyday people know he’s working for them, not the special interests. In office, Jeff will also support legislation like the DISCLOSE Act and Honest Ads Act that will help end the secret spending by groups trying to buy elections and votes in Congress.
For too long, racial and political gerrymandering has allowed politicians to pick their own voters, and in North Carolina, that means targeting Black voters and minimizing the impact of their voice. The first bill Jeff ever filed was to end gerrymandering by establishing an independent redistricting commission. As a state Senator, Jeff has been outspoken about the need to reform our redistricting process so that voters can choose who represents them, not the other way around. He has criticized both parties for their failure to address this moral issue while in power.
Jeff has taken action to hold politicians accountable and increase trust and transparency in government. He repeatedly sponsored bills that would extend the waiting period for former legislators to become lobbyists, to curb the revolving door of corruption in Washington. He also supports banning Members of Congress from trading individual stocks, so those with access to private information aren’t making money off the backs of working people.
Finally, Jeff will work to protect and expand voting rights and election preparedness because it should be easier, not harder, to cast a ballot. In the state legislature, Jeff worked to implement online and automatic voter registration in North Carolina. He will continue those efforts in Congress and fight to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to guarantee voting rights for every American and put an end to voter suppression efforts across the country.